This study compared the use of lexical bundles in dissertation abstracts written in English by Chinese and L1 English doctoral students. Our data consisted of 13,596 and 4,755 abstracts of doctoral dissertations written by Chinese students at Tsinghua University (the Tsinghua Corpus) and L1 English students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (the MIT Corpus), respectively. With a combination of frequency and dispersion criteria, 165 and 134 four-word bundles were identified from the Tsinghua Corpus and the MIT Corpus, respectively. These bundles were categorized structurally and functionally. Results revealed substantial differences in the frequencies with which bundles of different structural and functional categories were used by Chinese and L1 English students, as well as in the specific types of bundles of different categories they used. A close analysis of these differences revealed that Chinese students exhibited incomplete knowledge of some aspects of the English lexico-grammatical system, signs of transfer of Chinese language features and discourse conventions, and insufficient awareness of bundles characteristic of hard science disciplines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language