Investigating the native speaker phenomenon – a pilot corpus study of native and non-native writing
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The aim of this report is to provide a preliminary account of the investigation of two general corpora of written English, which was prompted originally by interest in an analytical tool designed to assess the propositional density in the utterances of learners of English. Since corpora of written language are easier to obtain and to procure in comparison with corpora of spoken language, the procedure was honed and fine tuned on a written corpus with the aim to investigate spoken utterances in an attempt to validate a scoring procedure. Propositional density was envisaged at the onset of the study as an instrumental factor in determining the relative merit of an assortment of samples. A computer program called CPIDR (a Computerized Propositional Idea Density Rater, pronounced “spider”) involves a relatively straightforward procedure and produces results which are easy to interpret for most purposes.
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