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Learner corpus profiles

The case of Romanian Learner English


Madalina Chitez

Aiming at exemplifying the methodology of learner corpus profiling, this book describes salient features of Romanian Learner English. As a starting point, the volume offers a comprehensive presentation of the Romanian-English contrastive studies. Another innovative aspect of the book refers to the use of the first Romanian Corpus of Learner English, whose compilation is the object of a methodological discussion. In one of the main chapters, the book introduces the methodology of learner corpus profiling and compares it with existing approaches. The profiling approach is emphasised by corpus-based quantitative and qualitative investigations of Romanian Learner English. Part of the investigation is dedicated to the lexico-grammatical profiles of articles, prepositions and genitives. The frequency-based collocation analyses are integrated with error analyses and extended into error pattern samples. Furthermore, contrasting typical Romanian Learner English constructions with examples from the German and the Italian learner corpora opens the path to new contrastive interlanguage analyses.
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1. Introduction



1.1Rethinking learner corpus profiles

A rich body of literature supports the idea that computer learner corpora facilitate both authentic-data descriptions of specific interlanguage types and their pedagogical implications (Granger 1998). In our view, the major purposes of CLC research can be more easily accomplished when a lexico-grammatical profile (O’Keeffe, McCarthy et al. 2007) of the corpus has already been determined. Subsequently, the interdependence between a freshly compiled learner corpus, like the Romanian Corpus of Learner English (RoCLE) and the learner corpus profiling approach seems inevitable.

Nevertheless, defining a learner corpus profile proves to be a most challenging task, as it can simultaneously refer to an integrated type of investigation, i.e. multiple features of word categories within the corpus (Granger and Rayson 1998), and to particular analyses, i.e. multiple features of specific items within the corpus (Tognini-Bonelli 2001). The terminology used by Crystal (1991) associates ‘profiling’ with the identification of the most salient features in a particular person (clinical linguistics) or register (stylistics). Starting from there, there is the possibility of constructing general profiles of the corpus according to the focus components: grammatical, lexical, semantic etc. The sum of all these separate ‘profiles’ can generate a learner corpus profile.

The other option is to create a lexico-grammatical profile of a word/word-category and its typical “contexts of use” (O’Keeffe, McCarthy et al. 2007: 14) in connection to: collocates, chunks/idioms, syntactic restrictions, semantic restrictions, prosody etc. The chosen formula in the present study is...

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