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A Usage-Based Insight into the Development of English Learning Materials: A Statistical Analysis of L2 English Learners’ Use of Causative Constructions

Kohei Fukuda
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan


Recent years have seen an increased momentum in linguistic research based on the Usage-based approach, with many researchers studying language acquisition mechanisms and contributing theories from this perspective. One notable example is Usage-based Construction Grammar. Attempts have been made to apply this theory to second language acquisition research. To incorporate this theory into the teaching and learning of second languages, it is necessary to develop learning materials that would enable learners to learn constructions in a bottom-up fashion, contrasting with traditional teaching methods, where learners study grammatical rules in a top-down manner.

The presenter is working to create a pedagogical collocations list that integrates the viewpoint of verb-argument constructions (VACs) with the aim of helping learners to acquire collocations and constructions at the same time based on the usage-based approach. As a preliminary study toward creating this list, the main objective of the present research is to explore the L2 English learners’ knowledge of VACs and collocations, with a particular focus on causative constructions.

This study evaluates the usage of causative constructions and word associations within these constructions by L2 learners of English according to proficiency levels, using a large-scale CEFR-annotated learner corpus. The presenter examines L2 learners’ characteristics in the use of causative constructions in terms of a variety of statistical variables including (type and token) frequency, normalized entropy, dispersion (Gries’ DP), and the strength of verb-construction association (ΔP). Attention is also paid to the strength of word association within these constructions, an aspect that has hitherto been under-explored.


verb-argument constructions, collocations, Construction Grammar, English education, causative constructions

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023