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Studies in Learner Corpus Linguistics

Research and Applications for Foreign Language Teaching and Assessment


Erik Castello, Katherine Ackerley and Francesca Coccetta

This volume explores the potential of using both cross-sectional and longitudinal learner corpora to investigate the interlanguage of learners with various L1 backgrounds and to subsequently apply the findings to language teaching and assessment. It is made up of 18 chapters selected from papers presented at the international conference «Compiling and Using Learner Corpora», held in May 2013 at the University of Padua, Italy. The chapters discuss current issues and future developments of the use of learner corpora, present case studies based on teaching and assessment experiences in various contexts, and longitudinal corpus-based studies conducted within the Longitudinal Database of Learner English (LONGDALE) project. Other chapters report on investigations of specific aspects of the interlanguage of a variety of learner populations, and the last ones address issues of corpus compilation and representativeness. The majority of the contributions draw on data produced by EFL learners from Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the Netherlands, while others concern learners of Italian and Spanish as Foreign Languages.
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This volume presents studies based on the compilation and analysis of learner corpora, that is electronic collections of authentic, continuous and contextualised foreign or second language texts produced by learners and assembled according to explicit design criteria (Granger 2009: 14). Learner Corpus Research (LCR) has developed considerably over the last twenty years, as testified by the many learner corpora that have been compiled all over the world1, by the foundation of a specific international academic association, the Learner Corpus Association2, as well as by the many conferences, publications and, recently, a journal3 specifically devoted to this sub-field of corpus linguistics (e.g. Granger/Gilquin/Meunier 2013, Callies/Götz 2015, Callies/Paquot 2015). Such research has been conducted by scholars in various disciplines, including Second Language Acquisition (SLA), Language Testing and Assessment (LTA) and Foreign Language Teaching (FLT), with a wide variety of aims, for example, to target the needs of specific groups of language learners and evaluate their performance more precisely. In spite of the many advancements, however, there are some theoretical and methodological aspects of this field of research which are still in need of investigation, especially in view of the successful application of the findings to the target contexts. As claimed by Granger (2009: 28),

we need more learner corpora – particularly longitudinal ones – representing a much wider range of genres, tasks and learners in a wider range of languages. Secondly, it is time to start thinking seriously of a standardized markup and ← 9 | 10 → annotation system and a...

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