Volume 13 Number 1
February 2009 Click here for the pdf.

ABSTRACTS

TEXTUAL, GENRE AND SOCIAL FEATURES OF SPOKEN GRAMMAR: A CORPUS-BASED APPROACH
Carmen Pérez-Llantada
Universidad de Zaragoza

This paper describes a corpus-based approach to teaching and learning spoken grammar for English for Academic Purposes with reference to Bhatia’s (2002) multi-perspective model for discourse analysis: a textual perspective, a genre perspective and a social perspective. From a textual perspective, corpus-informed instruction helps students identify grammar items through statistical frequencies, collocational patterns, context-sensitive meanings and discoursal uses of words. From a genre perspective, corpus observation provides students with exposure to recurrent lexico-grammatical patterns across different academic text types (genres). From a social perspective, corpus models can be used to raise learners’ awareness of how speakers’ different discourse roles, discourse privileges and power statuses are enacted in their grammar choices. The paper describes corpus-based instructional procedures, gives samples of learners’ linguistic output, and provides comments on the students’ response to this method of instruction. Data resulting from the assessment process and student production suggest that corpus-informed instruction grounded in Bhatia’s multi-perspective model can constitute a pedagogical approach in order to i) obtain positive student responses from input and authentic samples of grammar use, ii) help students identify and understand the textual, genre and social aspects of grammar in real contexts of use, and therefore iii) help develop students’ ability to use grammar accurately and appropriately.
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THE DESIGN OF AN ONLINE CONCORDANCING PROGRAM FOR TEACHING ABOUT REPORTING VERBS
Joel Bloch
The Ohio State University

This paper discusses the use of a web-based concordancing program using an interface design similar to the one used at the MICASE concordancing site to help students appropriately choose reporting verbs. Appropriate reporting verbs are important for asserting credible claims in academic papers. An interface was created that asked the students to make lexical, syntactic, and rhetorical choices based on a preset number of criteria related to the decisions writers make in choosing reporting verbs. Based on these choices, the interface could query a database of sentences that had been derived from a corpus of academic writing. The user would then be provided with a small sample of sentences using reporting verbs that matched the criteria that had been selected. The paper discusses how the assumptions about pedagogy for teaching about reporting verbs were incorporated into the design features of the interface and how the implementation of the concordancing site was integrated with the teaching of grammar and vocabulary in an L2 academic writing class.
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STUDENT-INITIATED ATTENTION TO FORM IN WIKI-BASED COLLABORATIVE WRITING
Greg Kessler
Ohio University

This study reports on student initiated attention to form within the collaborative construction of a wiki among pre-service Non-Native Speaker (NNS) English teachers. Forty NNS pre-service teachers from a large Mexican university were observed over a period of a sixteen week semester in an online content-based course aimed at improving their language skills while studying about the cultures of the English-speaking world. A core element of the course was a wiki that was collaboratively created, developed, and revised throughout the course. Students were encouraged to focus on language accuracy while actively participating and interacting with their peers in varied ways. This article explores the degree to which these NNS EFL teacher candidates attempt to correct their own and others’ grammar errors in a long-term collaborative task. The article also addresses the level of accuracy these participants achieve and the attention they pay to grammar revision versus content revision. Follow-up interviews with participants provided insight into the perception of the importance of grammar in the context of collaborative technologies among these NNS pre-service teachers.
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COMPUTER-MEDIATED CORRECTIVE FEEDBACK AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF L2 GRAMMAR
Shannon Sauro
University of Texas at San Antonio

This paper reports on a study that investigated the impact of two types of computer-mediated corrective feedback on the development of adult learners’ L2 knowledge: (1) corrective feedback that reformulates the error in the form of recasts, and (2) corrective feedback that supplies the learner with metalinguistic information about the nature of the error. High intermediate and advanced adult learners of English (n=23) from an intact class at a Swedish university were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (two feedback conditions and one control) and were randomly paired with English native speakers. During task-based interaction via text-chat, the learners received focused corrective feedback on omission of the zero article with abstract noncount nouns (e.g., employment, global warming, culture). Computer-delivered pretests, posttests and delayed posttests of knowledge (acceptability judgments) measured learning outcomes. Results showed no significant advantage for either feedback type on immediate or sustained gains in target form knowledge, although the metalinguistic group showed significant immediate gains relative to the control condition.
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