#CorpusMOOC Week 1 notes

I joined the Futurelearn/Lancaster University Corpus MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) this week to supplement the module on technology and corpus linguistics I’m studying for my MA. 

So far, so good. I’ve managed to watch all of the video lectures and I’ve done a good deal of the reading. It’s just a bit of a dip of your toe in the water this week but it was useful to read about different types of corpora as well as how to read the frequency data and so on (spoiler: think of source material and how wide it is). 

One thing that did come up that I wanted to reflect upon was something said in one of the lectures:

Corpora may be used by language teachers to check frequency of occurrence so they may decide to teach their learners more high-frequency items. 

It sounds right but then what about sequences of acquisition? Sure, single words, especially simple nouns or verbs might be chosen, but could it be the case that some high-frequency structures are acquired later than less frequent ones? I think I have more reading to do! 

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6 thoughts on “#CorpusMOOC Week 1 notes

  1. Hi Marc,

    I signed up too, and so naturally I have a thesis to proofread this week, meaning I’m already behind. I did the course in 2014 and there were a lot more materials to get through compared to some other moocs, so I’ve been wanting to do it again and read/watch anything I missed the first time around. We’ll see what happens – I do hope I don’t fall too far behind because I won’t be motivated to get started at all. I think I probably take moocs too seriously. 😦 I guess it’s unreasonable to expect there won’t be anything to get in the way.

    Looking forward to more of your posts on this!

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  2. Hi Marc,

    I think it is the case that some high frequency structures are acquired later than less frequent ones, but using corpora to find high frequency items, whether they be single words, lexical chunks, phrasal verbs, verb tenses, or whatever, leaves open how you go about “teaching” them, no? At the very least it could inform the texts you use, at the very most, you could make a presentation. .

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Geoff.

      I was wondering whether it would be good to just put them in and just leave them as incidental language or whether they’d be better off elaborated. The elaboration draws attention to them which may lead learners to focus on them too much too soon at the expense of more easily acquired forms. Then again, one would hope learning materials wouldn’t be looked at just the once.

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