Re: Corpora: corpus linguistics course

From: geoffrey.williams (
Date: Wed Mar 27 2002 - 08:46:52 MET

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    Dear Brigitte,

    As promised this is a lengthier reply.

    I teach a course in corpus linguistics in Nantes for students following the
    licence Sciences du Langage programme. These are studying general
    linguistics and will have had a course in English applied linguistics taught
    by myself in the first semester. I use the latter to give them the necessary
    background to contextualism. The CL course is optional in the second
    semester and consists of 12 2hour blocks in a computer room.

    I find that these students need a rapid hands-on approach whilst being given
    some background to humanities computing. The level of computer knowledge is
    highly variable, often nil, so it is necessary to be clear as to the
    difference between a Word doc and a text file as they do not always see the
    difference. This is all done through a mixture of self discovery and
    teaching. Like Tony I do not use linux, much as I would like to, as it is
    not readily available to these students. I quickly get onto text and use the
    concordancer generously provided free by Darmstadt, Wincord at . This runs under
    Windows and does all the basic tasks needed in discovering language in
    context. I show them WordSmith as this is the best, but the fac is too
    stingy to buy anything.
    I do not go into POS tagging due to lack of time, but concentrate on what a
    concordancer can show when working on plain text. Once they have seen a
    concordancer at work I go into more detail as to what constiututes a corpus
    For background reading I recommend:
    Tognini Bonelli, E. 2001. Corpus Linguistics at Work. Amsterdam: John
    PARTINGTON A. 1998. Patterns and Meanings, Amsterdam : John Benjamin's
    Kennedy G. 1998. An introduction to Corpus Linguistics. Longman
    and of course
    SINCLAIR J. McH., 1991 Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford
    University Press.

    Hope this helps


    PS Thought of coming to the Journées Linguistique de Corpus in Lorient
    ( It is an opportunity to exchange ideas
    with other colleagues working on corpus linguistics in France.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Beatrice Vautherin" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Friday, March 15, 2002 5:41 PM
    Subject: Corpora: corpus linguistics course

    Dear list members,
    I am seeking advice on the best way to organize a corpus linguistics course
    in my English department. Starting in february 2003, 2 hours every other
    week for 12 to 13 weeks (that is our second semester) so about twelve hours
    altogether. I can have a computer room with 10-12 PCs.
    I would like to know what corpora and what tools to buy (my BNC-World
    failed to install and I sent the CDs back). Of course the less money I ask
    for, the happier my head of department will be. Still I want the students
    to have hands-on sessions with software that runs smoothly so as not to put
    them off corpus linguistics for ever. They are second-year students in
    France (Paris-Sorbonne Nouvelle) studying for a degree in English.
    Thanks for your help. I will post a summary of the numerous replies I
    Beatrice Vautherin

    Béatrice VAUTHERIN, Maître de Conférences
    Université Paris 3-SORBONNE NOUVELLE
    Institut du Monde Anglophone
    13 rue Santeuil 75231 Paris Cedex O5
    Tel Centre Censier et boîte vocale 33 (0)1 45 87 48 12

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