LINGUIST List 23.1926

Wed Apr 18 2012

Review: Applied Ling; Text/Corpus Ling: Kübler (2011)

Editor for this issue: Monica Macaulay <>

Date: 18-Apr-2012
From: Duygu Candarli <>
Subject: Corpora, Language, Teaching, and Resources: From Theory to Practice
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Announced at
EDITOR: Natalie KüblerTITLE: Corpora, Language, Teaching, and Resources: From Theory to PracticeSERIES TITLE: Etudes Contrastives -- Volume 12PUBLISHER: Peter LangYEAR: 2011

Duygu Çandarlı, Department of Foreign Language Education, Boğaziçi University,İstanbul, Turkey


This volume, which is organized into four parts, addresses the use of corpora,learner corpora analysis, creation of resources, and tools and evaluation ofcorpora in foreign language teaching. The selected papers that were presented atthe 7th Teaching and Language Corpora Conference in 2006 challenge the readersto reconsider the role of corpora in language teaching by expanding the range ofcorpus linguistics research. The editor presents the book and brieflysummarizes each chapter in the introduction. There, she argues that the volumewill contribute to the literature by strengthening the relationship betweencorpora and language-related learning and teaching.

Part I, “Bringing corpus use to effective practice,” explores the ways in whichcorpora can be exploited in the classroom context with learners. In the firstpaper, Kettemann and Marko illustrate how corpus linguistic tools anddata-driven learning can be used to teach critical discourse analysis. Theyassess students’ research diaries, questionnaires and students’ papers in orderto evaluate their practice. They note that even though students’ motivationincreases, contradictory results are found in terms of learner autonomy, whichis attributed to lack of competence and confidence in using corpora. They alsostate that the benefits of using data-driven learning in teaching criticaldiscourse analysis outweigh the shortcomings. Similarly, in the second paper,Philip examines the role of corpora in teaching phraseology and concludes thatthere are some qualitative differences in the phraseological patterns by corporausers. He argues that these differences are not simply due to the fact that thelearners are corpus users but are because they already have good languagelearner characteristics. In the next paper, Boulton presents direct applicationsof corpus tools in language learning and other areas, such as politics, music,and history. MA students are encouraged to apply corpus linguistics to theirresearch projects and discover corpus tools by themselves. Within this process,the study reveals that corpus consultation increases students’ motivation, whichin turn can improve students’ skills that are transferable across disciplines(Römer, 2006). In the third paper, a study of the French verb “jouer” in aFrench journalistic corpus, Chambers indicates that corpora can provide learnerswith the examples of not only grammatical patterns of the verb, but also literaland metaphorical meaning. She goes on to argue that the corpus data can enablestudents to access a richer and multicontextual learning environment. In anotherstudy on corpus evidence for teaching adverbial connectors, Charles examines theposition, negation and rhetorical functions of contrastive adverbs in twocorpora of theses and points out that students’ awareness of rhetoricalfunctions of those adverbs should be raised since the adverbs have certainspecific rhetorical functions. Several pedagogical implications are given inorder to help students develop a deeper understanding of the grammaticalpatterns and rhetorical functions of contrastive adverbs. In the next paper,Rij-Heyligers shows that applying corpus linguistics to genre and criticaldiscourse analysis can foster learners’ awareness of collocates and co-text inacademic discourse, which may help to write better research papers and articles.He emphasizes that by combining those approaches, learners will be aware ofsocial conventions of academic discourse. In the next paper, Krausse analyzessemantic preference, semantic prosody and attested collocations of some specificvocabulary items in environmental engineering in comparison with GeneralEnglish. Corpus analysis shows that lexical and semantic information isessential for ESP learners in order for them to use specialist languagecorrectly. Krausse comes up with some suggestions, such as explicit teacherinstruction and discovery learning to enhance learning semantic preferences andprosodies of those vocabulary items. In the last paper of Part I, Schmiedexplores the use of two translation corpora in contrastive linguistic analysis.The process regarding the multilingual corpora consultation is explained indetail. Schmied claims that multilingual corpora can be very useful indiscovering fine similarities and differences in closely related languages,which will be relevant for translation studies, language learning and teaching,and contrastive linguistics.

Part II, “Learner corpora analysis”, which consists of two papers, focuses onthe analysis of learners’ process and evolution in learning a foreign language.In the first paper, Jimenez-Caycedo and Gebhard compare their students’ personalnarratives with larger reference corpora and identify whether these studentshave developed their writing ability. By combining corpus-based languageanalysis with genre analysis, they find that learners’ texts changed from havingfeatures of spoken language to features of written discourse, based on frequencydata. They claim that in addition to frequency data, keyword analysis incomparison with other corpora can shed more light on the students’ writingcapacity and development. In the other paper of Part II, Bedmar and Pedrosainvestigate the use of prepositions by Spanish learners of English in afour-year longitudinal corpus. Based on Granger’s Integrated Contrastive Model(1996), they identify the most problematic prepositions for learners and fourpatterns of development in the use of prepositions. The authors attributestudents’ problems with prepositions to L1 influence. In accordance with theresults of the study, they put forward some suggestions for EFL materials andteaching practices to teach prepositions more effectively.

