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Corpus Analysis for Descriptive and Pedagogical Purposes

ESP Perspectives


Maurizio Gotti and Davide S. Giannoni

There is hardly any aspect of verbal communication that has not been investigated using the analytical tools developed by corpus linguists. This is especially true in the case of English, which commands a vast international research community, and corpora are becoming increasingly specialised, as they account for areas of language use shaped by specific sociolectal (register, genre, variety) and speaker (gender, profession, status) variables.
Corpus analysis is driven by a common interest in ‘linguistic evidence’, viewed as a source of insights into language phenomena or of lexical, semantic and contrastive data for subsequent applications. Among the latter, pedagogical settings are highly prominent, as corpora can be used to monitor classroom output, raise learner awareness and inform teaching materials.
The eighteen chapters in this volume focus on contexts where English is employed by specialists in the professions or academia and debate some of the challenges arising from the complex relationship between linguistic theory, data-mining tools and statistical methods.
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A ‘Speedful Development’: Academic Literacy in Chinese Learners of English as a Foreign Language: Cassi L. Liardét



A ‘Speedful Development’: Academic Literacy in Chinese Learners of English as a Foreign Language


This chapter1 explores how corpus linguistics techniques can support a qualitative, in-depth investigation of academic literacy development in Chinese learners of English as a Foreign Language (EFL). Using Systemic Functional Linguistic theory, I examine learner deployment of grammatical metaphor (GM), a key linguistic resource for construing academic language (Halliday 1998; Schleppegrell 2004; Christie/Derewianka 2008). Specifically, this chapter reports on Chinese university learners’ deployment of experiential GM, or the ability to reconstrue dynamic meanings statically, coherently and with increasing degrees of technicality. Thus, the ‘specialised discourse’ that I will focus on in this chapter is that of learner language in the pursuit of academic literacy. First, I will introduce Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), GM and the methodological and analytical frameworks, then I will conclude with key findings. ← 303 | 304 →

2.SFL and grammatical metaphor

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