Data-Driven Learning and Authentic Materials in the Language Classroom

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Computers and multimedia technologies have had a significant impact on language learning. On a theoretical level, language learning is regarded as a process which needs to be supported by authentic materials and authentic tasks or learning contexts. Working from authentic texts and real-world materials as well as working on grammar and vocabulary from contexts lists rather than on the basis rule-driven approaches is seen as more effective than traditional scenarios for language learning. Concordance lists and corpus samples are seen as very important in language learning as they expose learners to samples of the kinds of language use that they will encounter in real life situations. In addition, authoring tools such as LingoFox, which process digital text into materials for language learning, have reached a very high level of sophistication. In this seminar we shall look at the basic principles of corpus linguistics and its computer tools. We shall also look at different kinds of corpora and authoring tools, and consider the potential of such tools for assisting teachers in their efforts to integrate authentic texts into language learning.

Access to the CL-Wiki

This is the direct link into the CL-Wiki with access to session-specific materials and student contribution.

>>> Access Seminar Plan and CL-wiki>>>

>>>>>>>>> This is where you find space for your group's presentation on language work with DDL-materials.

>>>>>>>>> In the table of content, simply go to the session "18.01.10 - Designing corpus based DDL tasks"

>>> Linguistic context >>>

In addition, you will find further resources and background materials on the current page. Check table of contents above.


Useful Links: Corpus Linguistics

Background reading:

Some background reading:

  • Extract: Tony McEnery & Andrew Wilson (1996).
  • Extract: Douglas Biber, Susan Conrad & Randi Reppen (2002).
  • Extract: Susan Hunston (2002).

These texts can be accessed via Moodle.

Online Corpora & Web-Concordancers:

The British National Corpus (BNC) is a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent a wide cross-section of current British English, both spoken and written.

The Collins Cobuild Bank of English: The Bank of English® (part of the Collins Word Web) is a collection of modern English language held on computer for analysis of words, meanings, grammar and usage. The corpus contains 524 million words and it continues to grow with the constant addition of new material. Direct link into the SAMPLE ACCESS

Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE)The English Language Institute of the University of Michigan.

Variation in English Words & Phrases: a website which allows you to quickly and easily search for a wide range of words and phrases of English. One unique aspect of the corpus is the ability to find the frequency of words and phrases in any combination of registers that you define (spoken, academic, poetry, medical, etc).

Web Concordancer (English): An online concordancer which can use one of several different corpora. Try "LOB Corpus" (British English) or "Brown Corpus" (American English) to start.

Business Letter Corpus using Online KWIC Concordancer: an online concordancer which lets you search a one-million-word Business Letter Corpus (BLC2000) and returns the search result in the KWIC format.

Search PICLE and other corpora with a PERL concordancer


General Resources on Corpus Linguistics

Corpora4Learning: This website provides links and references for the use of corpora, corpus linguistics and corpus analysis in the context of language learning and teaching

Corpus Linguistics De:The website provides annotated reference system to find everything related to Corpus Linguistics available on the Internet

Concordances on the Web: The Word Sketch Engine is above all a new Corpus Query System incorporating word sketches, grammatical relations, and a distributional thesaurus.

The Lancaster Course on Corpus Linguistics:


Useful Links: Online Texts

Project Gutenberg

The Oxford Text Archive


Useful Links: DDL-Resources

Interactive concordancing with a specialist corpus

Exploring Academic English: A Workbook for Student Essay Writing

Learning and Teaching through Context - A Data-driven Approach

Samples for the use of concordancing

Data-Driven Learning (DDL): the idea



Concordancing in Language Learning

LEXTUTOR: explore resource-linked Word Lists

LEXTUTOR. homepage

B. Kettemann: Concordancing in English Language Teaching



AskOxford: How dictionaries are made