Jamie Sullivan

    Did any of the statistical/linguistic information you learnt about the text surprise you?
    It is clear from the analysis of the text that some corpus tools provide greater insight than others. For example, the ‘Oxford 3000’ word list provided analysis of a far broader range of words than the ‘OPAL written words’ equivalent of the same text, identifying the use of more complex higher order academic vocabulary. This could then be utilised for identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses in terms of the application and scope of student’s writing.

    Do you think doing a similar activity with your students would be helpful/useful to them? Why/why not?
    I have used a similar approach in conjunction with the BNC in previous EAP lessons and the activity worked quite well. In retrospect it worked for a number of reasons such as:

    • It may allow students to see the practical value of corpus tools in relation to their particular discipline
    • It could provide an insight into the learner’s application of the language rather than focusing on the correct form etc. which would be particularly useful when analysing student’s draft assignments for example
    • I think my students would benefit from using a corpus tool such as Flax to increase depth around collocations
    • Similarly I think a corpus tool like WebCorp would also be beneficial in identifying over-reliance on specific terms or other errors
    • Students can use the various corpus tools themselves thereby fostering student autonomy