Construction and use of thematic corpora by Academic English learners

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


In Smith (2011), the author demonstrated that university students learning English in Taiwan engage more effectively with a specialist corpus consultation task when it is they (the students) who have constructed the corpora; that is, when analysis of the corpus product is preceded by a construction process. A qualitative evaluation found that the construction of corpora in students’ own majors was particularly likely to lead to acquisition of forms, especially specialist vocabulary. This work was followed up with a small-scale study of Chinese accounting and finance majors, in an EAP setting, at Coventry University (Smith 2015). These students used lecture slides and other materials provided by subject tutors on the course VLE (Moodle), to build small, themed corpora on module topics such as International Finance or Management Accounting (in the manner of Aston, 2002). They then used the Sketch Engine to bootstrap larger corpora from the web, via a process of selecting and validating keywords from their VLE corpora. In the present research, a larger group of accounting and finance students are using similar VLE derived corpora to construct a different kind of object: a technical vocabulary portfolio. Learners consider the vocabulary that matters to them, and gather together information and example usages in their own personal portfolio which they maintain in the cloud, for use in and out of class.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTask Design & CALL Proceedings
EditorsJozef Colpaert, Ann Aerts, Margret Oberhofer, Mar Gutiérez-Colón Plana
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventTask Design & CALL - Tarragona, Spain
Duration: 6 Jul 20158 Jul 2015


ConferenceTask Design & CALL

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