Corpuses of academic texts

  • Angela CHAMBERS (Limerick, Irlande)
    Learning Second Language Written Expression with the Aid of a Specialised Corpus
    2010, Vol. XV-2, pp. 9-20

    Originally created to provide data for linguistic research, corpora are increasingly attracting the attention of researchers in applied linguistics. This study raises and discusses a number of issues concerning the consultation of a specialised corpus of research articles in French by teachers and writers (in both cases non-native speakers of French), writing essays, theses and research articles. A one-million word corpus of research articles in French (Chambers & Le Baron 2007) will be used as an example. After examining issues relating to the creation of the corpus and giving a brief account of publications on the use of corpora as a resource for writing, pedagogic applications of the corpus will be discussed, taking the use of the first person plural, nous, as an example. This will enable us to assess the potential of specialised corpora in language learning and teaching in general and, more particularly, in the learning and teaching of writing.

  • Ide O'SULLIVAN (Limerick, Irlande)
    Using corpora to enhance learners' academic writing skills in French
    2010, Vol. XV-2, pp. 21-35

    Reporting the work of others and appropriate reference to other texts is essential for academic writers. Acceptance into the academic discourse community is subject to mastery of citation techniques, yet students continue to struggle with such practices throughout their tertiary education, particularly non-native speakers of a language. Learners are often unaware of the mechanisms available to them for reporting, for instance, the relationship between reporting verbs and evaluation and, therefore, fail to locate their position in relation to the work of the cited author. This paper explores the use of academic text corpora in French as a means of enhancing language learners' academic writing skills, most notably as a means of enhancing their citation practices in French. It is argued that equipping L2 writers with such skills allows them to express an appropriate stance and put forth more convincing arguments. The conclusion suggests that corpus consultation literacy has an important role to play in the development of learners' written production and that academic text corpora are a valuable resource for access to the specialised language and textual organisation of academic discourse communities.