English for Academic or Specific Purposes

Consulting the annotated Scientext corpora allows teachers and learners to view words, collocations, or word sequences in context as found in a range of scholarly texts or specific sections of a text. Incorporated search tools, including statistical options, offer opportunities to pursue simple or complex, deductive (data that illustrates a rule or principle) or inductive (data-based conclusion) queries, which can take the form of specific teacher-lead tasks or more independent learner-initiated explorations. Users should be aware that corpora are complex, thus queries will produce “noise”, or unwanted data, an unavoidable by-product that will require filtering. Below are some suggestions for launching corpus activities, which may help users to acquire a more effective search methodology.

Consulting a corpus for lexico-grammatical characteristics of a word or sequence :

  • Word families can be identified by searching for the root or part of a word and (*) , such as *wide, *express*.
  • Differentiating between synonyms and their contexts can be aided by reading the words in many authentic examples. For example, one might search findings and results, or high and
  • Polysemy or “challenging words” can be explored by examining the context or uses of words such as the French taupe, projeter, feuille or the English set, actual, given or The examples (occurrences) might then be sorted according to dictionary definitions.
  • Identifying words found to the right or the left of a keyword (collocation) or a given word type (collegation) might include a study of: ‘adjective + a specific noun’, ‘a specific verb + preposition’, ‘pronoun + verb’. For example, students might be given a list of adjectives and nouns, which they must pair by checking frequency levels.
  • Understanding verb forms can be encouraged by using the “lemma” option. For example in the corpus of published articles, a query of the verb IMPLICATE shows a frequent use of the passive voice, while the verb CONSIDER is also found with a modal verb, and REPORT is often in the present perfect.
  • Socio-cultural aspects can be studied, for example by comparing words frequently found with boy and girl, women and men or agree and disagree.

Two freely-accessible on-line activities designed for learners of English and based on the data from research articles in English of Scientext:

Scientext Enigma (Short audio-video supports followed by a text reconstruction a task based on Scientext data): http://elang.ujf-grenoble.fr/enigma/

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