In Part 3, “Resources and tools: Creation,” which contains 5 papers, thecreation of corpus resources and tools are addressed. The authors describe anddiscuss various ways of designing a corpus and its tools. In the first paper inthis section, Castagnoli et al. provide a very detailed description of thedevelopment of the MeLLANGE corpus, which has been aligned and annotated atvarious levels. They argue that this learner translator corpus (LTC) providestranslator trainers and trainees with an opportunity to discover translationproblems and solutions. The authors provide useful applications of the LTC forboth teaching and research purposes. They suggest that the LTC can be used fordesigning e-learning materials, identifying common language and translationerrors, teaching other translation-related subjects and autonomous learning. Inthe second paper, Pecman offers a model for analyzing collocations in scientificdiscourse by creating phraseological corpus-based data and using a combinatorialconceptual framework. She believes that this framework can facilitate thetransfer of the collocational profile of lexical items from the source languageto the target language and improve writing skills, especially in the academicdomain. In the third paper, Tsaknasi presents a method for automaticallyrecognizing Greek proverbs in texts and discusses its applications in foreignlanguage teaching and learning, cultural studies and translation. A finite statetransducers (FSTs) library is created in order to recognize proverbs, and thelibrary is presented briefly. Tsaknasi states that FSTs can enable learners andteachers to study authentic texts, focus on pragmatics, practice translationtechniques and identify cultural and linguistic similarities and differences. Inthe fourth paper, Martin introduces a software program called WinPitch Corpus,describes its features and discusses its applications in a classroom context.WinPitch has a large number of functionalities, such as assisted transcription,alignment, prosodic morphing, automatic lexicon and instructor annotations,etc., for teaching oral and written material. It is easily downloadable from theinternet and can be used under the guidance of teachers or by students at theirown pace. WinPitch allows students to do in-depth analysis of language and carryout comprehension exercises. In the final paper of this section, Kraif and Tutinexplain the creation of a bilingual annotated corpus of academic papers inEnglish and French. The corpus has been annotated for semi-frozen expressionswhich are specific to academic writing. The authors show that how thissyntactically and semantically annotated corpus can be exploited as an academicwriting aid.

The last part of the book, “Resources: Evaluation”, which is comprised of twopapers, deals with the evaluation of corpus resources. In the first paper,Chiari assesses the effectiveness of two written and spoken corpora of Italianin teaching language variation to learners of Italian as a second language. Theadvantages and problems of those corpora in teaching language variation areidentified according to the features of the corpora, such as size, search query,design and tools. She also makes some recommendations for retrieval anddocumentation tools for future use in teaching language variation. In the finalpaper of the book, Williams evaluates three major leaners’ dictionaries in termsof scientific usage and concludes that dictionaries tend to fail to address theneeds of ESP/EAP learners. Therefore, he suggests a corpus-based approach thatprovides learners with information that cannot be found in dictionaries.


The book is a very valuable resource for corpus linguists, practitioners andforeign language teachers since it presents an overview of corpus linguistics,its methods and applications in language teaching, translation, linguistics,literature and cultural studies. In the first part of the book, the authorsdiscuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of corpora in differentteaching settings, which can be practical guidance in showing practitioners whatto do and what comes out of doing it. Also, appendices given at the end of thepapers offer the readers a wide variety of corpora and corpus linguistic toolswhich can be a substantial reference for further studies and classroom practices.

The third part of the book, related to the creation of corpus tools andresources, deals quite specifically with computational approaches and naturallanguage processing issues. Some of the papers in this part might be a bittechnical, and it is questionable whether these papers will interest manyscholars who are not computational linguists. Technical details regarding thedesign of corpora might be difficult for people without further specializedtraining in natural language processing. However, in one of the papers, alanguage teaching software program, WinPitch, can be utilized easily in theclassroom context, as it is user-friendly and easily downloadable from theinternet.

In light of the greater attention given to the diversity of the approaches incorpus tools, resources and the use of corpora in many areas, the book brings anewer and more dynamic perspective to interdisciplinary corpus studies since notonly do the chapters contain practical suggestions for how to use readilyavailable corpora in foreign language teaching, but they also illustrate variousways in which corpus can be created and exploited for a wide range of purposesby both students and instructors. Comprehensive research studies in corpus use,creation, evaluation and learner corpora analysis will challenge practitionersto consider the applications of corpora in their own context. The authors coverthe benefits and potential shortcomings of corpus use in the classroom, whichgives practitioners practical ideas for improving the applications of it.

The book offers a notable contribution to the field of corpora and languageteaching. Suggestions for further research in most of the chapters will mostlikely lead other researchers to pursue further studies in the field. The papersin the evaluation of corpus resources part are illuminating, and they addanother dimension that will be surely very useful for practitioners that wish toadapt available corpus resources to their own teaching context.


Granger, S. (1996). From CA to CIA and back. An integrated approach tocomputerized bilingual and learner corpora. In Aijmer K., B. Altenberg & S.Johansson (eds.) Languages in contrast. Lund: Lund University Press, 37-51.

Römer, U. 2006. Where the computer meets language, literature, and pedagogy:corpus analysis in English studies. In Gerbig A. & A. Müller-Wood (eds.) Howglobalization affects the teaching of English: studying culture through texts.Lampeter: E. Mellen Press, 81-119.


Duygu Çandarlı is currently working on her MA thesis on learner corpora at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. She is also a teaching and research assistant at Yıldız Technical University, Istanbul. Her research interests include corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics and World Englishes.

Page Updated: 18-Apr-2012