Corpus-based pedagogy

A large collection of texts or other samples of naturally occurring language – for example, a collection of newspaper articles across several decades or a collection of informal conversations – is known as a corpus. Language teachers, students and developers of teaching materials may access a corpus to obtain authentic linguistic data and devise corpus-based tasks for teaching and learning. Corpus-based pedagogy has received attention in recent years as a result of advances in computing science that facilitate extraction of information from a corpus – for example, to find out how certain words are used. Learners can access online corpora with or without the help of their teachers, and they can analyse their own use of language by comparing their linguistic choices with the patterns and structures retrieved from a corpus. The retrieval and analysis of language use in context thus provides learners with a research-based understanding of language forms and functions. The corpus-based approach can be applied in many areas including learning languages for specific purposes, teaching text analysis, support for writing in a particular genre, and scrutiny of existing textbooks to discover their features and to suggest improvements. It can also enable comparisons between word usage or concepts in different languages to help develop cultural awareness. Researchers maintain that there is a need for more corpora that are accessible, diverse and adaptable for language instruction.

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