• Ake VIBERG (Uppsala, Suède)
    Basic verbs in second language acquisition
    2002, Vol. VII-2, pp. 51-69

    Verbs have a central role in language processing but simultaneously verbs tend to represent a greater cognitive load on processing than nouns. An important characteristic of the verb lexicon is that in all languages, a small number of verbs appear to be dominant in terms of frequency. The most frequent verbs in an individual language are referred to as basic verbs.Among the basic verbs in any language, there is a set of nuclear verbs which tend to have the same basic meaning in all languages (a universaltendency). In addition, there are some basic verbs that have alanguage-specific meaning. The paper summarizes research based on a computerized learner corpus with data from projects concerned with Swedish as a second language of children and adults. The primary data were recordings of oral production carried out individually with learners at several points in time. One of the major findings was that L2 learners tended to favour nuclear verbs which wereboth over used (in terms of frequency of occurrence) and over extended (withrespect to their semantic coverage). Language-specific meanings tended to be weakly represented at early stages of L2 acquisition

  • Gaëtanelle GILQUIN & Ake VIBERG (Louvain, Belgique / Uppsala, Suède)
    How to make do with one verb: a corpus-based contrastive study of do and make
    2009, Vol. XIV-1, pp. 67-82

    This paper compares do/make in several related European languages, some having two different verbs at their disposal (e.g. do and make in English) and others having to make do with just one verb (e.g. French faire). Using translation corpus data, we demonstrate that, while there are similarities between some of these verbs (especially when the languages belong to the same group, i.e. have either one or two verbs), there are also considerable differences in the functions these verbs can perform or the preferences they exhibit, which results in a generally low degree of equivalence in translations. Our study also presents some results from an experiment aiming to establish the cognitively most salient functions of the different verbs. These results confirm the existence of differences among do/make verbs, and also show that frequency in language does not necessarily imply salience in the mind.