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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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3. Learner corpus profiles


3.Learner corpus profiles

3.1Theoretical background

Given the fact that the present study draws on the first-hand analysis of a corpus (RoCLE), the creation of a lexico-grammatical profile of the RoCLE corpus is perfectly justified: profiling ‘can help researchers form a quick picture of the interlanguage of a given learner population and it opens up interesting avenues for future research’ (Granger and Rayson 1998: 131).

By trying to assess a learner corpus holistically, studies have, in most of the cases, referred to the Lexical Frequencies Profile, i.e. LFP, (Laufer and Nation 1995) or lexico-grammatical profiles (Granger and Rayson 1998). Both approaches have been amended in the present study, based on the assumption that the lexico-grammatical profile of a (learner) corpus cannot refer exclusively to the evaluation of the “lexical richness” or the frequency-listing of grammatical categories. Before we present the results of our study we would like first to briefly review the literature relevant to both directions of corpus profiling.

Lexical Frequency Profile (LFP) (Laufer and Nation 1995) can be performed with the help of the widely known automatic tool for dealing with lexical richness, the RANGE program. It implies the realization of lexical frequency lists based on 4 frequency classes: the first 1000 most frequent words, the second 1000 most frequent words, the 570 most frequent ‘academic words’ and not-in-the-list words. However, lexical profiling of learner texts, being the key to evaluating the students’ vocabulary competences, has preoccupied many linguists, who have...

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