英语专业学生说明文中句法复杂性的分析

日期:2016-04-08 作者: 硕博论文网 编辑:lgg 点击次数:87
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First of all, the significance of this essay will be discussed from theoretical perspective. This essay intends to do research on syntactic complexity in expository writings by Chinese students of English.
Chapter One Introduction 
 
1.1 Research Background 
Writing  is  an  important  part  of  language  production,  which  is  a  hot  topic  in second  language  acquisition  research.  It  is  one  of  the  aspects  which  can  be  used  to judge what degree a second language learner belongs to. Meanwhile, it is not easy to assess  a  piece  of  writing  production  since  writing  is  multifaceted  (Beers  &  Nagy, 2007).  Its  assessment  involves  various  aspects,  such  as  the  appropriateness  of vocabulary  use,  the  correctness  of  grammar  and  the  proper  arrangement  of paragraphs.  Many  researchers  (Hunt,  1970;  Thomas  &  Cooper  1976;  Faigley,  1979; Crowhurst,  1980;  Simms  &Crump,  1983;  Beers  &  Naggy,  2007)  have  offered  their discussions from various point of views, of which syntactic features are indispensible parts.  Sentence  constituents,  including  words,  phrases  and  clauses,  are  the  basis  of utterance.  These  constituents  are  combined  according  to  certain  syntax,  which confirms  the  importance  of  syntactic  features  (Wen  &  Qin,  2007).  Syntactic complexity, together with accuracy and fluency, is used as major syntactic features as well as measures of writing development. Accuracy refers to the ability of producing error-free sentence. Fluency is difficult to define (Monroe, 1975). It is cited in Beers and Nagy’s article(2007) that sentence fluency is a way writing plays to the ear, not just  to  the  eye,  including  passage  rhythm,  language  flow  and  word  patterns. Complexity (also called syntactic maturity or linguistic complexity) is related to the range  of  forms  that  surface  in  production  and  the  degree  of  sophistication  of  such forms(Otega,  2003).  In  recent  years,  the  indices  of  syntactic  complexity  play  an important  role  in  evaluating  the  performance  of  second  language  writing  because superior writers are supposed to write more complex articles with fewer errors (Wen & Qin, 2007). Measures of syntactic complexity could be used as for characterizations of language development and language proficiency (Otega, 2003).  
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1.2 Significance of the Study
First  of  all,  the  significance  of  this  essay  will  be  discussed  from  theoretical perspective. This essay intends to do research on syntactic complexity in expository writings by Chinese students of English. As the background above mentioned states, few  researchers  do  their  studies  by  choosing  expository  essays  as  the  research  data. This study aims to find out syntactic complexity features demonstrated in the writings by different-proficient students and the relationship between syntactic complexity and writing quality so that it can provide more detailed analysis and make contribution to the analysis of complexity as developmental indices in writing. On the other hand, it attempts  to  further  test  the  hypothesis  with  empirical  evidence  that  ESL  learner's syntactic  complexity  is  developing  with  the  development  in  the  second  language learners’  proficiency.  In  the  study  of  SLA,  researchers  have  been  interested  in  the development  of  learners'  second  language  knowledge  system  and  their  use  in  the communication,  for  example,  how  learners'  syntactic  complexity  is  developed  has been  mentioned  in  Krashen's  Monitor  Model;  Ellis's  (1996)  discussed  structural restructuring and chunks (Ellis 1996). The study of learners' syntactic complexity is of great value in the second language writing in that writing is a process which will need a  lot  of  the  writers’  mental  efforts  in  order  to  express  and  share  their  ideas  and thoughts  from  the  cognitive  angle.  Theories  concerning  the  first  language  writing suggest that whether the capacity of writer's working memory plays a significant role in expressing their ideas. It is thus believed that the writers might spare more working memory so as to focus on points relevant to meaning if their complexity and fluency in  language  are  enhanced.  It  is  going  to  enrich  the  experiment  of  EFL  learner’s writing development by using the theories and measurement of SLA.  
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Chapter Two Literature Review
 
This chapter consists of three parts, research on syntactic complexity, including studies  at  home  and  abroad,  theoretical  framework  that  can  be  used  to  analyze  the results of this study, and some definitions of the key terms in syntactic complexity.  
 
