The use of corpora in second language learning
Colley, Michael Thomas
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Corpora can be a valuable resource for students learning a foreign language. Unlike most language resources, corpora show language as it is actually used in real situations. However, attempts to use corpora in second language learning have had limited success due to the fact that they use software designed for linguists rather than language learners. This thesis discusses the development and use of a program designed with the needs of language learners in mind. Upon entering a word, the program extracts phrases from the corpus based on words that most frequently collocate with the given word. This is useful for language learners because it allows them to see how the meanings of words are shaped by the surrounding context. Compared to programs used by linguists, it does a better job of hiding the subtleties of word usage and emphasizes the most frequent and therefore most useful characteristics of the language.