The Level of Accuracy and Grammatical Complexity in Written Texts by Chinese Students

Abstract

The influence of the first language (L1) on the acquisition of a second language (L2) is inevitable. In addition, when L1 and L2 do not belong to the same language family, a negative influence, i.e., an interference, will occur. The current study aims to investigate the level of accuracy and grammar complexity in texts written by Chinese upper secondary school students from the perspective of language transfer. It involves an analysis of a small corpus comprising 54 texts with the use of the terminable unit (T-unit) measure. The finding shows that the Chinese writers produced a text with only a few error-free T-units largely due to the syntactical transfer from Chinese to English. With regard to grammatical complexity, subordinate clauses are frequent in the corpus but relative clauses are rare.