LS3CBL-Corpus-based approaches to language description

Module Provider: English Language and Applied Linguistics
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: LS1SG Sounds, Grammar and Meaning LS1ELS English Language and Society
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Sylvia Jaworska


Summary module description:
An introduction to the theories and techniques of language description using corpus resources and methods.

The module introduces students to the key concepts and tools of Corpus Linguistics and aims to provide them with a basic training in uses of specialist software programmes for the analysis of language use in linguistic corpora. It also demonstrates how corpus tools and methods can be used to study a variety of linguistic features, registers and genres. Applications of Corpus Linguistics to selected areas in Sociolinguistics, (Critical) Discourse Analysis, and Language Teaching and Learning will be demonstrated.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
• understand and apply the key concepts and tools of corpus-linguistic analysis:
•create their own collection of text (a corpus) with an appropriate quantity of documentation, and explain in detail the principles upon which they have compiled the corpus;
•use software to produce lists of concordance lines, and to create word lists and key word analyses, and be able to manipulate this output with a clear understanding of the nature of the data;
•conduct a study of a particular feature of language use, in a particular set of texts, that is based on the analysis of a corpus (or corpora) and which makes appropriate use of the corpus analysis skills that have been practised during the module;
•evaluate critically the language data retrieved from the corpus and relate the results of the analysis of the data to a substantial review of relevant literature.

Additional outcomes:
The module aims to encourage the development of students' critical and evaluative skills. Through group-work and individual tasks students will be encouraged to develop independent thinking, teamwork and presentation skills.

Outline content:
Corpus-based approaches have had an enormous impact on the description of language in use. The analysis of language patterning and frequencies across large quantities of text can reveal features of language use that may not be easily accessible otherwise. This module will provide students with the basic technical skills they need for corpus analysis, and will also introduce students to the principles upon which corpora are designed, categorised and coded. Applications of corpus tools and methods in a variety of linguistic disciplines such as Sociolinguistics and (Critical) Discourse Analysis will be demonstrated. Students will then be presented with sets of structured activities in which they use corpora to learn about language, before they begin the task of compiling their own corpus and conducting a small-scale study using this corpus.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and practical computer sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 8
Practicals classes and workshops 12
Guided independent study 180
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Portfolio 40

Other information on summative assessment:

A portfolio consisting of 4 set tasks focusing on corpus techniques and the analysis of selected features of language use (each task between 300-350 words). 40% An essay of 2,500 words. 60% Relative percentage of coursework: 100%

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination by coursework to be submitted by 17 August in the year the module was taken.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 13 September 2017

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