Using monolingual and parallel corpora to teach english in portugal
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Using monolingual and parallel corpora to teach English in Portugal. Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA-LX & FCSH-UNL. What is a corpus*?. A large, principled collection of natural texts. compatible with specific corpus-browsing software. digital format. *plural = corpora.

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Using monolingual and parallel corpora to teach english in portugal

Using monolingual and parallel corpora to teach English in Portugal

Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

ISLA-LX & FCSH-UNL


What is a corpus
What is a corpus*?

A large, principled collection of natural texts

compatible with specific corpus-browsing software

digital format

*plural = corpora


Two free online corpora
Two free, online corpora

Simple search http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk

Full BNC http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/

Simple and advanced search

http://www.linguateca.pt/COMPARA/


The british national corpus bnc
The British National Corpus (BNC)

  • 100 million words of general British English from the early nineties.

  • 10% transcribed speech

  • 90% written texts

  • New words (e.g. landline)

  • General English


Compara
COMPARA

  • Only one genre

    • fiction

  • A lot smaller than the BNC

    • 3 million words

  • Two languages

    • Portuguese + English

  • PT-EN equivalents

  • Words unlikely to be found in fiction:

    (e.g. paradigmatic)


Two ways of using corpora in elt
Two ways of using corpora in ELT

1. Use ready-made, corpus-based materials

2. Use corpora directly


Using corpora directly
Using corpora directly

  • To improve your own English

  • To prepare tailor-made materials for your students

  • To promote learner autonomy in the classroom


Dictionaries

Grammars

Ask a native speaker

Native speakers aren’t always available

Can’t always explain how language is used

Sometimes disagree about what is right and what is wrong

Ask a corpus

What do you do when

you are not sure about

how to say or write something

in English?


What happens when you query a corpus
What happens when you query a corpus?

  • Access to how the people whose words are registered in the corpus have actually used the language

  • It’s like asking native speakers to answer a question about language use

    • Without them having to think about it

    • Without you having to bother them


This means
This means...

  • Access to empirical evidence of how dozens or hundreds of speakers used the language

    • Results are quantifiable

    • Reach your own conclusions

      E.g. (O’Keefe et al 2007:101)

    • He isn’t coming X He’s not coming

    • John isn’t coming X John’s not coming

  • Replaces native-speaker intuition and...

  • ...helps to place native & non-native teachers on equal terms (Aston 2007)


For example
For example...

?In what concerns....

?Very many people...

Dictionaries?

Grammars?

Native speakers?






Why not just use google instead
Why not just use Google instead?

  • No control over provenance

    • Anyone can publish anything on Web 2.0

    • Useful information

    • A load of rubbish & ungrammatical English

  • No control over frequencies

    • Lots of replicated pages

    • Here you see it, here you don’t

    • Metalanguage like “click”, “back”, “shopping cart”

  • No control over top results

    • Paid, sponsored links

  • Output not very enlightening

    • Snippets

  • No linguistic annotation

    • book (V) vs. book (N)

    • do, does, did, done


Corpora are better adapted
Corpora are better adapted

  • Control provenance

    • You know exactly what your sources are

    • Mistakes are limited

      • BNC: native British

      • COMPARA: native Portuguese, English + professional, published translations by native speakers

  • Control frequencies

    • No replicated texts

    • Texts don’t disappear

    • Metalanguage not an issue

  • Control top results

    • Frequency or alphabetical

  • Output more informative

    • Concordances, frequency lists and collocations rather than snippets

  • Linguistic annotation

    • Part-of-speech tagging: book (V) vs. book (N)

    • Lemmatization: do, does, did, done


What do you do when

your students need extra grammar and vocabulary exercises outside their regular textbook?

  • Photocopy exercises from another textbook

  • Download exercises from ELT sites

    • General exercises for an anonymous (or different) public

  • Prepare your own exercises

    • Too much work, too little time 

  • Use a corpus to create tailor-made exercises for your students


What happens when you use a corpus prepare materials for your students
What happens when you use a corpus prepare materials for your students?

