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Corpora, Concordancing & ELT (Demo)

By: Hanaa Khamis A. Rahman

Faculty of Education

Alexandria, Egypt

E-mail: hanaakhamis@yahoo.com

Demo website: http://concordancing.tripod.com

 

 

 

 

Session Information

Event   #5073

Day:    Thursday, March 1st

Time:   10:30 am to 11:15 am

Location:  Convention Center, Meeting Room 267

Abstract: 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.


Overview

 

With the 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

 

Activity 2 - Modals  

1.     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.

2.     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.

3.     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.

4.     Each group report back to the class. They should be able to identify the function(s) in their concordance, illustrated by examples.

5.     Learners are allowed to make any comments of instances of other meanings not mentioned before.

 

Adapted from:     Prima Mallikamas’ activity in Applications of Corpora in Language Teaching, ThaiTESOL Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1, February 1999       

 

The activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act2.htm


Activity 3 - Phrasal Verbs/Verbs + Particles

 

1.     Ask Ss to make a concordance for the preposition ‘out’.

2.     Ask them to highlight all the verbs preceding the preposition.

3.     In pairs, Ss guess all the new meanings of these verbs from context.

4.     Ss copy and paste 10 new contexts they would like to learn, adding their own interpretation of the verbs in context.

5.     As a follow-up group activity, Ss can add these to their own vocabulary paper/electronic book.

6.     Another 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 rewarded.

 

The activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act3.htm

 

 

Activity 4 - Making Deductions from Corpora

 

Part of Speech and Word Definitions

 

Ss 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.

 

Collocations and Frequencies

 

Ss can refer to concordancing to elicit information about what words collocate with a particular item and how often a word collocates with another. 

 

The activities in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act4.htm

 


Activity 5 - Adjectives ending in ic/ical

 

Example 1:

 

A-             Read the following examples and guess the difference in meaning between ‘economic’ and ‘economical’:

 

Sociologists agree that economic integration of the refugees poses a minor problem compared with the social aspect.       

Cost effective, economical … cheap … do it the simple way, so it's cheap and we've got what it's made of concrete.

 

-Economic                         __________________

-Economical                      __________________

 

B-              Now compete the following texts with either of the above words:

 

1.     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."

2.     She was __________________ in her conversation.

3.     These developments have proved neither effective nor __________________.

4.     Strong stemming is an __________________ but crude way of automatically bringing in some of the halo of see also terms which surround many search words.

5.     The West German Finance Minister, Mr. Theo Waigel, ruled out a common German currency until __________________ reforms had been carried out in the East.

6.     The transition to a new __________________ system is proving difficult.

 

Answers:

           

1. economic 2. economical 3. economical  4. economical 5. economic 6. economic

 

The activity in detail: http://concordancing.tripod.com/act5.htm


Sample Corpus-based Activities on the Web

·               Collocates of Great, Big, Huge, Large

http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/great.htm

·                Politically correct expressions

http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/person.htm

·               Nouns preceding on/about

 http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/on_about.htm

·               Adjectives ending in  ic/ical

http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/ic_ical.htm

·               Nouns/adjectives preceding for

http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/l_for.htm

·               Meaning of different structures like + infinitive/like + gerund

http://web.bham.ac.uk/johnstf/like_u.htm 

 

Useful Resources

·               Mallikamas, Prima (1999). Applications of Corpora in Language Teaching, ThaiTESOL Bulletin, Vol. 12 No. 1, February 1999

http://www.nsknet.or.jp/~peterr-s/concordancing/glossary.html

 

Sites

·        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