Knowledge of verb-argument constructions (VACs) has been examined in a variety of contexts where English is mostly taught from the early stages of their schooling. No study has so far examined EFL learners’ knowledge of VACs in a context where English as a foreign language is taught only late at the secondary school level. The current study fills this gap by exploring construction knowledge in a context where teaching EFL is postponed until other languages have been introduced to learners. Using written essays of 180 students of 3 different proficiency groups, three indices of syntactic sophistication (i.e. the frequency of the Verb-argument constructions, the frequency of the verb-construction combinations and the verb-construction strength of association) were examined for their development across the three grade levels. As a second objective, this study examined the ability of these indices to predict students’ writing quality, through their grades. The results suggest that while the higher proficiency group showed a significant improvement in the rareness of their VACs, the three groups showed slow progress in the use of less frequent and less strongly associated verb-construction combinations. Similarly, only the index of construction sophistication (i.e. rareness) correlated significantly with and could predict variance in the writing score. This suggests that EFL learners follow a ‘necessary first’ principle in their learning of constructions. Similarly, these results indicate that the use of rare constructions enhances raters’ judgements of students’ writing quality.
- حق عضویت دریافتی صرف حمایت از نشریات عضو و نگهداری، تکمیل و توسعه مگیران میشود.
- پرداخت حق اشتراک و دانلود مقالات اجازه بازنشر آن در سایر رسانههای چاپی و دیجیتال را به کاربر نمیدهد.