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Title: Acquisition of English verbal formulaic sequences by Chinese EFL intermediate classroom learners
Author: Ning, Liu
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 4511
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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This study investigates the acquisition of English verbal formulaic sequences (VFS) by Chinese EFL (English as a Foreign Language) intermediate college students in an attempt to find out the major factors influencing their acquisition of these sequences. 70 participants were selected from the four-year non-English-major college students and the three-year English-major college students who were admitted to Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) in 2007. Among the 70 participants, 43 are four-year non-English-major students who are taken as the higher intermediate group and 27 are three-year English-major students who are taken as the lower intermediate group. Quantitative data were collected through the participants' English scores in the National Matriculation English Test (NMET) , the Vocabulary-size Pre-test and Post-test, the English Verbal Formulaic Sequences Pre-test, Training Test and Post-test, as well as the participants' essays, written and collected at an interval of two or three weeks for a period of half of the participants' first academic year (about four months). Qualitative data were obtained through the questionnaire and the classroom observations. My data analysis. indicates that the major factors hindering the acquisition of English verbal formulaic sequences by the Chinese EFL intermediate learners are the opaque nature of some of the sequences, lack of genuine communicative needs, and inadequate language input, among which the semantic opaqueness of some of the sequences is by far the biggest obstacle. English verbal formulaic sequences with transparent meaning are acquired earlier and better than those with opaque meaning. Furthermore, due to these obstacles in acquiring English verbal formulaic sequences, the participants' mastery of these sequences lags behind other linguistic aspects such as general vocabulary knowledge. The study also finds that the mastery of English verbal formulaic sequences is closely connected with vocabulary size, general vocabulary knowledge and overall language proficiency. Based on the findings of this study, some suggestions were put forward for Chinese EFL classroom learning and teaching of English verbal formulaic sequences. Firstly, Chinese EFL learners as well as instructors need pay more attention to the acquisition of English verbal formulaic sequences because the use of L2 formulaic language can facilitate language processing, enhance fluency, and make the learners' utterances more native-like. Secondly, the teaching material should be so compiled as to containing more formulaic sequences and be sequenced according to the semantic transparency/opaqueness of formulaic sequences, with the most transparent ones coming first and the most opaque ones being left to a later stage. Thirdly, classroom instructors should create an atmosphere which favours the learning of formulaic sequences and provide learners with sufficient chances to encounter and practice these . sequences. Fourthly, in helping learners facilitate the process of formulaic sequence acquisition, the instructors should draw special attention from the participants to the importance of formulaic sequences and increase the learners' overall English proficiency, general vocabulary and vocabulary size, because these factors are found to be closely connected with the acquisition of English verbal formulaic sequences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available