Volume 21 Number 3

Effects of corpus-based instruction on phraseology in learner English
Katherine Ackerley

This study analyses the effects of data-driven learning (DDL) on the phraseology used by 223 English students at an Italian university. The students studied the genre of opinion survey reports through paper-based and hands-on exploration of a reference corpus. They then wrote their own report and a learner corpus of these texts was compiled. A contrastive interlanguage analysis approach (Granger, 2002) was adopted to compare the phraseology of key items in the learner corpus with that found in the reference corpus. Comparison is also made with a learner corpus of reports produced by a previous cohort of students who had not used the reference corpus. Students who had done DDL tasks used a wider range of genre-appropriate phraseology and produced a lower number of stock phrases than those who had not. The study also finds evidence that students use more phrases encountered in paper-based concordancing tasks than in hands-on tasks. Unlike in previous DDL studies, observations of the learning of a specific text-type through DDL in the present study are based on the comparison with both a control learner corpus and an expert corpus. The study also considers the use of DDL with a large class size.

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