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Using Corpora to Learn about Language and Discourse


Linda Lombardo

Considerable progress has been made in the use of corpora for research purposes to describe language in use, and more recently, through a CADS (corpus assisted discourse studies) approach, to identify the discourse features of specific text genres. While the potential benefits of working with corpora in the classroom have been recognised, there has been a lag in the promulgation of guidelines for carrying out meaningful corpus work with language learners and teachers in mind. The papers in this volume aim to make a contribution toward filling that gap by providing an in-depth account of innovative corpus work, most of which has actually been carried out with real learners in the classroom. Authors provide valuable insights into ways of structuring corpus work for specific target learners, as well as suggestions for resolving problematic issues that have arisen and avoiding errors that have been made with learners and in their own research and experimentation. The transparency and honesty with which they present their methodology and results, along with the successful techniques they have developed, constitute a step forward in defining good (and bad) practice in the use of corpora in learning.
Contents: Linda Lombardo: Introduction: Establishing Guidelines for the Use of Corpora as Resources for Learners (and their Teachers) – Laura Gavioli: Corpus Analysis and the Achievement of Learner Autonomy in Interaction – Paul Baker: Issues Arising When Teaching Corpus-assisted (Critical) Discourse Analysis – Michaela Mahlberg: Patterns in News Stories: A Corpus Approach to Teaching Discourse Analysis – Giulia Riccio/Marco Venuti: Discovering Patterns and Discourse Strategies: CADS in an ESP Course for International Relations Students – Guy Aston: Using BNC-XML in the Classroom – Maria Teresa Prat Zagrebelsky: Computer Learner Corpora: Their Use in Research and in Teaching and Learning.