Developing Teaching Materials with Authentic Data and Corpus Analysis Tools


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Developing Teaching Materials with Authentic Data and Corpus Analysis Tools

  1. 1. Developing Teaching Materials with Authentic Data and Corpus Analysis Tools Hongyin Tao University of California, Los Angeles
  2. 2. The Project  One of the National Resource Center projects at Penn State University  Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER), Penn State University  Supported by the US Department of Education 
  3. 3. Goals  This project is developing teaching materials for advanced learners based on a collection of authentic examples of contemporary spoken Chinese.  The materials will highlight some of the interactive aspects of spoken Chinese including features such as topic transition, assessments, repairs, linking, and acknowledgement.  In addition, the materials will be useful to teach grammar points, such as the use of the particle le, from a discourse perspective.
  4. 4. BACKGROUND  The vast majority of spoken language teaching materials available for learners of Chinese are either based on constructed sentences or on some assumed features of spoken language. Rarely do they rely on naturally occurring spoken language.  Discourse linguists, however, have shown that there are fundamental and systematic differences between written and spoken language. Hence, examining natural conversation offers important insights into the workings of spoken language.  Example: discourse analyses show that spoken Chinese tends to use a great deal of ellipses, verb-less constructions, discourse markers, formulations, backchannels, and so forth, which are much less frequently found in written discourse, and as a result are rarely made explicit in second language instruction.
  5. 5. ACTIVITIES (I): Research Database  Collection of conversational Mandarin Chinese: Over 60 hours; transcribed into 300,000 words.  The data come from speakers discussing readings, narrating stories based on past experience, talking to each other while playing games, talking about movies, talking on campus tours, conversing with each other at dinner parties, and talking while shopping at a farmers market, etc.
  6. 6. ACTIVITIES (II): Materials  A practical guide to selected features of natural spoken Chinese, which will highlight important interactive aspects of the spoken language and features of spoken grammar.  The materials are aimed at students who have had at least 300 hours of instruction in Chinese but will also be valuable for teachers who would like to use them with somewhat less advanced students.
  7. 7. ACTIVITIES (III): Other  Workshops: Intensive workshops have been conducted for (K-12 and college) teachers of Mandarin Chinese, informing about ways to improve language teaching with natural discourse data.  Software: Developed a suite of software tools called A Corpus Worker’s Toolkit (ACWT) for data processing and analysis.  Publications: Papers and Chinese Corpus Resource Guide.
  8. 8. Material Development and Use  Selection of segments from transcriptions based on genre types and linguistic and discourse pragmatic features;  Clean up transcription;  Use various text analysis computer programs to process the data.
  9. 9. Structural Features  conditionals; extended coordination; verbal classifiers; clause linking devices; inclusive and exclusive pronominals; complex interrogatives; ba constructions, bei constructions; aspect markers, syntactic constructions (e.g. verb complements), and relative clauses.
  10. 10. Discourse Pragmatic and Sociolinguistic Features  story opening; disagreement in strategic forms; topic transition; making and soliciting assessments; repairs; checking for clarification; linking discourse units; acknowledgement and response to the previous speaker; expressing personal emotions and stances; and evidential marking.
  11. 11. Use of Technology  Chinese annotation tools for code conversion, Romanization, etc.  Tokenization  Vocabulary/Word List  Concordance  Web/hyperlink presentation
  12. 12. Sample Online Materials
  13. 13. Summary  Highlight differences between spoken and written language and different types of communicative strategies;  Maximize learner (and teacher) exposure to real language use;  Exposure to the ‘current’ state of the target language.  Emphasize both linguistic and pragmatic competences;  Emphasize both language and cultural knowledge.