LSMCBL-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
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Sylvia Jaworska


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Corpus-based approaches have had an enormous impact on the descrption 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. The module aims to introduce students to the tools and methods of Corpus Linguistics (CL) and the application of CL as a tool for the analysis of language use in a variety of registers and discourse contexts. Students will be offered a comprehensive training in the use of specialist software for the analysis of language in corpora (large electronic text compilations), and will gain a hands-on experience in creating, annotating, analysing and summarising corpus-data for their own research purposes

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

  • create their own collection of text (a corpus) with an appropriate quantity of documentation, and explain in detail the principles upon which they have built the corpus.
  • use software to define corpus queries in a precise manner and extract data from a corpus for research purposes, 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 register or discourse context, 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 reveiw of relevant literature
  • use computer technology competently and effectively as a tool in linguistic research.

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:
The course will cover the following topics: history and key concepts of Corpus Linguistics (frequency, collocation, colligation, keywords, semantic prosody); corpus design, sampling and representativeness; corpus annotation;web-corpora; working with corpus software; use of corpora to study language variation and change; corpora in (critical) discourse studies; corpora in second language acquisition research (learner corpora); applications of corpora in language pedagogy.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Interactive lectures combined with practical computer sessions.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
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

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The coursework for this module will be a portfolio consisting of 4 tasks focusing on corpus techniques and the analysis of selected features of language use (each task between 200-300 words). Students will also complete an essay of 2,000-2,500 words

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination by coursework to be submitted by 1st September.

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: 20 April 2018


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