Corpora and the Lexical Approach

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An overview of the importance of corpora and the lexical approach to current English teaching.

Text of Corpora and the Lexical Approach

  • 1. What is a Corpus? A collection of texts, written or spoken, usually stored in a computer database. (From Corpus to Course Book, Michael McCarthy, Cambridge University Press)

2. Some of the Most Famous Corpora 3. Written Language in Corpora: Books Newspapers Websites Correspondence Signs Magazines Spoken Language in Corpora: Transcripts of: Ordinary conversations Phone Calls Business Meetings Radio Broadcasts TV shows Movies Speeches Meetings Lectures 4. Corpora Help us to Answer these Questions: What are the most frequent words and phrases in English? What are the differences between spoken and written English? What tenses do people use most frequently? What prepositions follow particular verbs? Which words are used in formal and informal situations? How often do people use idiomatic expressions and why? 5. Grammar Usage What is the principal use of MUST? 6. Conversational English 7. The Mechanics of Language 8. The Mechanics of Language 9. English for Specific Purposes Cambridge Business English Corpus Cambridge Legal English Corpus Cambridge Financial English Corpus Cambridge Academic English Corpus CANCODE (Cambridge and Nottingham Corpus of Discourse in English) 10. Cambridge Learners Corpus The CLC contains scripts from over 180,000 students from around 200 countries speaking 138 different first languages 11. Sources of Exam Scripts 12. What specific language do we need to teach at each CEFR level to help students perform can- do' statements? What grammar and vocabulary do students typically know at each CEFR level? 13. Benefits of Corpus Informed Materials Based on actual language usage The syllabus is informed by frequency The differences between spoken and written language is emphasized. Specialized corpora can be used to address the needs of special groups of students. Errors can be anticipated by making reference to learner corpora. Students are exposed to authentic language without having to live in the target language environment. 14. Can Teachers Refer to Corpora?? What about Students? 15. the meaning of a word is as much a matter of how the word combines in context with another word rather than any inherent meaning it has itself. You shall know a word by the company it keeps. 16. The Lexical Approach places communication of meaning at the heart of language and language learning. This leads to emphasis on the main carrier of meaning: vocabulary. Fluency is based on the acquisition of a large store of fixed and semi-fixed prefabricated items. 17. Chunks Collocations Phrasal Verbs Idioms, Catchphrases, Sayings Sentence Frames Social formulas Discourse markers Responses or Backchannel Devices Monitoring Expressions Vague expressions Hedging Expressions Expressions of Stance 18. Chunking is a natural process, Learners do it in their native language and so, with a bit of awareness raising in class, we can get them to transfer this skill to the target language. If they concentrate on learning chunks rather than words especially if they are accustomed to doing this from beginners level they will become more efficient learners. The Company Words Keep by Paul Davis & Hanna Kryszewska 19. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching by Jack C Richards Cambridge University Press 20. Teacher! What does way mean? Summers still a long way off. No way! Get out of the way! I looked the other way. He didnt go out of his way to help me.