Presentation on theme: "Using monolingual and parallel corpora to teach English in Portugal Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA-LX & FCSH-UNL."— Presentation transcript:
Using monolingual and parallel corpora to teach English in Portugal Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA-LX & FCSH-UNL
What is a corpus*? compatible with specific corpus-browsing software digital format A large, principled collection of natural texts *plural = corpora
Two free, online corpora Simple search http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk Full BNC http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/ Simple and advanced search http://www.linguateca.pt/COMPARA/
The British National Corpus (BNC) ► 100 million words of general British English from the early nineties. ► 10% transcribed speech ► 90% written texts General English × New words (e.g. landline)
COMPARA ► Only one genre fiction ► A lot smaller than the BNC 3 million words ► Two languages Portuguese + English PT-EN equivalents × Words unlikely to be found in fiction: (e.g. paradigmatic)
Two ways of using corpora in ELT 1. Use ready-made, corpus-based materials 2. Use corpora directly
Using corpora directly To improve your own English To prepare tailor-made materials for your students To promote learner autonomy in the classroom
► Dictionaries ► Grammars ► Ask a native speaker Native speakers aren’t always available Can’t always explain how language is used Sometimes disagree about what is right and what is wrong ► Ask a corpus What do you do when you are not sure about how to say or write something in English?
What happens when you query a corpus? ► Access to how the people whose words are registered in the corpus have actually used the language ► It’s like asking native speakers to answer a question about language use Without them having to think about it Without you having to bother them
This means... ► Access to empirical evidence of how dozens or hundreds of speakers used the language Results are quantifiable Reach your own conclusions E.g. (O’Keefe et al 2007:101) He isn’t coming X He’s not coming John isn’t coming X John’s not coming ► Replaces native-speaker intuition and... ►...helps to place native & non-native teachers on equal terms (Aston 2007)
?In what concerns.... For example... ?Very many people... Dictionaries?Grammars? Native speakers?
Using the BNC to check what you’re not sure In what concerns
Why not just use Google instead? ► No control over provenance Anyone can publish anything on Web 2.0 Useful information A load of rubbish & ungrammatical English ► No control over frequencies Lots of replicated pages Here you see it, here you don’t Metalanguage like “click”, “back”, “shopping cart” ► No control over top results Paid, sponsored links ► Output not very enlightening Snippets ► No linguistic annotation book (V) vs. book (N) do, does, did, done
Corpora are better adapted ► Control provenance You know exactly what your sources are Mistakes are limited ► BNC: native British ► COMPARA: native Portuguese, English + professional, published translations by native speakers ► Control frequencies No replicated texts Texts don’t disappear Metalanguage not an issue ► Control top results Frequency or alphabetical ► Output more informative Concordances, frequency lists and collocations rather than snippets ► Linguistic annotation Part-of-speech tagging: book (V) vs. book (N) Lemmatization: do, does, did, done
► Photocopy exercises from another textbook ► Download exercises from ELT sites General exercises for an anonymous (or different) public ► Prepare your own exercises Too much work, too little time ► Use a corpus to create tailor-made exercises for your students What do you do when your students need extra grammar and vocabulary exercises outside their regular textbook?
What happens when you use a corpus prepare materials for your students? ► Don’t rack your brains to think of good language examples ► Don’t read through long texts for inspiration ► Find lots of stimulating examples at a click of your mouse ► Use authentic words that native speakers have used Real English can be more thought-provoking and memorable than bland, “exercise-book English” ► Don’t spend long hours typing out handouts for your students ► Cut and paste corpus output onto a word processor
Using corpora in language reception Textbook dialogue (Jones 2005:10) PASSENGERI was wondering, er… could I have a smoking seat? CHECK-IN CLERKI'm afraid this is a non-smoking flight, sir. Would you prefer an aisle or a window seat? PASSENGERErm, well, I'm not sure. You see, it's the first time I've flown and I, well, I'm feeling a bit uneasy about it.
Using the BNC to consolidate new vocabulary aisle
Concordances for aisle ► ► Authentic sentences with aisle in all sorts of contexts ► ► Not bland, exercise-book English Meaningful, memorable, thought-provoking examples ► ► A word of caution Language that is too difficult Rude language Sensitive language, inappropriate for the classroom Even a few mistakes (that native speakers make) ► ► Use only what you judge is suitable for your students ► ► (see example 1 in handout)
Using the BNC to consolidate new grammar It is the first time
Concordances for it is the first time Again, your results may contain difficult, rude, innapropriate language & mistakes Select what you judge is suitable for your students (see example 2 in handout)
Using COMPARA to distinguish between easily confused words segurança securitysafety
Using COMPARA to distinguish between easily confused words segurança
Parallel concordances for segurança Select what you judge is suitable for your students (see example 3 in handout)
Using corpora in language production Let’s talk about about Christmas! But let’s practise some new vocabulary as well...
Using the BNC to brainstorm vocabulary christmas *
Using corpora in language correction *She is married with a Frenchman
Part-of-speech queries in the BNC married [pr*]
Prepostions after married (see example 5 in handout)
Using corpora in language testing Test specific vocabulary: safety or security?
Using the BNC to focus on alternate terms safety|security
BNC concordances for security & safety (see example 6 in handout)
Final remarks Many different ways of using corpora creatively to teach English in Portugal Corpora can help you with questions that are not dealt with by dictionaries and grammars create tailor-made exercises for Portuguese learners of English Monolingual and parallel corpora have non-conflicting, complementary roles to play (Frankenberg-Garcia 2004, 2005)