Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Language, Education, Humanities and Innovation 2015
ISBN 978-967-13879-0-0

Noun-Verb Ratio in L1 Japanese, L1 English, and L2 English: A Corpus-Based Study

Shin'ichiro Ishikawa

Kobe University, Japan


It is often suggested that English is noun-oriented, while Japanese is verb-oriented (Toyama, 1973; Kimura, 1993). This difference is said to reflect the tendency that English and Japanese focus on persons or situations, respectively (Kunihiro, 1974; Hinds & Nishimisu, 1986; Kimura 1993). Many of the previous studies have discussed noun/verb ratios in varied languages (Dhillon, 2000; Sandhofer, Smith, and Luo, 2000; Shinya, 2003), but how this quantitatively differs between (i) L1 English and L1 Japanese, (ii) L1 English and L2 English, and (iii) varied types of L2 English produced by learners at different L2 proficiency levels has not been wholly elucidated. Our analysis of two kinds of corpora: English/ Japanese Modern Fiction Corpus (EJ-MOFIC) (Ishikawa, 2015) and the International Corpus Network of Asian Learners of English (ICNALE) (Ishikawa, 2013; Ishikawa, 2014) has shown that nouns occur more often than verbs both in L1 Japanese and L1 English, and also in both L1 English and L2 English, although the degree of noun preference is relatively more salient for L2 English than for L1 English. It was also suggested that learners’ L2 English levels and noun/verb ratios are not directly related.


noun/verb ratio, English and Japanese, interlanguage, learner corpus

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