On the basis of previous lexical bundle studies, this paper examines the forms, structures and functions of 4-word bundles in three corpora of spoken English, one of them of native speakers of English and the remaining two of non-native speakers of English, corresponding to university students in their first year of an English Studies degree and to the same students after two years of university instruction. The study focuses on three major characteristics: the overall distribution of bundles, their typical structures and their functions. The findings show significant differences in the types of lexical bundles used by native and non-native students, as well as in their structure and function.
Our results support the idea that lexical bundles are important components in oral discourse. One of the pedagogical implications of this paper is that Spanish students should be exposed to more samples of spoken language.