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A corpus-based study on the co-occurrence patterns of PROPOSE and SUGGEST in English academic writing
English academic writing
|Issue Date: ||2017-08-10 09:38:41 (UTC+8)|
本研究的研究工具為擁有近四十五億詞彙的當代美式英文語料庫(Corpus of Contemporary American English)，蒐集了其中PROPOSE 和SUGGEST於學術寫作中的相關語料，以觀察此二動詞的不同詞形(V-base型、V-s型、V-ed型與V-ing型)在句子中的表現。至於本研究的分析則分成了三個部分：(一) PROPOSE 和SUGGEST的語法模組、(二) PROPOSE 和SUGGEST的搭配中，有生命性或無生命性的主詞在主要語法模組中的分布情形、(三) PROPOSE 和SUGGEST後的受詞語義分類。量化分析之餘，本研究也引進了語料庫中的索引行(concordance line)以進一步展示PROPOSE及SUGGEST出現的語言環境，分析模組在不同語境中的特點。
研究結果顯示此二動詞的用法有許多相異之處。SUGGEST具有強烈明確傾向與that子句共同出現，而PROPOSE和that子句共現的機率與其和名詞片語共現的機率相近；除此之外，PROPOSE較常與有生命性的主詞共現，SUGGEST則是偏好與無生命性的主詞共現。至於受詞方面，我們發現PROPOSE後的受詞，多屬「認知觀點」、「方法」、「規則」等語義類別，而 SUGGEST後的受詞則多與「可能性」、「狀態」、「性質特徵」有關，以上的對比結果使我們發現，在學術英文寫作中，PROPOSE通常表「提供計畫或行動供他人參考決定」，而SUGGEST則通常表「傳達可能的推論或概念」。我們也發現此二動詞若是以不同詞形呈現時，偏好的字詞也不同。舉例來說，[suggest that-clause]偏好與表達「研究結果」意義相關的主詞共現，[suggests that-clause]則多與表「研究文獻」有關之主詞一同出現。整體而言，若我們從功能的角度出發，PROPOSE通常用於表示某人提出、建議某事項，SUGGEST則多用於詮釋解讀本研究結果或先前文獻中所提出之觀點。
Reporting verbs are important in academic research papers for paraphrasing and reviewing previous studies to support a writer’s positions. While a large number of studies have been carried out to investigate the evaluative potential and rhetorical functions of reporting verbs in citations, comparatively little research has focused on the phraseological patterns of particular common reporting verbs, the exploration of which can be beneficial in raising student awareness of the recurrent associations of words and structures of reporting in academic written discourse. This study aims at examining the syntactic and semantic environments of two frequent near-synonymous reporting verbs, PROPOSE and SUGGEST. According to Hyland (1998a) and Hinkel (2016), PROPOSE and SUGGEST both can mean ‘putting forward something for consideration’ and are frequently applied to mitigate the certainty of a statement (e.g., Hyland, 1998a; Hinkel, 2016). We expect to distinguish the two verbs from each other and offer a more comprehensive phraseological profile of them in academic writing.
We used the subcorpus of academic writing in the 450 million-word Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) as the source data to investigate the performance of PROPOSE and SUGGEST in V-base form, V-s form, V-ed form, and V-ing form. Based on the corpus, the analysis focused on three aspects: (1) the grammatical patterns of PROPOSE and SUGGEST; (2) the distribution of animate and inanimate subjects of the dominant patterns of PROPOSE and SUGGEST; (3) the semantic classification of the objects of PROPOSE and SUGGEST. In addition to the quantitative methods, qualitative-based concordance line analysis was also implemented to reveal the characteristics of the broader stretches of discourse where PROPOSE and SUGGEST occur.
The results show that the two reporting verbs are distinct from each other. While SUGGEST has a rather strong propensity for co-occurring with that-clause, for PROPOSE, the possibilities of co-appearing with a simple noun object and with a that-clause are similar. In addition, PROPOSE is more likely to have animate subjects, whereas SUGGEST prefers inanimate subjects. As for the simple noun objects of the two verbs, a large number of instances occurring with PROPOSE systematically belong to the semantic groups of COGNITION, METHOD, and STANDARD; SUGGEST shows more preference for POSSIBILITY nouns, STATE nouns, QUALITY nouns and RELATION nouns. The inter-comparison of the results of PROPOSE and SUGGEST suggests that, in academic writing, PROPOSE usually carries the sense of ‘to offer a plan or action for others to consider’, whereas SUGGEST tends to mean ‘to communicate or show an idea, which is likely to be true’. Moreover, the differences across four word forms of PROPOSE and SUGGEST were also identified. It was found that [suggest that-clause] prefers subjects referring to research results, but [suggests that-clause] occurs with the subjects referring to articles or studies on a particular topic more frequently. Overall, in terms of functions, PROPOSE is mainly used for describing the action of offering something as a choice for people to think carefully; SUGGEST, in contrast, serves to interpret a research finding or present an argument suggested by previous studies and literature.
The present study sheds light on the phraseological difference between synonyms. It has also proved that different word forms of the same lemma have different choices of collocations and phraseologies. The research findings will contribute to the teaching and research of English for academic purposes since they provide a systematic analysis of the different habitual collocations of two frequent and similar reporting verbs in research articles. We believe this study will bring some insights to the designs of language teaching materials and can serve as the basis for future studies on the co-occurrence patterns and phraseologies of verbs.
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|Data Type: ||thesis|
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