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Using Corpus-Based References to Guide Editing and Revision in L2 Writing Jan Frodesen TESOL 2007 Seattle, Washington.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Corpus-Based References to Guide Editing and Revision in L2 Writing Jan Frodesen TESOL 2007 Seattle, Washington."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Corpus-Based References to Guide Editing and Revision in L2 Writing Jan Frodesen TESOL 2007 Seattle, Washington

2 Benefits of Using Corpus-based References (CBRs) CBRs offer authentic text examples from a variety of genres. CBRs integrate grammar and vocabulary learning by presenting common patterns (e.g., collocations, chunks). CBRs promote inductive learning through noticing and discovery. Writers can compare patterns of language use in their own texts to patterns produced by native speakers. In developing materials, instructors can discover patterns they are not aware of or may not have thought of otherwise!

3 Challenges of Using CBRs for L2 Writing Instruction Authentic examples may be too complex. Data shown may not be pedagogically relevant. Students can get overwhelmed by “raw data” (e.g., long concordance strings with insufficient context). Some available exercises based on CBRs either too complex or too simple for levels of your students. Available exercises may not be directly related to your students’ writing tasks or needs. Creating materials can be time-consuming for teachers.

4 Addressing Challenges In general: Guide students’ use of CBRs through tutorials, exercises and/or adaptation of data. Specific Steps: Identify common error patterns (grammatical, lexical, lexico-grammatical) in academic writing for your student population in general or a class. Respond to questions your students raise about grammar or vocabulary as they work on drafts.

5 Addressing Challenges, cont. Consider what areas of grammar and vocabulary are best explored by students through CBRs (e.g., article usage, prepositions in phrases commonly used for academic writing, word forms, adjective-noun collocations, syntactic structures after reporting verbs) Consider which kind of CBR (dictionary, collocations dictionary, concordancer) might be most appropriate

6 Example 1: Adapting an Exercise Source: Subject-verb agreement exercise in Tim Johns’ Virtual DDL Library Steps : Select examples that are most relevant meaningful for your students Delete surrounding text for focus Rewrite directions as needed


8 Adapted Exercise Concordancer SV Agreement Find the singular head noun in each of the following text examples and circle it. The first has been done as an example. 1) An eight man team of scientists is to make a lengthy tour 2) In a few rings one of the carbons is replaced by an atom of oxygen 3) The choice of species in tree plantings is also important. 4) The total number of people who will benefit from such drugs is unknown … 5) …the amount of energy an animal creates is independent of body mass Examples 1,2, 5, 10, 17 selected and adapted from exercise on Tim Johns’ website: Note: Could also select and leave strings in original form for visual effect of is verbs running vertically down the page

9 Grammar Focus: “most of + NP” (common error problem) Source: Concordance strings from Compleat Lexical Tutor Adaptation: Select examples to show most of + the + NP; reduce context as appropriate Example 2: Adapting a Concordance String


11 Adapted Concordance Examples: Most of + the + noun phrase 1. As expected, most of the activity was found …most of 2. … most of the actors are unknowns.most of 3. …they could have found most of the answers …most of 4. It spread to most of the audience …most of 5. It is hard not to lay most of the blame for their failures on the pope.most of 6. Most of the data used are from… Most of 7. Most of the emphasis has been placed on a wild party… Most of 8. Most of the impact energy is spent in crushing Most of 9. most of the information now available about the radio emission… most of 10. most of the other prizes, once offered to Pittsburgh … most of

12 Sample Questions for most of the + NPs examples 1. What word directly follows most of in each of the examples? 2. What are the head nouns in the most of phrases? List them. 3. Which head nouns are count nouns? 4. Which head nouns are noncount nouns?

13 Addressing Challenges, cont. Identify kinds of writing activities for which CBRs are useful for revision or editing  Addressing frequent problems in vocabulary or grammatical structures identified in content-based writing tasks  Revising student-written brief summaries (compiled)  Revising students’ paraphrases of source material (compiled examples of same source sentences)  Addressing error patterns in e-mail message assignments (e.g., Request to professor for appointment: “I am appreciate it if you…”)

14 Example of Content-Based Focus: Attitudes about Civil vs. Uncivil Behavior Grammar/vocabulary focus: Use of behave and behavior in describing uncivil behavior Draft Problems: Misuse of word forms; lacking appropriate or varied adjectives or adverbs to modify behave or behavior; inappropriate prepositions in prepositional phrases modifying behave and behavior CBR Sources: Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English, CANDLE Project TANGO concordancer

