Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching (Language Learning & Language Teaching)

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  • Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisitionand Foreign Language Teaching

  • Language Learning and Language Teaching

    The LL&LTmonograph series publishes monographs as well as edited volumeson applied and methodological issues in the field of language pedagogy. Thefocus of the series is on subjects such as classroom discourse and interaction;language diversity in educational settings; bilingual education; language testingand language assessment; teaching methods and teaching performance; learningtrajectories in second language acquisition; and written language learning ineducational settings.

    Series editors

    Birgit HarleyOntario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

    Jan H. HulstijnDepartment of Second Language Acquisition, University of Amsterdam

    Volume 6

    Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition andForeign Language TeachingEdited by Sylviane Granger, Joseph Hung and Stephanie Petch-Tyson

  • Computer Learner Corpora,Second Language Acquisitionand Foreign Language Teaching

    Edited by

    Sylviane GrangerUniversit catholique de Louvain

    Joseph HungChinese University of Hong Kong

    Stephanie Petch-TysonUniversit catholique de Louvain

    John Benjamins Publishing CompanyAmsterdam/Philadelphia

  • The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American8 TM National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of Paper for PrintedLibrary Materials, ansi z39.48-1984.

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Computer learner corpora, second language acquisition and foreign language teaching /edited by Sylviane Granger, Joseph Hung and Stephanie Petch-Tyson.

    p. cm. (Language Learning and Language Teaching, issn 1569-9471 ; v. 6)Includes bibliographical references and index.

    1. Language and languages--Computer-assisted instruction. 2. Second languageacquisition--Computer-assisted instruction. I. Granger, Sylviane, 1951- II. Hung,Joseph. III. Petch-Tyson, Stephanie. IV. Series.

    P53.28.C6644 2002418.00285-dc21 2002027701isbn 90 272 1701 7 (Eur.) / 1 58811 293 4 (US) (Hb; alk. paper)isbn 90 272 1702 5 (Eur.) / 1 58811 294 2 (US) (Pb; alk. paper)

    2002 John Benjamins B.V.No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or anyother means, without written permission from the publisher.

    John Benjamins Publishing Co. P.O. Box 36224 1020 me Amsterdam The NetherlandsJohn Benjamins North America P.O. Box 27519 Philadelphia pa 19118-0519 usa

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    Table of contents

    Preface vii

    List of contributors ix

    I. The role of computer learner corpora in SLA research and FLT

    A Birds-eye view of learner corpus research 3Sylviane Granger

    II. Corpus-based approaches to interlanguage

    Using bilingual corpus evidence in learner corpus research 37Bengt Altenberg

    Modality in advanced Swedish learners written interlanguage 55Karin Aijmer

    A corpus-based study of the L2-acquisition of the English verb system 77Alex Housen

    III. Corpus-based approaches to foreign language pedagogy

    The pedagogical value of native and learner corpora in EFLgrammar teaching 119

    Fanny Meunier

    Learner corpora and language testing: smallwords as markers oflearner fluency 143

    Angela Hasselgren

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    Table of contents

    Business English: learner data from Belgium, Finland and the U.S. 175Ulla Connor, Kristen Precht and Thomas Upton

    The TELEC secondary learner corpus: a resource for teacher development 195Quentin Grant Allan

    Pedagogy and local learner corpora: working with learning-driven data 213Barbara Seidlhofer

    Author index 235

    Subject index 241

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    Computer learner corpora are electronic collections of spoken or written textsproduced by foreign or second language learners in a variety of language set-tings. Once computerised, these data can be analysed with linguistic softwaretools, from simple ones, which search, count and display, to the most advancedones, which provide sophisticated analyses of the data.

