Concordancing & ELT (Demo)
Thursday, March 1st
Time: 10:30 am to 11:15 am
Convention Center, Meeting Room 267
Technology has made it possible to collect a database of real-life speech and
writing that can be surfed via concordancers. Resulting corpora are useful to
teachers and learners. Teachers can create lists of language patterns.
Learners can explore language for themselves. Corpora also provide authentic
material for creating test items.
advancement of technology, it has become quite handy to collect a database of
texts selected from transcribed speech from real-life formal and informal
speech recordings and radio-broadcasts, not to mention written publications,
e.g. fiction and non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, letters, ads and
brochures, that can be easily surfed via concordancers, computer programs
designed for that purpose. There are several applications for corpora in ELT.
Overview in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/tesol.htm
Activity 1 - Introducing Concordancing Key Words
To familiarize Ss with concordancing software and its terminology, you can create a pre-activity including key terms and their definitions with a quiz-maker, such as Total Recall System Shareware, Hot Potatoes, … etc. Ss can learn by themselves in the study mode, and then go to the test mode. This activity can be reversed. Ss can make a concordance of any given item and give their own definitions to that item in different contexts. Using Total Recall they can copy and paste contexts, and write their own definitions. Later, this can be used for their own revision of new contexts, or for peer testing.
The activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act1.htm
2 - Modals
Ask a couple of learners to give a
presentation on the function of modal verbs, discussing different meanings
expressed by each modal verb and giving a few examples from their course book.
Hand out a concordance printout of the modal
‘can’ to all the class. Elicit the function and different meanings from
the data given; ‘can’ expresses 4 meanings: possibility, ability,
permission and polite request.
Divide the class into groups of 5-6. Give each
group a different set of the concordance of ‘can’. Each group should
analyze the data given, and then discuss their findings.
Each group report back to the class. They
should be able to identify the function(s) in their concordance, illustrated
Learners are allowed to make any comments of
instances of other meanings not mentioned before.
from: Prima Mallikamas’
activity in Applications of Corpora in Language Teaching, ThaiTESOL
Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1, February 1999
activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act2.htm
3 - Phrasal Verbs/Verbs + Particles
Ask Ss to make a concordance for the
Ask them to highlight all the verbs preceding
In pairs, Ss guess all the new meanings of
these verbs from context.
Ss copy and paste 10 new contexts they would
like to learn, adding their own interpretation of the verbs in context.
As a follow-up group activity, Ss can add
these to their own vocabulary paper/electronic book.
interesting activity is using software, such as Total Recall Learning System
Shareware, to make a discovery or concentration game; T/F or M/C study games;
… etc. For more challenge Ss could quiz each other and the winners are
The activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act3.htm
Activity 4 - Making Deductions from Corpora
of Speech and Word Definitions
can make a concordance of any given item and give their own definitions to
that item in different contexts and for different parts of speech. Using Total
Recall they can copy and paste contexts, and write their own definitions.
These can be manipulated in concentration/discovery games; M/C or T/F study
questions; ... etc, which are provided by the program. Later, this can be used
for their own revision of new contexts, or for peer testing.
can refer to concordancing to elicit information about what words collocate
with a particular item and how often a word collocates with another.
activities in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act4.htm
Read the following examples and guess the
difference in meaning between ‘economic’ and ‘economical’:
agree that economic integration of the refugees poses a minor problem
compared with the social aspect.
effective, economical … cheap … do it the simple way, so it's cheap
and we've got what it's made of concrete.
Now compete the following texts with either of
the above words:
Mr Prokhorov said that the answer to the
contradiction between political renewal and __________________ crisis lay in
Marxism, which `teaches us that the superstructure is more mobile than the
base, and that it is the first to react to a change of conditions."
She was __________________ in her
These developments have proved neither
effective nor __________________.
Strong stemming is an __________________ but
crude way of automatically bringing in some of the halo of see also terms
which surround many search words.
The West German Finance Minister, Mr. Theo
Waigel, ruled out a common German currency until __________________ reforms
had been carried out in the East.
The transition to a new __________________
system is proving difficult.
1. economic 2.
economical 3. economical 4.
economical 5. economic 6. economic
activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act5.htm
Sample Corpus-based Activities on the Web
· Collocates of Great, Big, Huge, Large
· Politically correct expressions
· Nouns preceding on/about
· Adjectives ending in ic/ical
· Nouns/adjectives preceding for
· Meaning of different structures like + infinitive/like + gerund
· Mallikamas, Prima (1999). Applications of Corpora in Language Teaching, ThaiTESOL Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1, February 1999
· Mike Scott's Web http://www.liv.ac.uk/~ms2928/homepage.html
· Concordances and Corpora Tutorial http://ec.hku.hk/macomp/malangd.html
· Tim Johns Data-driven Learning Page http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/timconc.htm
· Cobuild Home Page http://titania.cobuild.collins.co.uk/
· British National Corpus Online http://sara.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/
Resources in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/interest.htm