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Instead, discovery learning as described by Bernardini b values and attempts to optimize exposure to authentic language data, in the course of open-ended information-gap activities that provide the bases for collaborative assignments such as academic articles or mock-conference presentations. This approach appears to be potentially well-suited for translator education, for reasons that can only briefly be summarized here.

First, being open-ended and self-directed, discovery learning activities are inherently learner-centred, favouring autonomy and having substantial transfer potential, as students practice and develop routines for analyzing corpus data that will no doubt also come in handy in their profession.

While autonomy and learner-centredness are widely recognized as valuable in second language learning — at least since Nunan , they are especially important for learners at advanced levels, on their way to becoming language professionals. Many years of language instruction may have instilled in these learners the generally deceitful presumption that they do not require further language input; at the same time, they make it difficult for teachers to identify common areas that all students in a class need to work on.

Second, discovery learning is an inductive process that is meant to favour the noticing Schmidt, of patterns, i. Nor can they afford to ignore the ways in which the context of situation and context of culture affect such patternings Halliday and Mathiessen, Register- and genre-specific corpora are ideal resources to factor in the contextual dimension. By working in teams for the solution of open-ended linguistic problems including the collection of data, the drafting of report and the delivery of presentations , a social context is created in which learning can take place and at the same time collaborative working methods can develop.


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Implementing truly communicative foreign language instruction in translator education programmes would be an excellent first step towards turning translator education into a practice-oriented enterprise. It would encourage students to begin taking responsibility for their own learning […] [i]t would help create a spirit of community within the institution and break the mould of the transmissionist model of teaching, with students no longer being treated like empty vessels that need to be filled with knowledge.

Before moving on to corpus-based discovery learning activities that could contribute to making translator education more practiceoriented, let us briefly appraise the current situation. Much could be said in support of this view, but expounding on it would take us too far afield the interested reader can find insightful reflections and teaching suggestions in the various CULT proceedings volumes, e. Beeby et al, If we agree that translators need to use corpora, then translation students need to learn to use corpora. This approach appears to be rather mainstream - and very promising.

In terms of the EMT competence framework EMT expert group , corpus work of this kind could indeed contribute to the development of three of the six recommended competences, i. I will provide a short example of a teaching scenario that I believe is rather representative of this approach. The assumption is that students learn the technical and methodological skills needed in the Translation methods and technology course, and then apply them to actual translation tasks in the Specialized translation courses. A typical set of activities carried out across the two courses could involve first of all building a bilingual corpus for the simulation of a terminology or translation task requiring, among others, decisions on criteria for text selection, evaluation of sources, file format and metadata , and extracting typical terms and phrases requiring technical and methodological know-how in using a corpus query tool and the ability to search for and interpret data — devising queries, sorting results, detecting patterns, discarding noise and so forth.

These activities would be coherent with the instrumental orientation of a learning activity focusing on methods and technology for translators. Within a specialized translation course one could then shift the focus back to understanding and producing texts, putting to good use the knowledge and skills previously honed. Introducing corpora to future translators within learning activities with a clear professional orientation may be the most obvious choice for lecturers won to the cause, but it is not necessarily the best choice for learners who still need to be convinced of the return on investment.

They require an academic orientation. Most second cycle degree courses in translation that I am familiar with cover, along with the more professionally-oriented subjects, such as specialized translation and translation technology, other subjects that are meant to fine-tune two other competences recognized by the EMT expert group, namely language and intercultural competences EMT expert group Even though the teaching of language s and linguistics to translation students is inherently different from general language teaching, even at advanced levels Bernardini, b, Kiraly, , traditionally it has not been focused upon in the literature on translator education.

The question then is, how can activities of corpus building and use be employed in language and linguistics courses to favour the acquisition of language competence of the sort needed by translators, and the development of sociolinguistic and textual competences founded on intercultural awareness? In the remainder of this section I will describe my own attempt at answering this question.