    Interest in computer learner corpora is growing fast, amidst increasingrecognition of their theoretical and practical value, and a number of these cor-pora, representing a range of mediums and genres and of varying sizes, eitherhave been or are currently being compiled. This volume takes stock of currentresearch into computer learner corpora conducted both by ELT and SLA spe-cialists and should be of particular interest to researchers looking to assess itsrelevance to SLA theory and ELT practice. Throughout the volume, emphasisis also placed on practical, methodological aspects of computer learner cor-pus research, in particular the contribution of technology to the research pro-cess. The advantages and disadvantages of automated and semi-automated ap-proaches are analysed, the capabilities of linguistic software tools investigated,the corpora (and compilation processes) described in detail. In this way, an im-portant function of the volume is to give practical insight to researchers whomay be considering compiling a corpus of learner data or embarking on learnercorpus research.

    Impetus for the book came from the International Symposium on ComputerLearner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teach-ing organised by Joseph Hung and Sylviane Granger at the Chinese Univer-sity of Hong Kong in 1998. The volume is not a proceedings volume however,but a collection of articles which focus specifically on the interrelationshipsbetween computer learner corpora, second language acquisition and foreignlanguage teaching.

    The volume is divided into three sections:The first section by Granger provides a general overview of learner cor-

    pus research and situates learner corpora within Second Language Acquisitionstudies and Foreign Language Teaching.

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    The three chapters in the second section illustrate a range of corpus-basedapproaches to interlanguage analysis. The first chapter by Altenberg illustrateshow contrastive analysis, an approach to learner language whose validity hasvery much been challenged over the years, has now been reinterpreted within alearner corpus perspective and can offer valuable insights into transfer-relatedlanguage phenomena. The following two studies, one cross-sectional by Aijmerand the other longitudinal by Housen, demonstrate the power of learner cor-pus data to uncover features of interlanguage grammar.

    The chapters in the third section demonstrate the direct pedagogical rele-vance of learner corpus work. In the first chapter, Meunier analyses the currentand potential contribution of native and learner corpora to the field of gram-mar teaching. In the following chapter, Hasselgrens analysis of a corpus of spo-ken learner language is an attempt to put measurable parameters on the noto-riously difficult to define notion of fluency, with the ultimate aim of introduc-ing increased objectivity into evaluating fluency within testing procedures. Intheir study of job applications, Connor, Precht and Upton argue for the valueof genre-specific corpora in understanding more about learner language use,and demonstrate how a learner-corpus based approach to the ESP field can beused to refine current approaches to ESP pedagogy. The last two chapters showhow the use of learner corpus data can lead to the development of new teachingand learning tools (Allan) and classroom methodologies (Seidlhofer).

    Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the acquisition editor,Kees Vaes, for his continuing support and encouragement and the two se-ries editors, Jan Hulstijn and Birgit Harley, for their insightful comments onpreliminary versions of the volume. We would also like to express our grati-tude to all the authors who have contributed to the volume for their patientwait for the volume to appear and their ever-willingness to effect the changesasked of them.

    Sylviane Granger, Joseph Hung and Stephanie Petch-TysonLouvain-la-Neuve and Hong Kong

    January 2002

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    List of contributors

    Quentin Grant AllanUniversity of Hong Kong, China

    Karin AijmerGteborg University, Sweden

    Bengt AltenbergLund University, Sweden

    Ulla ConnorIndiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, USA

    Sylviane GrangerUniversit catholique de Louvain, Belgium

    Angela HasselgrenUniversity of Bergen, Norway

    Alex HousenVrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

    Kristen PrechtNorthern Arizona University, USA

    Fanny MeunierUniversit catholique de Louvain, Belgium

    Barbara SeidlhoferUniversity of Vienna, Austria

    Thomas UptonIndiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, USA

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    I. The role of computer learner corporain SLA research and FLT

  • A Birds-eye view of learner corpus research

    Sylviane GrangerUniversit catholique de Louvain, Belgium

    Chapter overview

    This chapter is intended to provide a practical, comprehensive overview oflearner corpus research. Granger first situates learner corpus research in re-lation to SLA and ELT research then goes on to discuss corpus compilation,highlighting the importance of establishing clear design criteria, which sheargues should always bear a close relation to a particular research objective.Then follows a detailed discussion of methodologies