  • Don’t rack your brains to think of good language examples

  • Don’t read through long texts for inspiration

  • Find lots of stimulating examples at a click of your mouse

  • Use authentic words that native speakers have used

    • Real English can be more thought-provoking and memorable than bland, “exercise-book English”

  • Don’t spend long hours typing out handouts for your students

  • Cut and paste corpus output onto a word processor


Using corpora in language reception
Using corpora in language reception your students?

Textbook dialogue (Jones 2005:10)

PASSENGER I was wondering, er… could I have a smoking seat?

CHECK-IN CLERK I'm afraid this is anon-smoking flight, sir. Would you prefer an aisle or a window seat?

PASSENGER Erm, well, I'm not sure. You see, it's the first time I've flown and I, well, I'mfeelinga bituneasy aboutit.



Bnc concordances for aisle
BNC concordances for your students?aisle


Concordances for aisle
Concordances for your students?aisle

  • Authentic sentences with aisle in all sorts of contexts

  • Not bland, exercise-book English

    • Meaningful, memorable, thought-provoking examples

  • A word of caution

    • Language that is too difficult

    • Rude language

    • Sensitive language, inappropriate for the classroom

    • Even a few mistakes (that native speakers make)

  • Use only what you judge is suitable for your students

  • (see example 1 in handout)


Using the bnc to consolidate new grammar
Using the BNC your students?to consolidate new grammar

It is the first time


Concordances for it is the first time
Concordances for your students?it is the first time

Again, your results may contain difficult, rude, innapropriate language & mistakes

Select what you judge is suitable for your students (see example 2 in handout)


Using compara to distinguish between easily confused words
Using COMPARA to distinguish between easily confused words your students?

segurança

security

safety



Parallel concordances for seguran a
Parallel concordances for your students?segurança

Select what you judge is suitable for your students (see example 3 in handout)


Using corpora in language production
Using corpora in language production your students?

Let’s talk about about Christmas!

But let’s practise some new vocabulary as well...


Using the bnc to brainstorm vocabulary
Using the BNC to brainstorm vocabulary your students?

christmas

*


Collocates of christmas
Collocates of your students?Christmas

(example 4 in handout)


Using compara as a bilingual dictionary with context
Using COMPARA as a bilingual dictionary with context your students?

How can I say “compromisso” in English?



Parallel concordances for compromisso
Parallel concordances for your students?compromisso


Using the bnc to find out how words combine
Using the BNC to find out your students?how words combine

What sounds better:

“tone of voice” or “voice tone”?


Using the bnc to find out how words combine1
Using the BNC to find out your students?how words combine

tone of voice

voice tone


Bnc frequencies
BNC frequencies your students?

Dodgy...

Okay!


Using corpora in language correction
Using corpora in language correction your students?

*Actually I am looking for a job


Using compara to focus on false friends
Using COMPARA your students?to focus on false friends

actually

x


Parallel concordances for actually
Parallel concordances for your students?actually


Using compara to focus on false friends1
Using COMPARA your students?to focus on false friends

actualmente

x


Parallel concordances for actualmente
Parallel concordances for your students?actualmente


Using corpora in language correction your students?

*She is married with a Frenchman


Part-of-speech queries in the BNC your students?

married [pr*]


Prepostions after married
Prepostions after your students?married

(see example 5 in handout)


Using corpora in language testing
Using corpora in language testing your students?

Test specific vocabulary:

safety or security?


Using the bnc to focus on alternate terms
Using the BNC to focus your students?on alternate terms

safety|security


Bnc concordances for security safety
BNC concordances your students?for security & safety

(see example 6 in handout)


Final remarks
Final remarks your students?

  • Many different ways of using corpora creatively to teach English in Portugal

  • Corpora can help you

    • with questions that are not dealt with by dictionaries and grammars

    • create tailor-made exercises for Portuguese learners of English

  • Monolingual and parallel corpora have non-conflicting, complementary roles to play (Frankenberg-Garcia 2004, 2005)


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