The course had two parts, the first more theoretical and teachercentered, in which I introduced the building blocks of systemicfunctional linguistics SFL applied to the English language, 3 and the second more practical and project-centred, in which students in teams were asked to carry out an original piece of corpusbased research.

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More specifically, they were to focus on native vs. In corpus terms, the perspective to be adopted was monolingual comparable. There were 13 groups in two classes, ranging in size from 3 to 5 members. Each group chose a name and a logo for themselves. The topics and text types each group ended up working on for their projects are listed in Table 2.


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While it was not always possible to find evidence in one sense or the other, the students were sensitized to the issue and asked to make a hypothesis, try to dis confirm it, and argue for it. Notwithstanding the uncertainty of the outcome, it seems important for students of translation to be aware of and reflect on the more and more blurred dividing line between the two types of communication. The uncorrected abstract in Table 3 below, by the Wallaby group, is quite representative of the kind of corpus work the students carried out for their projects and the insights they gained.

Table of contents

Nominalization and web texts: A comparative analysis of native and non-native food company websites. Nowadays, English is considered the lingua franca of the web and many Italian food companies have their web page translated into English in order to communicate to the widest possible public. Nominalization is very common in Italian and may be transferred in English translations of such texts.

However, previous work Hervey et al. How nominalizing affects the features of a specific genre and register has not been thoroughly investigated yet. The study was based on two corpora: 25 native texts and 25 translated texts. All occurrences were counted in both corpora. Nominalization was found to be exploited to a greater extent in translated texts.

This is probably due to how translators calque nominalization when translating from Italian into English. On the basis of these results, we can conclude that nominalization affects the structure and readability of a genre such as the web text, which differs from conventional writing in length, perception and purpose.

This research intends to be a useful resource for translators from Italian into English. It might also be a starting point for further studies of ELF website texts, particularly the ones that have been translated from Italian. If we were to evaluate this piece of academic research writing in terms of scientific soundness and argumentative rigour and elegance, we could point out several flaws.

Yet the objective of the course is not that of producing accurate linguistic descriptions based on corpora; rather, it is to create a learning setting in which students are motivated to explore corpora on their own terms, with scaffolding as required. As can be gleaned from the abstract, these students had first of all to come up with a linguistic issue that could be problematic for translators from Italian into English combing the literature and reflecting on their own experience ; they then had to agree among themselves on corpus construction parameters and evaluate single specimens for inclusion; once the corpus was in place, they had to search for ways of identifying nominalizations in corpora; and once the data had been obtained, they had to normalize them and evaluate the statistical significance of the difference observed.

Selected papers on theoretical and applied linguistics

By downplaying the importance of finding solutions quickly and easily, and instead opening up a space for deeper and more leisurely exploration of corpus data, project-based discovery learning activities of this kind can provide a suitable growing environment for those skills and competences that students and future translators need if they are to use corpora to their advantage , but that have so far proved difficult to develop within translation practice or technology courses. While I firmly believe that this type of corpus work is indispensable for future translators, there is no denying the many challenges it raises.

Ellis, R. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

e-book Corpora and Language Education (Research and Practice in Applied Linguistics)

Gabrielatos, C. Corpora and language teaching: Just a fling or wedding bells? Gross, M. Hubbard, P. Exploring the impact of technology implementations on theories and models of language learning. Cyprus: University of Nicosia Press. Johns, T. From printout to handout: Grammar and vocabulary teaching in the context of data-driven learning.

English Language Research Journal 4: Kakoyianni-Doa, F. Radimsky ed. Leech, G. Corpora and theories of linguistic performance. Svartvik ed. Proceedings of Nobel Symposium 82 Stockholm, August Mouton de Gruyter: Berlin-New York, Grammars of spoken English: New outcomes of corpus oriented research. Language Learning 50 4 : Mishan, F.. Authenticating corpora for language learning: A problem and its resolution. ELT Journal 58 3 : Molinier C.

Grammaire des adverbes. Description des formes en —ment.


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Nunan, D.