The Register-Functional Approach to Grammatical Complexity
Theoretical Foundation, Descriptive Research Findings, Application
- Available for pre-order. Item will ship after November 30, 2021
This collection brings together the editors’ previous research with new work on the Register-Functional (RF) approach to grammatical complexity, offering a unified theoretical account for its further study.
The book traces the development of the RF approach from its foundations in two major research strands of linguistics: the study of sociolinguistic variation and the text-linguistic study of register variation. Building on this foundation, the editors demonstrate the RF framework at work across a series of corpus-based research studies focused specifically on grammatical complexity in English. The volume highlights early work exploring patterns of grammatical complexity in present-day spoken and written registers as well as subsequent studies which extend this research to historical patterns of register variation and the application of RF research to the study of writing development for L1 and L2 English university students. Taken together, along with the addition of introductory chapters connecting the different studies, the volume offers readers with a comprehensive resource to better understand the RF approach to grammatical complexity and its implications for future research.
The volume will appeal to students and scholars with research interests in either descriptive linguistics or applied linguistics, especially those interested in grammatical complexity and empirical, corpus-based approaches.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
PART I: The Register-Functional Perspective on Complexity
Chapter 1: Book Introduction
Chapter 2: Theoretical and Descriptive Linguistic Foundation of the Register-Functional Approach to Grammatical Complexity
Chapter 3: Overview of the Analytical Methods Used in RF Complexity Research
PART II: Descriptive Linguistic Studies of Synchronic Patterns
Part II Overview
Chapter 4: Biber, D. 1992. On the complexity of discourse complexity: A multidimensional analysis. Discourse Processes, 15: 133-163.
Chapter 5: Biber, D. and B. Gray. 2010. Challenging stereotypes about academic writing: Complexity, elaboration, explicitness. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 9: 2-20.
Chapter 6: Gray, B. 2015. On the complexity of academic writing: Disciplinary variation and structural complexity. In V. Cortes & E. Csomay (eds.), Corpus-based Research in Applied Linguistics. In Honor of Douglas Biber (pp. 49-77). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Chapter 7: Biber, D. 2015. Stance and grammatical complexity: An unlikely partnership discovered through corpus analysis. Corpus Linguistics Research, 1: 1-19.
PART III: Descriptive Linguistic Studies of Diachronic Patterns
Part III Overview
Chapter 8: Biber, D. and B. Gray. 2011. Grammatical change in the noun phrase: The influence of written language use. English Language and Linguistics, 15: 223-250.
Chapter 9: Biber, D. and B. Gray. 2013. Being specific about historical change: The influence of sub-register. Journal of English Linguistics, 41: 104-134.
Chapter 10: Biber, D. and B. Gray. 2013. Nominalizing the verb phrase in academic science writing. In B. Aarts and G. Leech (eds.), The English Verb Phrase: Corpus Methodology and Current Change (pp. 99-132). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 11: Biber, D. and B. Gray. 2016. The functional extension of phrasal grammatical features in academic writing. In: Grammatical complexity in academic English: Linguistic change in writing (pp. 167-207). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 12: Biber, D. and B. Gray. 2016. The loss of explicitness in academic research writing. In: Grammatical complexity in academic English: Linguistic change in writing (pp. 218-243). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
PART IV: Applied Research
Part IV Overview
Chapter 13: Rationale and hypotheses for the study of writing development from the RF perspective
Chapter 14: Biber, D., B. Gray, and K. Poonpon. 2011. Should we use characteristics of conversation to measure grammatical complexity in L2 writing development? TESOL Quarterly, 45: 5-35.
Chapter 15: Biber, D., B. Gray, and S. Staples. 2016. Predicting patterns of grammatical complexity across language exam task types and proficiency levels. Applied Linguistics, 37(5): 639-668.
Chapter 16: Staples, S., J. Egbert, D. Biber, and B. Gray. 2016. Academic writing development at the university level: Phrasal and clausal complexity across level of study, discipline, and genre. Written Communication, 33: 149-183.
Chapter 17: Staples, S. and R. Reppen. 2016. Understanding L2 writing in first-year composition: A lexico-grammatical analysis across L1s, assignments, and writing quality. Journal of Second Language Writing, 32: 17-35.
Chapter 18: Biber, D., R. Reppen, S. Staples, and J. Egbert. 2020. Exploring the longitudinal development of grammatical complexity in the disciplinary writing of L2-English university students. International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, 6(1): 38-71.
Chapter 19: Gray, B., J. Geluso, & P. Nguyen. 2019. The longitudinal development of grammatical complexity at the phrasal and clausal levels in spoken and written responses to the TOEFL iBT test. TOEFL iBT Research Report No. RR-19-45. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.
Chapter 20: Biber, D., B. Gray, S. Staples, & J. Egbert. 2020. Investigating grammatical complexity in L2 English writing research: Linguistic description versus predictive measurement. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 46: 1-15.
PART V: Conclusion
Chapter 21: Reflecting on the Register-Functional Approach to Grammatical Complexity: What do we know and where do we go from here?
Douglas Biber is Regents' Professor of English (Applied Linguistics) at Northern Arizona University. His research efforts have focused on corpus linguistics, English grammar, and register variation. Previous books include Register, Genre, and Style (Cambridge, 2009/2019), the co-authored Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (1999), and studies of grammatical complexity (Cambridge 2016), university registers (Benjamins 2006), and Multi-Dimensional Analyses of register variation (Cambridge 1988, 1995, 2018).
Bethany Gray is Associate Professor of English (Applied Linguistics and Technology) at Iowa State University. Her research employs corpus linguistics methodologies to explore register variation, with a focus on academic language. Publications include monographs on academic research articles (John Benjamins 2015), historical change in writing (Cambridge 2016). She is a co-founding editor of Register Studies (John Benjamins).
Shelley Staples is Associate Professor of English Applied Linguistics/SLAT at University of Arizona. Her research focuses on corpus analysis, particularly for applications to language learning/teaching. Publications include a monograph (John Benjamins) and edited volume (Palgrave) on healthcare discourse and articles in Journal of English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes, Applied Linguistics, and TESOL Quarterly.
Jesse Egbert is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Northern Arizona University. He specializes in register variation, corpus linguistics, and quantitative research methods. He is a General Editor of Register Studies. Two of his recent books focus on online register variation (Cambridge 2018) and corpus linguistics methods (Cambridge 2020).