Université catholique de Louvain
Learner corpus research, by applying the tools and techniques of corpus linguistics to the study of learner language, has made it possible to investigate aspects of interlanguage that had been neglected in traditional second language acquisition research. This has led, for example, to considerable advances in the areas of lexico-grammar (collocations, lexical bundles, etc.) and discourse (connectors, involvement features, etc.), and has also allowed for a more quantitative approach to interlanguage (cf. concepts of under- and overuse). Learner corpus research can now be said to have become a mature field of study, as witnessed among other things by the creation of an association (Learner Corpus Association) and a journal (International Journal of Learner Corpus Research) specifically devoted to the subject, and the publication of The Cambridge Handbook of Learner Corpus Research (Granger et al. 2015).
In this talk, I would like to explore some areas in learner corpus research that have received comparatively little attention up to now but whose study could lead to interesting developments in the field. I will thus discuss the research trend which consists in approaching the process (rather than the mere product) of writing by relying, e.g., on a corpus including several drafts of the same text (like the Hanken Corpus of Academic Written English for Economics – see Mäkinen & Hiltunen 2016 – and the Malmö University-Chalmers Corpus of Academic Writing as a Process – see Wärnsby et al. 2016) or a corpus representing visible corrections in handwritten texts (as in the Marburg corpus of Intermediate Learner English, see Kreyer 2015: 22-24). I will also discuss the emerging idea that foreign varieties of English, like native and institutionalised second-language varieties, may display diachronic changes and that time of language production should therefore be taken into account in learner corpus studies (cf. the discussion in Laitinen (2016) about English as a Lingua Franca). For these and some other areas that are still largely ‘terra incognita’ in learner corpus research, I will describe the first explorations, if any, which have been carried out, and I will show how these could be taken further and open up new avenues for research in the study of learner language.
Granger, S., Gilquin, G., & Meunier, F. (Eds.) (2015). The Cambridge Handbook of Learner Corpus Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kreyer, R. (2015). The Marburg Corpus of Intermediate Learner English (MILE). In M. Callies & S. Götz (Eds.), Learner Corpora in Language Testing and Assessment [Studies in Corpus Linguistics 70], 13-34.
Laitinen, M. (2016). Ongoing changes in English modals: On the developments in ELF. In O. Timofeeva, A.-C. Gardner, A. Honkapohja, & S. Chevalier (Eds.), New Approaches to English Linguistics: Building Bridges [Studies in Language Companion Series 177]. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 175-196.
Mäkinen, M. & Hiltunen, T. (2016). Creating a corpus of student writing in economics: Structure and representativeness. In M. J. López-Couso, B. Méndez-Naya, P. Núñez-Pertejo, & I. M. Palacios-Martínez (Eds.), Corpus Linguistics on the Move: Exploring and Understanding English through Corpora [Language and Computers: Studies in Digital Linguistics 79]. Leiden & Boston: Brill, 41-58.
Wärnsby, A., Kauppinen, A., Eriksson, A., Wiktorsson, M., Bick, E., & Olsson, L.-J. (2016). Building interdisciplinary bridges. MUCH: The Malmö University-Chalmers Corpus of Academic Writing as a Process. In O. Timofeeva, A.-C. Gardner, A. Honkapohja & S. Chevalier (Eds.), New Approaches to English Linguistics: Building Bridges [Studies in Language Companion Series 177]. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 197-211.