A corpus-based study of linking adverbials through contrastive analysis of L1/L2 PhD dissertations


  • Hilal Güneş Hacettepe University


The quality of a writing highly depends on cohesion and coherence as they affect the tone of writing to a great extent. Linking adverbials (LAs) are among the types of cohesive devices which help connect ideas in a more smooth way. However, use of linking adverbials is often problematic for non-native speakers of English as they often overuse, underuse or misuse them in their writings. This study aimed to compare LAs used by Turkish native speakers (TNSs) in their English written PhD dissertations with LAs used in PhD dissertations of native English students, and detect if LAs are overused or underused by TNSs. Of all the chapters, conclusion chapters were selected for the analysis. AntConc software was utilized for the quantitative analysis. Frequency counts and log-likelihood calculations were utilized to determine if the frequency differences between two corpora have reached statistical significance. The results indicated a significant overuse of linking adverbials by Turkish doctoral students in their PhD dissertations. The study concluded with discussions of overused LAs as well as pedagogical implications and suggestions to improve teaching practices and materials

Author Biography

Hilal Güneş, Hacettepe University

English Language Teaching


Altenberg, B., & Tapper, M. (1998). The use of adverbial connectors in advanced Swedish learners' written English. In S. Granger (Ed.), Learner English on computer (pp. 80-93). Harlow: Addison Wesley Longman.

Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow, England: Longman.

Bolton, K., Nelson, G., & Hung, J. (2002). A corpus-based study of connectors in student writing: Research from the international corpus of English in Hong Kong (ICE-HK). International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 7(2), 165-182.

Carter, R., & McCarthy, M. (2006). Cambridge grammar of English.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chan, T., & Liou, H. (2005). Effects of web-based concordancing instruction on EFL students’ learning of verb–noun collocations. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18(3), 231–250.

Chen, C. W. (2006). The use of conjunctive adverbials in the academic papers of advanced Taiwanese EFL learners. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 11(1), 113-130.

Cobb, T. (1997). Is there any measurable learning from hands-on concordancing? System, 25, 301-315.

Crewe, W. J. (1990). The illogic of logical connectives. ELT Journal, 44(4), 316–325.

Eia, A. (2006). The use of linking adverbials in Norwegian advanced learners' written English. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Oslo, Norway: Oslo University.

Field, Y., & Yip, L. M. O. (1992). A comparison of internal conjunctive cohesion in the English essay writing of Cantonese speakers and native speakers of English. RELC Journal, 23, 15-28.

Flowerdew, J. (1996). Concordancing in language learning. M. Pennington (Ed.), The power of CALL. pp. 97-113. Houston, TX: Athelstan.

Friginal, E. (2013). Developing research report writing skills using corpora. English for Specific Purposes, 32(4), 208-220.

Gao, X. (2016). A cross-disciplinary corpus-based study on English and Chinese native speakers' use of linking adverbials in academic writing. Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 24, 14-28.

Granger, S., & Tyson, S. (1996). Connector usage in the English essay writing of native and non-native EFL speakers of English. World Englishes, 15(1), 17-27.

Ha, M.J. (2016). Linking adverbials in first-year Korean university EFL learners' writing: a corpus-informed analysis, Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(6), 1090-1101, DOI:10.1080/09588221.2015.1068814

Halliday, M. K, & Hasan, R. (1976). Cohesion in English. London: Longman.

Ishikawa, S. (2010). A corpus-based study on Asian learners’ use of English linking adverbials. Themes in Science and Technology Education, 3(1-2), 139-157.

Kern, R. (2006). Perspectives on technology in learning and teaching languages. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 183-210.

Lee, D., & Swales, J. (2006). A corpus-based EAP course for NNS doctoral students: Moving from available specialized corpora to self-compiled corpora. English for Specific Purposes, 25(1), 56–75.

Lee, D. Y. W., & Chen, S. X. (2009). Making a bigger deal of the smaller words: Function words and other key items in research writing by Chinese learners. Journal of Second Language Writing.18, (149–165).

Lei, L. (2012). Linking adverbials in academic writing on applied linguistics by Chinese doctoral students. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 11(3), 267-275.

Li, T. C. (2014). A study of conjunctive adverbials in academic journal articles. Journal of Science and Technology, Humanity and Sociology. 23(2), 145-161.

Liu, D. (2008). Linking adverbials: An across-register corpus study and its implications. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 13(4), 491-518. doi:10.1075/ijcl.13.4.05liu

Log-likelihood and effect size calculator (n.d.) Retrieved from http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/llwizard.html

Milton, J., & Tsang, E. S. C. (1993). A corpus-based study of logical connectors in EFL students' writing: Directions for future research. In R. Pemberton & E. S. C. Tsang (Eds.), Lexis in studies (pp. 215-246). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

O’Keeffe, A., McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2007). From corpus to classroom: Language use and language teaching. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Quirk, R., & Greenbuam, S. 1A973. University grammar of English. London: English Language Book Society, Longman.

Raimes, A., 1987. Exploring through writing: A process approach to ESL composition. St. Martin's Press, New York.

Sabzevari, A., Haghverdi, H., & Biria, R. (2016) Sentence-initial conjunctive adverbials in academic articles written by native English speakers and Iranian EFL writers. Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods (MJLTM), 6 (5), 282-287.

Sinclair, J. (2005). Collins COBUILD English grammar. Glasgow, UK: Harper Collins.

Tapper, M. (2005). Connectives in advanced Swedish EFL learners' written English-Preliminary results. The Department of English: Working Papers in English Linguistics, 5, 116-144.

Tazegül, A. B. (2015). Use, misuse and overuse of ‘on the other hand’: A corpus study comparing Englısh of native speakers and learners. International Online Journal of Education and Teaching (IOJET), 2(2). 53-66. http://iojet.org/index.php/IOJET/article/view/70/109

Uçar S., & Yükselir C. (2017). A corpus-based study on the use of the logical connector ‘thus’ in the academic writing of Turkish EFL learners. English Language Teaching. 10(2), 64-72.

Yoon, H., & Hirvela, A. (2004). ESL student attitudes toward corpus use in L2 writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 257–283.