2.1 Research on Syntactic Complexity in Writing
In the past twenty years, large quantities of empirical studies have been done on syntactic complexity both at home and abroad. The researchers took oral materials as well  as  written  materials  as  the  data  base,  in  which  written  materials  took  more proportion  than  oral  ones.  This  part  is  dedicated  to  a  brief  description  of  some empirical studies concerning syntactic complexity based on both written and spoken materials. The studies of syntactic complexity were first explored in the field of L1 writing and  researchers  tried  to  apply  syntactic  complexity  into  language  teaching.  It  was used  as  a  developmental  index  in  studying  second  language  acquisition  until  1970s (Bardovi-Harlig,  1989).  Indices  of  syntactic  complexity  were  not  only  important research  tools  in  the  studies  of  second  language  learning,  but  also  indispensable indices  in  language  related  disciplines(Ortega,  2003).  Not  until  recent  years, researchers  began  to  use  it  as  important  measurement  into  second  language  writing (Polio, 2001). From the perspective of time span, previous researches can be divided into two categories, that is cross-sectional study and longitudinal study.  
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2.2 Theoretical Framework: Dynamic Systems Theory  
Dynamic  systems  theory  is  originally  used  to  elaborate  phenomenon  of  double pendulum in the field of physics. Nowadays, this theory has been used in psychology field  in  analyzing  children’s  cognitive  development,  action  development,  language development,  behavior  development  and  so  on(Chen  Xiangyang  &  Zhang  Yanling, 2007).  Dynamic  systems  theory  is  a  science  theoretical  methodology  in  analyzingcomplex  systems.  The  meaning  of  dynamic  refers  to  variations  caused  by  inner  and extra  effects  in  a  system,  which  could  be  continuous,  discontinuous  or  chaotic. Dynamic systems have basic features as follows(Larsen Freeman, 2011). The first one is tiny changes original in system could have great influence on the development of whole system, which is similar to butterfly effect. Secondly, each part in the system has  close  relationship  and  the  development  in  the  system  is  nonlinear.  Thirdly, variations  in  the  system  come  from  self-organization  and  interaction  with  external system.  Fourthly,  attractor  and  repellor  appear  alternately.  Attractor  status  are temporary  in  system  transition.  And  variations  in  system  are  iteration.  The  core  of dynamic  system  is  complete  inter-connectedness,  which  means  all  variables  are dependent on each other. Alteration of one variable will have effect on other variables.
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Chapter Three Research Design .....28 
3.1Research Questions ..........28 
3.2Data Collection .........28 
3.2.1Data........28 
3.2.2Subjectsand Instruments......29 
3.3Research Procedure..........30 
3.3.1Indicesinthis Study.......30 
3.3.2Research Design.....31 
3.4Data Analysis ....32 
Chapter Four Resultsand Discussion .....33 
4.1Syntactic Complexity Featuresin DifferentGroups.........33 
4.2Correlation Analysis Between Syntactic Complexity Features........48 
4.3DiscussionsontheResults .......54 
ChapterFive Conclusion.........66 
5.1Major Findings..........66 
5.2Implications of this Study.........68 
5.3Limitations of the PresentStudy......68 
5.4Suggestions for Further Study..........69 
 
Chapter Four Results and Discussion
 
This  chapter  will  give  a  detailed  report  of  the  results  about  the  above  analysis. Meanwhile the researcher will make a discussion about syntactic complexity features in  the  following  parts  from  the  perspectives,  such  as  unit  length,  unit  density,  and sentence patterns and so on.  
 
4.1 Syntactic Complexity Features in Different Groups  
It can be clearly noticed that the scores in these three groups have an increasing trend. From deviations, it comes to the results that the biggest deviation is that of low proficiency group, the smallest one is that of the intermediate proficiency group and the middle position is occupied by the deviation of high proficiency, which manifests that low proficiency group has more concentrated scores and intermediate proficiency group has discrete scores.  For the further purpose of testing whether the scores of these three groups have significant  differences,  Post  Hoc  Tests  in  terms  of  Scheffe  is  carried  out  and  the results are shown in the table below.
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Conclusion 
 
The original aims of this study are to find how syntactic complexity features vary in  different  proficiency  expository  writings  and  whether  there  are  any  correlations between  syntactic  complexity  features  and  the  composition  quality.  Text  length develops in an increasing way from low proficiency group to high proficiency group. T-unit  length,  clause  density,  reduced  structures  and  passive  forms  develop  in  a non-linear  way.  The  usage  of  reduced  structures  and  passive  forms  appear  few  in expository  writngs.  In  the  four  basic  sentence  patterns,  simple  sentence  patern, compound  sentence  pattern  and  complex  sentence  pattern  increase  from  high proficiency  group  to  low  proficiency  group.  Only  compound  &  complex  sentence develop in an unstable way. In the clause types, only object clause increases, however, there is no big difference between intermediate proficiency group and low proficiency group.  Not  all  the  indices  have  close  correlation  with  writing  quality.  Text  length, simple  sentence  pattern,  complex  sentence  pattern  and  object  clause  are  the  indices which show significant correlations with writing quality.   The  researcher  of  this  thesis  takes  the  writing  data  from  a  corpus  Spoken  and Written English Corpus of Chinese Learners (Edition 2.0) edited by Wen Qiufang in 2008. Specific experiment steps have been introduced in the earlier parts. This chapter will conclude major findings and the reasons why the researcher gets such findings in the  previous  chapter.  The  following  part  is  about  the  implications  derived  from previous discussions and findings in this thesis. The third section will point out some limitations of this study. And suggestions for further studies will be given in the last section.
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The reference (omitted)  

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