Using corpus based research for language teaching and learning
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Using Corpus-based Research for Language Teaching and Learning. ENGLISH 510 Hee Sung (Grace) Jun & Kimberly LeVelle. The importance of corpus-based research for language teachers. By Susan Conrad (1999). Definitions of terms. Corpus : principled collection of naturally-occurring texts

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Using Corpus-based Research for Language Teaching and Learning

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Using Corpus-based Research for Language Teaching and Learning

ENGLISH 510

Hee Sung (Grace) Jun & Kimberly LeVelle


The importance of corpus-based research for language teachers

By Susan Conrad (1999)


Definitions of terms

  • Corpus: principled collection of naturally-occurring texts

  • Corpus Linguistics: the empirical study of language relying on computer-assisted techniques to analyze large, principled databases of naturally occurring language

  • Concordancers: software programs that display words or simple grammatical terms with their surrounding context


Limitations of previous corpus-based work for language teachers

  • 1. Small-scale analyses

    • Small collection of texts compiled by convenience

    • Looking at all occurrences of a word or reading a transcript from corpus

  • 2. Focus on lexical or lexico-grammatical analyses

    • Study words alone or words in connection with a grammatical feature


Characteristics of corpus-based research

  • 1. Use a principled collection of naturally-occurring texts (corpus)

    • Size

    • Diversity

  • 2. Use computers for analyses

  • 3. Both quantitative analyses and functional interpretations of language use


Advantages of large-scale corpus-based studies

  • 1. Allow investigation of a variety of factors

    • Frequency

    • Semantic categories

    • Grammatical structures

    • Clausal positions

    • Individual items

  • 2. Easy to investigate social variation

    • register, gender, regional differences

  • 3. Provides both structural description and information about use

    • Intuition  concrete support and examples that reliably represent real language use

Interrelated


Will corpus linguistics revolutionize grammar teaching in the 21st century?

By Susan Conrad (2000)


Changes in grammar teaching and research at the end of the 20th century

  • 1. Renewed interest in focus on form

  • 2. Computer technology enabled the development of corpus linguistics


Three revolutionary changes in grammar teaching in the 21st century prompted by corpus-based studies

  • 1. Monolithic descriptions of English grammar  register-specific descriptions

  • 2. Integration of teaching of grammar with teaching of vocabulary

  • 3. Structural accuracy  appropriate conditions of use


Four Factors on which the Future of Grammar Teaching Depends

  • Introduction of corpus-based research to the right audience including teachers and teachers-in-training

  • Thoughtful presentation of pedagogical applications of corpus research

  • New grammar teaching materials that incorporate corpus-based research

  • Teachers’ willingness to deviate from traditional grammar syllabi and accept the changes


Integrating corpus consultation in language studies

By Angela Chambers (2005)


Types of Corpus Based Research

  • TEACHING ABOUT (i.e., teaching about corpora/corpus linguistics)

  • TEACHING TO EXPLOIT (i.e., teaching students to exploit corpus data)

  • EXPLOITING TO TEACH (i.e., exploiting corpus resources in order to teach)


Methodology

  • Students studying Applied Languages and Applied Languages with Computing

  • 3 week unit on corpora and concordancing

  • Students design own investigation

  • Corpora for each language were compiled from journalistic and academic writing sources


Findings

  • Student reactions to the activity

    • grammar text and corpus together

    • types of text to include in corpus

  • Discovery learning

    • Learner autonomy


DISADVANTAGES

  • Not a replacement for grammar book

    • prescriptive vs. descriptive dilemma

  • Limitations of small corpus

  • Time intensive

  • Learner training (as discussed by Jinrong and Pan Na)

  • Availability of corpora (esp. in variety of languages)


Using a Concordancer


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