Calls for Papers

In addition to the burst of recent research articles, there are a couple journals putting out CfPs for corpora-related topics.

JCADS is the Journal of Corpora & Discourse Studies. It’s new and will be publishing its first issue in the summer of 2018. The prior link is to the CfP posted on Facebook, submission info is here.

Études en Didactique des Langues (EDL) will publish a special issue on didactic (instructional) uses of corpora. The link is to a French-language page, but if you don’t read French, don’t worry, you can find a PDF of the CfP in both French and English in the list of documents. If you have trouble figuring out which document it is, the date on the document is 17/09/2017.


And finally, not a corpus-related issue, but an interesting (to me) special issue nonetheless, The Language Learning Journal put out a CfP for an issue focusing on the use of video and other audio-visual material.

 

 

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A smorgasboard of DDL journal activity

Last month, in addition to the release of new corpora, two journals released special issues dedicated to DDL/CL in language learning.

One is the open-access Language Learning & Technology. I haven’t read it yet, but the table of contents looks very interesting. The other one is Language Testing. It’s interesting to see how CL and questions of assessment interact.

Finally, though not a whole dedicated issue, ReCALL has an online first article titled ‘Unlearning overgenerated be through data-driven learning in the secondary EFL classroom’. This will be the first article I get to, as overgenerated be is a recurring issue for many of my students and I’m curious to see what the authors found.

What bounty 🙂


UPDATE

If the ReCALL link above isn’t working for you, here is the doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0958344017000246

 

 

Spoken BNC2014 & EFCAMDAT

Two large, open-access* corpora have recently been released.

Go here to learn about and get access to the Spoken BNC2014, and go here to learn about and get access to the EF-Cambridge Open Language Database (EFCAMDAT). EFCAMDAT is a learner corpus featuring essays from adult learners of English around the world, and this is its second, bigger release. Spoken BNC2014 is brand new (to the public), and, as you may very well be aware, is being described as “the largest ever public collection of transcribed British conversations“.

I don’t have anything too special to say. These both look like terrific resources. I think all who are interested should check them out.


*with registration

Sounds odd (unintentionally literal)

Yesterday I wrote that the expression “achieve a breakthrough” sounded odd to me, and I much prefer the more frequent “make a breakthrough”.

“Achieve a breakthrough” is, however, a robust collocation (after MAKE, ACHIEVE is the most frequent lemma with “a breakthrough” in COCA; and it has a high MI score). So why did it sound so odd to me? Have I somehow just not encountered it much? Well, maybe sorta.

In the COCA data, any form of ACHIEVE occurs immediately to the left of “a breakthrough” 24 times, while any form of MAKE in that position occurs 65 times, a ratio of about 1:3. COCA provides register/context information in its KWIC displays, and this info showed me that of ACHIEVE’s 24 occurrences, 2 were in spoken contexts (a little over 8%), while 18 of 65 MAKE hits were spoken (a little under 28%). So, the ratio in spoken contexts is 1:9. Alternatively, in non-spoken contexts the ratio is about 1:2.

IMG_0237

I was in a speaking/listening skills oriented class, and we were talking about “achieve a breakthrough”. Perhaps the expression sounded odd to me because it’s not an expression I hear much, even if it would be unremarkable to me in a written context. That is, perhaps it is primarily an expression of written English, but not spoken, and thus it struck me as out of place or something.

I don’t actually think COCA is the best source of data about spoken English, but this sort of thing could be explored in other, maybe more suitable corpora.

Title note: when I said it sounded odd to me, I meant in a broad sense it seemed odd to me. Now I realize I may have unintentionally described how it really, literally, sounded odd to me.

 

 

________ a breakthrough

What is the first word that comes to mind to fill the blank in this post’s title?

If you’re like me, then it’s “make”. Obviously it doesn’t have to be “make”, but that’s what came to my mind.

We are at the beginning of our Autumn term here, and in chapter 1 of the coursebook there were a few vocabulary/collocation activities. Among them were these patterns:

  • _________ progress / a sacrifice / a profit
  • _________ your ambition / success / a breakthrough

The students had a bank of words to choose from to fill in the blanks, and this bank included make and achieve. Now, looking at the sets of words, it’s clear that make goes with progress / a sacrifice / a profit, while achieve goes with your ambition / success / a breakthrough.

However, “achieve a breakthrough” sounded a little odd to my ears. Not wrong. Odd. One of the pitfalls of constructing a collocation specifically for course/textbook purposes is that it often ignores other, more ‘natural’ collocations; and in this case actually ignored a verb that was in the exercise: “make”! A look at the top hits for “VERB a breakthrough” in COCA:

verb-bt

So, “made” and “make” are the top hits (by far), and then “achieve” in the 3rd spot. Now, of course “achieve a breakthrough” is fine and acceptable, and clearly attested in the data, but why would one teach that collocation without teaching “make a breakthrough” first (or as well)?

Anyway, I was going to wait a couple weeks before I introduced some corpus activities in class, but I decided this was a fine time to introduce and demonstrate a very basic use of a corpus. The two sections using this particular coursebook are relatively high level, and I was pleased to notice some students quite quickly grasping (through their asking of questions about what they were seeing) that corpora offer information about the target language that they wouldn’t get in a dictionary/grammar, and certainly not in their coursebook.

Call for Contributions: New Ways in Teaching With Corpora (deadline: September 3rd)

This seems to keep getting delayed / postponed. Perhaps not enough submissions? Perhaps not enough appropriate submissions. I don’t know. But if you were thinking of writing something, but got too busy or didn’t finish in time, then Good News, the new deadline is September 3rd.

http://www.tesol.org/read-and-publish/information-for-authors/call-for-contributions-new-ways-in-teaching-with-corpora

Call for Contributions: New Ways in Teaching With Corpora

TESOL International Association is seeking submissions for a volume about classroom applications of corpora.

They are looking for straightforward, practical things that can be done with corpora.

I think the deadline was originally in the middle of May, but it seems to have been extended to July 15.

Check out the link above for more info about what kinds of submissions are appropriate and how to submit.