Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 31 (3) Sep. 2023 / JSSH-8737-2022


Structures and Functions of Lexical Bundles in Student and Expert Timed Argumentative Writing: A Corpus-Driven Study

Nghia Xuan Nguyen

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2023

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.31.3.06

Keywords: Argumentative writing, bundle functions, bundle structures, corpus linguistics, lexical bundles, timed writing

Published on: 22 September 2023

Despite rich research into lexical bundle use in documented writing on both expert and novice levels, little is known about this linguistic behaviour in undergraduate timed argumentative writing. This study aimed to narrow this gap by examining two self-compiled corpora: a student corpus composed of 200 timed argumentative essays written by first-year students at a Vietnamese university and an expert corpus comprising 200 essays of the same type produced by IELTS professional writers. Employing existing bundle classification frameworks, it compared structures and functions of four-word bundles across the corpora. Results showed that bundle use was more clausal than phrasal in both corpora, inconsistent with a few previous studies. In addition, the student corpus outnumbered the reference corpus in all broad structural categories, which can be ascribed to the over-manipulation of the “Pronoun/NP + be/VP fragment”, “NP with of-phrase fragment”, and “PP with of-phrase fragment” constructions. Function-wise, the ubiquity of stance and discourse organising bundles in both the corpora reflected the nature of argumentation, on the one hand, and the rigidly structured IELTS writing format, on the other. The study concluded with methodological implications for bundle research and pedagogical implications for L2 writing.

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