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Exploring syntactic complexity and its relationship with writing quality in EFL argumentative essays


To predict syntactic complexity in second/foreign language writing, some studies have advocated the use of T-unit and clausal subordination measures while others have argued for the use of phrase-based measures. This study seeks to identify syntactic features that can be regarded as discriminators among different levels of writing quality. For this purpose, a corpus of argumentative essays by EFL learners was compiled and then the essays were rated and placed into three groups of high-rated, mid-rated, and low-rated essays. The corpus was then coded and analysed for both phrasal and clausal features. The phrasal features were manually coded based on the development scheme hypothesized by Biber, Gray and Poonpon (2011) for academic writing, and the clausal features were analysed using the online L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer developed by Lu (2010). A separate ANOVA test was used to compare the three groups of essays for each of the phrasal and clausal features. The findings of the current study demonstrated that subordination and dependent clauses were not good indicators of different writing qualities in our corpus. Also, the pattern of noun phrase complexity predicted by Biber et al. (2011) was not observed across argumentative essays from three different levels of writing quality.

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On the production of metaphors and metonymies by Jordanian EFL learners: acquisition and implications

References ADEL, K., 1997. A comprehensive dictionary of English idioms: English-Arabic. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. ALTAKHAINEH, A. and ZIBIN, A., 2014. Perception of culturally loaded words by Arab EFL learners. International Journal of Linguistics, vol. 6, no. 3, pp.1-22. ANSAH, G., 2010. The cultural basis of conceptual metaphors: The case of emotions in Akan and English. Paper presented at the Lancaster University Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics & Language Teaching 2010. Lancaster, England, July 2010

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The relationship between receptive and productive vocabulary of Slavic EFL learners

European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Retrieved August 10, 2010, from DALLER, H., MILTON, J. and TREFFERS-DALLER J. eds., 2007. Editors' introduction. In: Modelling and assessing vocabulary knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-32. DALLER, H. and PHELAN D., 2007. What is in a teacher’s mind? Teacher ratings of EFL essays and different aspects of lexical richness. In: H. Daller, J. Milton and J. Treffers-Daller, eds

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Transfer at the level of argument structure or morphology: a comparative study of English and Persian unaccusative and unergative verbs

-714. GHAFAR-SAMAR, R. SHABANI, K. and KARIMIALVAR, N., 2011. Overpassivization of unaccusative verbs as a function of discourse pragmatics and verb type: Testing the fit in Persian. Iranian EFL Journal, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 8-19. HAGH-BIN, F., 2003. Barrasi sakhthaye namoteadi dar farsi (Examining the unaccusative structures in the Persian language). Faslnameh Elmi-Pajooheshi Ollome-Ensani Daneshgah Azzahra, vol. 43, no 13, pp. 61-95. HIRAKAWA, M., 1995. L2 acquisition of English unaccusative constructions. In: D. MacLaughlin and S. McEwen, eds

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The Rhetoric Structure of Research Article Abstracts in English Studies Journals

English L1 and L2 and Castilian Spanish L1 Writers.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes 10 (2011): 238-51. Simon, Ellen and Miriam Taverniers. ---. “Advanced EFL Learners’ Beliefs about Language Learning and Teaching: a Comparison between Grammar, Pronunciation, and Vocabulary.” English Studies 92.8 (2011): 896-922. Stotesbury, Hilkka. “Evaluation in Research Article Abstracts in the Narrative and Hard Sciences.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes 2 (2003): 327-41. Suntara, Watinee and Siriluck Usaha. “Research Article

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Cross-Cultural Variation in the Use of Hedges and Boosters in Academic Discourse

communicative function in medical English written discourse.” English for Specific Purposes 3 (1994), 49-170. Print. Samaie, Mahmoud, Fereshteh Khosravian and Mahnaz Boghayeri. “The frequency and types of hedges in research article Introductions by Persian and English native authors.” Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 98 (2014), 1678-1685. Print. Takimoto, Masahiro. “Assertions and lexical invisibility in EFL learners’ academic essays.” Journal of Pragmatics 89 (2015), 85-99. Print. Vassileva, Irena. Commitment and

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