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Feeling Set Up by The Set-up: A Study on Swedish Junior High School Students’ Understanding of Phrasal Verbs
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Existing research on phrasal verbs is ample due to their prevalent existence in the English language and the difficulties they bring out as a result of their lack of transparency (Liu, 2011, p. 661). However, more research is necessary to cover new generations of English learners who cross paths with phrasal verbs. This study will provide empirical information on (i) whether Swedish students in 7th -9 th grade understand frequently used phrasal verbs better than nonfrequent ones, (ii) if phrasal verbs are easier to understand in productive- or perceptive tasks, (iii) if the students’ first languages (L1) interfere with this understanding, or (iv) if there is a difference in understanding phrasal verbs which are more common in AmE or BrE. The factors of second language acquisition taken into account in the analysis are explicit and implicit exposure of English, English varieties, crosslinguistic influences and idiomaticity. Chameliec & Weiss (2008, p. 381) define a phrasal verb as “a simple verb combined with an adverb or a preposition, or sometimes both, to make a new verb with a meaning that is different from that of the simple verb, e.g., go in for, win over, blow up”. The data was elicited with a questionnaire in three parts: one part about the participants background information and two parts on phrasal verb understanding, both in contextualized examples and without context. In the analysis, factors such as the construction of the questionnaire and choice of phrasal verbs need to be considered. The results demonstrate that Swedish junior high school students understand about 50% of the tested phrasal verbs in both parts of the questionnaire. More frequent ones are easier to understand, more so the AmE PVs, and the perceptive task generated a slightly higher percentage of correct answers. The textbooks did not have explicit sections on phrasal verbs, or even formulaic expressions in general. However, the books contained vocabulary boxes with a few different phrasal verbs, which also occurred in the texts. Since no explicit teaching method has been applied in these classes, doing so might increase the general frequency of correct answers. Furthermore, no conclusive results can be made regarding crosslinguistic influences, however, hypotheses on positive transfer can be made.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 38
Keywords [en]
Phrasal verbs, SLA, L1, L2, idiomaticity, explicit teaching/instruction, exposure, frequency, AmE, BrE.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165996OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165996DiVA, id: diva2:1287329
Presentation
English Department, Universitetsvägen 10 E, plan 8, Stockholm (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-03-04 Created: 2019-02-10 Last updated: 2019-03-04Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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