Samuel Pealing

      Hi everyone – I’ve really enjoyed the course, and I feel really bad that I couldn’t go through it at the same pace as everyone else. This section has really given me a bit of inspiration to look for language patterns and how this can be exploited in the corpus. In the past, I’ve really only used corpora for single word searches and finding collocations, but CQL can really open new doors.

      There are several areas that I find EAP students find challenging, and some of these are:

      • complex noun phrases
      • citation structures
      • passive voice
      • evaluation structures (e.g. this seems to…)
      • Hedging

      I decided to go with the first one – complex noun phrases – and explore a specific part of that: the relative clause.

      I wanted to search for ‘noun + relative clause’, so I searched for: [tag=”N.*”] [word=”who|that|which|when|where”]. I couldn’t find a tag for this, so I used the ‘word’ function. This gave me results like: ‘idea that’ and ‘people who’.

      I took this a step further by adding variations before the noun, such as adjective, noun and cardinal numbers (MC). I also tried combining all three of these together with the ‘pipe’, which looked like this [tag=”AT.*”] [tag=”J.*|N.*|MC.*”] [tag=”N.*”] [word=”who|that|which|when|where”], but I felt that this gave too many results, and it would be better to just focus on one of variation: [tag=”AT.*”] [tag=”J.*”] [tag=”N.*”] [word=”who|that|which|when|where”].

      From here, we could look at certain aspects of the structure such as:

      • what comes after the relative pronoun?
      • when is a/the used?
      • which relative pronoun is most frequent?
      • which nouns use which relative pronouns?
      • what does the relative clause add?

      This could lead into gap fill activities such as choosing the most appropriate relative pronoun or adding information after the relative pronoun.


      Here is a link to my final search (I only used the social sciences database).