IATEFL 2015: Recent corpus tools for your students

Jane Templeton’s talk 1 illustrated corpus use by using the wordandphrase tool 2. (Lizzie Pinard has a write-up of the talk 3). I have described using this and other tools on this blog, and there is a nice round-up of corpus tools written by Steve Neufield 4 that looks at just the word, ozdic, word neighbors, netspeak, and stringnet.

This post reports on some more recent tools you may not be aware of (but posted sometime ago in G+ CL community so do check that if you want the skinny early on:\) – WriteAway, Linggle, Skell, Netcollo.

I list them in the order I think students will find easy to use and useful.

1. WriteAway – this tool auto-completes words to help highlight typical structures, so for example it gives two common patterns for Jane’s example of weakness as weakness of something and weakness in something. The first example in pattern one includes the collocation overcomes.

WriteAway-weakness
WriteAway screenshot for word weakness

 

2. Linggle – one could follow-up with a search on Linggle which is basically a souped up version of just the word and uses a 1 trillion word Web based corpus as opposed to the much smaller BNC that just the word uses

It is interesting that overcome weakness is not listed:

Linggle screenshot for verb + weakness
Linggle screenshot for verb + weakness (click image to see results)

but a search for overcome followed by a noun shows that it occurs less than 1% in web pages:

linggle-overcome_n
Linggle screenshot for overcome + noun (click image to see results)

 

3. SkeLL from Sketch Engine is neat for its word-sketch feature so a look at weakness brings up a nice set of collocations and colligations in one screen:

Skell-weakness-wordsketch
SkeLL wordsketch for weakness (click image to see results)

 

4. NetCollo corpus tool can compare BNC, a medical corpus and a law corpus, this is useful if you are looking at academic language in medicine and law. For example using the example of weakness we see that it is much more common in BNC:

netcollo-weakness
NetCollo result for weakness (click image to see results)

and we can see that the collocation with overcome only appears once in the Medical corpus.

As ever do try these tools out yourself and then show not tell, as Jane says, your students as and when the need arises in class. By the way do check out the integrative rationale for corpus use by Anna Frankenberg-Garcia5.

Thanks for reading.

References:

1. IATEFL 2015 video – Bringing corpus research into the language classroom

2. Word and phrase.info tool

3. IATEFL 2015 Bringing corpus research into the language classroom – Jane Templeton

4. Teacher Development: Five ways to introduce concordances to your students

5. Integrating corpora with everyday language teaching

6 thoughts on “IATEFL 2015: Recent corpus tools for your students

    1. Hi thx for commenting very glad you have discovered some new corpus tools. If u want to keep an eye out for more do check the G+ Corpus Linguistics community

      Ta
      Mura

  1. Thank you very much for sharing these tools with us, Mura! They would be of great help to students.

    1. Hi Duygu

      My pleasure, often I post such tools in the G+ CL community so do keep an eye on that.

      The other thing is the question of how long such tools will be available for and for free. I believe the WriteAway developer is looking to commercialise.

      ta
      Mura

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