Using corpora for writing instruction

Authored by: Lynne Flowerdew

The Routledge Handbook of Corpus Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2010
Online publication date:  April  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415464895
eBook ISBN: 9780203856949
Adobe ISBN: 9781135153632


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In a 1997 article examining the link between language corpora and teaching, Leech remarks on the ‘trickle-down’ effect from corpus research to teaching, which only really took off in the early 1990s. The main instigator of the exploitation of corpora in language teaching, specifically on the application to writing, was Johns, whose seminal work in the field of data-driven learning (DDL) is reported in Johns (1984, 1986). Another landmark publication in the field is the volume by Tribble and Jones (1990), which also acted as a catalyst for the pedagogic application of corpora. Since then, as Leech (1997: 2) humorously observes: ‘The original “trickle down” from research to teaching is now becoming a torrent’! The purpose of this chapter is to review the veritable cascade of corpus applications to various aspects of writing over the past couple of decades. But first a brief overview of the utility of corpora for enhancing different features of writing is in order.

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