EAP Knowledgebase

corpus reading 3

Krishnamurthy, R., & Kosem, I. (2007). Issues in creating a corpus for EAP pedagogy and research. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 6(4), 356–373.

This article traces the increasing use of corpora in EAP classrooms and finishes by describing what the most useful kind of corpus for this kind of teaching would be like. Both the interface of the tool for analysis and the structure of the corpus itself are considered.

The motivations for using corpus-based approaches:

  1. DDL
  2. discovery rather than repetition of standard examples.
  3. learner autonomy

Academic discourse has always been included in more general corpora.

Issues in making an academic corpus.

Is it just general. Or divided in some way by subjects. The question is how to make the classifications of discipline.

Then classifications of genre are also arguable. The written ones may come from university assignment tasks or ielts writing questions. A classification of academic speech events is also provided (quoting the MICASE Manual).

Problems of processing the texts. Some corpora place restrictions on the types that can be submitted. Some strip out parts – references and quotations. But this may make the text less authentic.

Classification of level. Some corpora take only staff writing and PhD theses, others only from the fourth year students.

The collection of lower-grade texts would be useful for teachers looking for problem areas to address.

Mentions the sketch engine software as “more research-oriented than pedagogic”.

In the early days all corpus software was called “concordancer” and concordancers are well suited to the classroom because that’s a simple function. The current tools require a complicated query language.

Gives a favourable mention to the BYU interface “Mark Davies’s View interface”.

The writers would like one big corpus covering all the categories. Lots of different disciplines and lots of different levels.