A Corpus-Based Study of Contrastive Adverbial Use in Academic Writing

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Contrastive linking adverbials (LAs), which are connectors signifying contrast between two statements, play a crucial role in text cohesion. The present study investigated the use of eight one-word English contrastive LAs in terms of frequency and positions between advanced and intermediate Thai EFL learners. Additionally, the study was also aimed at comparing the frequency of LAs used by native and non-native speakers of English to see the differences of contrastive LA usage. Data was collected from two main sources, i.e., Thai Learner English Corpus (TLEC) and British National Corpus (BNC). The register focused on in this research is academic writing, and the topics of writings of the selected corpus are richly varied. Regarding the research methodology, first, the researcher gathered the raw data and counted up the frequency of each LA from both corpora. Then, the researcher compared their frequency and studied the misused patterns together with the positions of LA use. It was found that intermediate Thai EFL learners used contrastive coordinating and subordinating conjunctions more frequently than their advanced counterparts, while advanced learners preferred using contrastive conjunctive LAs. Comparing contrastive LA use between native and non-native speakers of English, the researchers found that Thai EFL learners preferred using “but,” while native speakers more frequently used “though” and “yet.” The findings should be useful to those in the field of language pedagogy and help raise EFL teachers’ awareness of the importance of teaching contrastive LA.