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Popularising corpus consultation by language learners and teachers

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Chapter Summary

Summarising the progress in relation to the use of corpora in language learning made between the first TaLC conference in 1994 and the time of writing their article, McEnery and Wilson (1997: 5) use the term ‘percolation’ to describe how the exploitation of corpora has progressed from the domain of research to that of teaching. This paper focuses on corpus consultation by learners, examining the main publications relating to learner access to corpora since the early nineteen-nineties. The features common to these studies are examined with a view to identifying which aspects facilitate the popularisation of the activity. Aspects studied include languages, levels of study, corpus resources, types of corpus consultation, and the learners’ evaluation of the activity. The results reveal that consultation of corpora by learners appears to be increasing in higher education. They also show that some but not all of those active in this area create custom-made corpora of familiar texts rather than use the ready-made corpora which are available. Learner evaluations reveal positive reactions to the activity, as well as highlighting a number of important obstacles.



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