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01.Concordances in the Classroom
02.Learning with Corpora
03.Teaching and Learning in Real Time: Media, Technologies, ...
04.American Phrasal Verbs
06.MonoConc Pro (MP2.2)
07.Phrasal Verbs in Business
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CorpusLAB Textbook Series
In the past the contents of language textbooks were based on the authors intuitions and tradition --- what had typically been included in previous textbooks. The CorpusLAB series of books (and software) have been created to reflect current American usage as revealed by corpus analysis. (A corpus is a sample of spoken or written language, typically comprising millions of words.)

There are several reasons to start textbook creation with the analysis of corpora. One is that it is possible to discover what the most frequent forms are. Clearly, frequency is one important factor in the selection of words and phrases in a language learning course.

When a textbook author uses their intuitions to create sample sentences,then those sentences tend to have certain characteristics, often involving prototypical or core uses. And it is clearly important to start with prototypical uses of words and phrases such as prepositions, but it is also important to cover the most frequent uses, which are often extended or idiomatic usage.

Another reason for referring to corpora is to learn about frequent word combinations (collocations). These collocations are an extremely important part of language knowledge, but because they fall somewhere between "vocabulary" and "grammar" they are often overlooked.

For example, if we use a concordance program to search for instances of the phrasal verb to do with, we find a very strong pattern exemplified by the sentence That has nothing to do with me. Thus when creating teaching materials it is important to use sentences which exemplify this pattern so that the student learns not only do with but the common patterns typically found with do with such as nothing/something/anything to do with.

One aspect of materials development is to use a large number of example phrases and sentences which illustrate the use and meaning of the phrasal verb, or other target item, and which contain associated idioms and collocations.

Materials development

The development of language teaching materials is a complex process involving the application of principles of language analysis and language teaching pedagogy. The CorpusLab texts are corpus-based and this means materials development includes the following stages:

1. corpus analysis to determine frequency of different patterns
2. selection of illustrative sentences or utterances
3. creation of teaching units based on corpus examples modified to suit the context of a language teaching book

Once the decision is taken to go corpus-based, several issues arise which can be easily glossed over when the course materials are based on some rather abstract notion of "English". One of these is issues relates to genre or text type. The selection of examples, the frequency of occurrence, and collocation are all sensitive to the type of corpus chosen.

In the CorpusLab series we aim to produce versions of the textbooks for specialised English such as business, medicine, and technology.


Under development
American Phrasal Verbs 0-940753-18-9
Phrasal Verbs in Business 0-940753-19-7
Beginners Guide to Phrasal Verbs 0-940753-21-9


Phrasal Verbs in Computing, Science and Technology 0-940753-22-7
Phrasal Verbs in Medicine 0-940753-24-3
Further books will cover idioms and collocations in American English and aspects of academic vocabulary.
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