15 Behave & Behavior: Collocations Questions for Oxford Collocations Dictionary Entries (OHT) 1.What are five adjectives that could be used to describe inappropriate behavior? (undesirable, problem, aggressive, disruptive, violent, among others) 2. Of these words, choose one that would fit a context describing uncivil behavior in your draft. 3. What are five adverbs that could be used to describe people behaving badly in a situation? (disgracefully, outrageously, improperly, unreasonably, stupidly, among others) 4. Again, find a context in your draft in which you could use one of these adverbs. 5. What verbs describe the effects that others can have on behavior? (control, alter, change, influence, modify)





20 Behave in + NP modifiers Questions to guide TANGO text examples: Behave in + NP 1. What nouns follow behave in? List them. (way, manner, fashion) 2. Are these nouns count or noncount nouns? How do you know? (a, this) 3. What adjectives are used to describe these nouns? (proper, ridiculous, perilous and ridiculous) 4. What words from the Oxford Collocations dictionary could substitute for the adjectives in 1, 3?

21 Behave in + NP modifiers, cont. Behave in such… 1. Look at Instances 1, 2, and 19. What structure pattern do you see? (in such a way that…) 2. Look again at your draft about uncivil behavior on college campuses. Write a sentence using in such a way/manner that to describe a student or students’ behavior that was mentioned in one of your sources.

22 Writing Contexts: Revising Paraphrases Context: In a graduate writing class, students are reading selected paraphrases they have written. For one, the instructor suggests that a verb other than use might be better before knowledge in a paraphrase of get knowledge. CBR Source: TANGO Concordancer, CANDLE Project






28 Conclusions Corpus-based references can be rich resources for L2 composition materials development. As materials writers, we can help to bridge the gap between theory and research in applying research findings to the classroom. We need to find balance between frequency, difficulty and pedagogical relevance in selecting materials (Meunier, 2002). Most students need help in accessing and using CBRs: Select, adapt for students’ levels and needs, Corpus-based materials should complement but not replace other writing class activities Materials writing can be time-consuming! Needed: More sharing of corpus-based exercises and ideas for different levels/purposes?

29 References Bahns, J. (1993). Should we teach EFL students collocations? System 21.2, 101-114. Bernadini, S. (2004). Corpora in the classroom: An overview and some reflections on future developments. In J. Sinclair (Ed.), How to Use Corpora in Language Teaching (pp. 15-36). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Braun, S. (2005). From pedagogically relevant corpora to authentic language learning contents. ReCALL 17 (1), 47-64. Chan, T. & Liou, H.C. (2005). Effects of web-based concordancing instruction on EFL students’ learning of verb-noun collocations. Computer Assisted Language Learning 18.3, 231-250. Hadley, G. (2002). An introduction to data-driven learning. RELC Journal 33, 99-122.

30 References, 2 Johns, T. (1994). From printout to handout: Grammar and vocabulary teaching in the context of Data-Driven Learning. In T. Odlin (Ed.), Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar (pp. 293-313). Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. Kaur, J. & Hegelheimer, V. (2005). ESL students’ use of concordance in the transferof academic word knowledge: An exploratory study. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 18.4, 287-310. Lee, C.H, Lin, S.Y. & Liou, H.C. (2006). Learning product and process of how English learners as researchers actually produce with scaffolds of three web-based reference tools: Research with mixed methods. Proceedings of 2006 Int’l Conference and Workshop on TESFL and Applied Linguistics (pp. 204-212). Tapei: Crane. Liou, H.C. et al. (2006) Corpora processing and computational scaffolding for an innovative web-based English learning environment: The CANDLEproject. CALICO Journal 24.1.

31 References, 3 Meunier, F. (2002). The pedagogical value of native and learner corpora in EFL grammar teaching. In S. Granger, H. Hung and S. Petch-Tyson (Eds.,) Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching (pp. 119-141). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. Nesselhauf, N. (2003). The use of collocations by advanced learners of English and some implications for teaching. Applied Linguistics 24.2, 223-242. Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English (2002). Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Websites Tom Cobb’s Compleat Lexical Tutor: Corpora for Digital Learning of English (CANDLE): Tim Johns’ homepage:

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