Making English Real Anna Gates

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Making English Real Anna Gates

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Making English Real Anna Gates

  1. 1. MAKING ENGLISH REAL: THE USE OF CORPUS DATA ANDTECHNIQUES INTHE ECUADORIAN CLASSROOM Anna M. Gates UniversidadTécnica Particular de Loja
  2. 2. Welcome to the world of corpora  Activity 1 (20 minutes)  Instructions Part 1 (10 minutes) Read the first page of your packet  Superfoods: ProtectYour Body by Eating Right Highlight the target word Group 1: Food Group 2: Like Group 3: May Group 4:Veggies Group 5: Family Group 6: Which
  3. 3. Part 2 Instructions Write concordance lines on board (5 minutes) What can we notice about the target word or the other words around it?
  4. 4. Let’s explore the world of corpora  What are corpora?  Collections or databases of language  What are Concordance lines? Today we are going to focus on English Language Corpora and how to take advantage of the wealth of information in our own classrooms
  5. 5. Reading concordance lines  Concordance lines indiscriminately include some number of words before the main word and some number of words after.  This means there are often incomplete sentences  However, the general idea can be understood  Students need to note where the action takes place or what the situation is
  6. 6. Let’s look at….Hire  experts recommend that new co-ops hire paid staff. Professionally run stores  I'm going to hire people to market across the country.  to frighten companies who hire undocumented workers.  In some cases, caregivers hire home health aides or support staff  information about fire closures. Hire Big Sur Hiking Guides,  has a new dilemma:Who will he hire to maximize Rose?  coach K, who turned out to be a sharp hire after hoops insiders
  7. 7. Revolution of corpus linguistics in the past 25 years  Yesterday’s corpora  Survey of English Usage (early 1960’s)  Brown Corpus (1964)  Lancaster-Oslo- Bergen (1978)  Today’s corpora  COBUILD  British National Corpus One million words Over 250 million words
  8. 8. What can corpora tell us about English?  Frequency of words What is the most frequent word in the English language? The Why would we care to know what the most frequent words in English are?
  9. 9. The meanings of bet  As we know, the same word often has more than one meaning. Corpora can help use know what meaning of a word is most frequently used  For example: bet (13,648 hits)  To gamble: as in “he bet $1 on the game” (fewer than 100)  A supposition: “I bet that you and your family are happy” (172)  An option: as in “our best bet is to use our voice” (724 hits)
  10. 10. How textbooks treat vocabulary  Diana was surprised when the dinner guests appeared an hour early.  The meaning is to be or become physically present  Terribly urgent, a phrase presented in a basic level Textbooks often misrepresent the most important uses of words, or the most important words to use
  11. 11. How textbooks treat vocabulary  Concordance lines for appeared  Less than 62% of the examples use the same meaning as the text.  The other significant meaning is to indicate a probability.  Terribly urgent only appears 5 times in a 37 million word corpus. Corpora help us see how native English speakers most often use the words
  12. 12. Contexts of words  In addition to finding out the most common meanings of words, corpora can help us know under what situations the words are most commonly used.  For example  “Break out” Let’s look at this in a corpus
  13. 13. Making the learning of words meaningful  The activity we have just completed demanded observation and critical thinking, two essential skills that good teachers will develop in their students  Students will be unlikely to forget the meanings and context of the word when it is actively learned.
  14. 14. Gender in English?  As we know, the English language doesn’t have a gender consideration in its syntax, however there are some words that are more commonly used when talking about women (or men) that wouldn’t be used with the other sex.  Can you think of any?  A corpus can help us.
  15. 15. Gender in English?  Let’s consider the word “taciturn”. This means habitually silent, reserved, or uncommunicative . Do you think that it is most often used when describing men or women?  Let’s look at the corpus  8 of 31 unsure of the sex of the people referred to meaning 75% of the use of the word is with men and 25% of the time doesn’t provide enough information to know for sure.
  16. 16. Are we teaching real English grammar?  Corpus evidence shows that much of the grammar typically taught from textbooks is not as relevant in “real life” communication as they lead us to believe.  For example, reported speech.  Typical textbook example:  “I’m coming to see you tomorrow”  Reported speech: “He said he was coming to see me tomorrow”  In actual usage:  “He said he`s coming to see me tomorrow”  “He said he’d come tomorrow” Textbook grammar shouldn’t be discarded, but it should be complemented by real usage examples based on corpus evidence
  17. 17. The fine art of collocation  Collocation is the typical groupings of words, or words that tend to go together  Learning these will make the EFL students’ production more natural.  When there are similar expressions in Spanish and English, L1 interference is common.  Examples from advanced Ecuadorian speakers of English  “Discuss about”  “Catch attention”  Use of “do” and “make”
  18. 18. What to look for:Working with students and concordance lines  Part of speech of the word(s) that precedes or follows a particular word.  Let’s look at the word Grow  What can you tell me about this word?
  19. 19. No computers in class? No problem  Using concordance activities is recommended at all levels.  Before attempting to use concordance lines in class, it is important that:  The students have a good learner dictionary  You teach them how to read concordance lines  You teach them how to write their own concordance lines
  20. 20. First activity  Identify some aspect of the language students are studying in their textbook (vocabulary or grammar).  Locate an authentic reading source that contains several instances of the word or grammatical structure, ideally this should have been previously read for communicative purposes  Ask students to reread the material, but have them highlight the focus word or structure  In groups ask them to write concordance lines for all of the occasions in which the word was found  Ask them to identify all the examples that have the same meaning and use as they have studied in their textbook  Ask them to guess the meaning, part of speech of example that don’t seem to have the same meaning
  21. 21. Useful websites  Ananova  http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_105441.ht ml  Corpus of American English  http://www.americancorpus.org/  The Free Dictionary  http://www.thefreedictionary.com  Tower of English  http://towerofenglish.com/literacynetcnnsfarchives.h tml
  22. 22. References  Fox, G. (2008). Using corpus data in the classroom. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Materials development in language teaching (pp. 25-43). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press  Haugnes, N. & Maher B. (2004). NorthStar reading and writing. NewYork: Pearson Education  Willis, J. (2008). Concordances in the classroom without a computer: Assembling and exploiting concordances of common words. In B.Tomlinson (Ed.), Materials development in language teaching (pp. 44-66). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  23. 23. agates@utpl.edu.ec

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