This is a short note to my previous post on using the EFCAMDAT learner corpus. I read an interesting paper on Countability in World Englishes (HT Pascual Pérez-Parede
@perezparedes) and thought it would be interesting to look at the mass nouns that the study used in the French learner corpus of EFCAMDAT that I had downloaded.
So using AntConc I counted the total uses of the mass nouns and the number of (mis)uses of the mass noun as count nouns. The list below shows the percentage of these mass nouns used as countable nouns i.e. in plural form or with a/an in front of the noun:
- Luggage 30%
- Information 28%
- Software 27%
- Evidence 26%
- Baggage 25%
- Advice 24%
- Homework 23%
- Knowledge 15%
- Research 12%
- Furniture 10%
- Violence 10%
- Feedback 9%
- Equipment 7%
The frequency of these words compared to the whole sub-corpus of French nationality range from – 343 hits per million (Information) to 68 hits per million (Equipment).
So in the classroom I could test use of luggage (baggage), information, software, evidence, advice and homework.
NB1: The study on world englishes is critical of the overemphasis of language teaching on such mass nouns and argues that in terms of mutual intelligibility there is not much difference in using them correctly or not. In this sample of French learners the percentages are quite high (compared to the study) so it seems worth spending time on.
NB2: underwear had highest percentage of 100% but that is because the sole instance was the (mis)use i.e. 1 hit of underwears. 🙂
Thanks for reading.