#IATEFL 2016 – Corpus Tweets 4

It is good to see a talk on how to create your own corpus as this is arguably one of the key strengths of corpus linguistics i.e. language that is mined for your students in your particular context. Very far from what a coursebook can address. As ever much appreciation to Sandy Millin for bringing us this talk.

IATEFL 2016 Corpus Tweets 4

Teacher-driven corpus development: the online restaurant review by Chad Langford & Joshua Albair as reported by Sandy Millin

  1. Chad Langford and Josh Albair on creating a corpus of restaurant reviews based on TripAdvisor, as they are linguists and teachers

  2. CL/JA They teach adults, not degree seeking, but find writing is a challenge, esp as learners don’t write much, even in L1

  3. CL/JA Genre of these reviews works as learners can relate to it and feel empowered, memberes of non-geographically bound community

  4. CL/JA By crating a corpus, they believed that would characterise the genre as objectively as possible, and improve materials devmnt

  5. #iatefl CL/JA Basic steps for treating the data to make corpus https://t.co/NobXQJ2782

    CL/JA Basic steps for treating the data to make corpus pic.twitter.com/NobXQJ2782

  6. CL/JA They narrowed down TripAdvisor reviews to London, with 100-200 reviews per restaurant, with 3-dot average

  7. CL/JA They copied over 8000 reviews and copied them into Word – pretty tedious! Huge amount of text and lots to be manually deleted

  8. CL/JA Cleaned data in Word is readable and only has tagline and body of review, maintaining paragraphs for later research

  9. CL/JA Needed to standardise, e.g. three dots for ellipsis, standardise common misspellings, removing extraneous spaceing

  10. CL/JA To so this they used Notepad++ which is a free powerful text editor which they used to tidy up formatting

  11. #iatefl CL/JA Examples of coding they were able to lesrn very quickly https://t.co/fk7uHn48zM

    CL/JA Examples of coding they were able to lesrn very quickly pic.twitter.com/fk7uHn48zM

  12. CL/JA Then added POS tagging, metadata about tagline and types of restaurant etc. Used Wordsmith tools which is cheap, but good

  13. CL/JA They used wordlist, keywords and concord tools within WordSmith

  14. CL/JA Final corpus has 67 restaurants, over 8000 reviews and over 1 million words. Can start to identify restaurant review genre

  15. CL/JA Identified positive/neg evaluative adjectives, retaurant-related vocab: experience, description, food, non-food, person, place

  16. CL/JA Also very high frequency of first person pronouns, overwhelming use of was/were (copulative use?)

  17. CL/JA Discourse showed very common to use ‘but’ as marker in 3dot reviews,very rare in 1/5 “good but” v “but good” – meaning change

  18. CL/JA One was much more common the other. Think it was “good but” – missed it!

  19. CL/JA High instance of subject-less clauses, determiner ellipsis and one more grammar feature I missed

  20. CL/JA Determiner ellipsis is very rarely pointed out to our students, except in headlines. e.g. restaurant was dirty, fish was tasty

  21. CL/JA In class they’ve used it for ranking activity – place five taglines on cline on board, next group can add 5 more/move first

  22. CL/JA Second activity is guided discovery sheet based on authentic review which exemplifies characteristics they’ve identified

  23. CL/JA Can get in touch with them at the University of Lille if you’d like to find out more

  24. CL/JA Tilly Harrison brings up the point that this corpus data draws on comments that perhaps people haven’t given permission to use



#IATEFL 2016 – Corpus Tweets 3

The tweeting game is on point this year which means us poor folk at home can feel involved. Cambridge ELT tweeted out Using English Grammar Profile to improve curriculum design by Geraldine Mark & Anne O’Keeffe. One thing to note about this talk is that it, along with all the Cambridge related ones, have been recorded.

IATEFL 2016 Corpus Tweets 3

Using English Grammar Profile to improve curriculum design by Geraldine Mark & Anne O’Keeffe as reported by Cambridge ELT.

  1. We’ll shortly be live-tweeting Anne O’Keeffe & Geraldine Mark’s #IATEFL talk ‘Using English Grammar Profile to improve curriculum design’
  2. The English Grammar Profile (EGP) helps us see how learners develop competence in grammatical form/meaning through the CEFR levels #IATEFL
  3. It provides us with typical grammar profiles for each CEFR level – you can explore EGP here:  http://www.englishprofile.org/english-grammar-profile  #IATEFL
  4. O’Keeffe: The profile is made up of 1222 grammar descriptors describing what learners can do at various CEFR levels #IATEFL
  5. O’Keeffe: As teachers, we think we know a lot about what learners can/can’t do in terms of grammar from intuition/experience #IATEFL
  6. O’Keeffe: EGP shows what we know learners can do with grammar, based on evidence from the Cambridge Learner Corpus #IATEFL
  7. O’Keeffe: The Cambridge Learner Corpus is made up of 200,000 exam scripts, across 140 languages in 200 countries #IATEFL
  8. O’Keeffe: What conditionals do you think learners know at B1 level? #IATEFL
  9. Mark: through the EGP we can identify what learners at B1 can do with conditionals and clauses #IATEFL
  10. Mark: we can see evidence of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd use of the ‘if’ clause for B1 from the EGP for example #IATEFL
  11. Mark: EGP research into adverb & adjective combinations shows a more pragmatic use from C1 learners #IATEFL
  12. O’Keeffe: When you look at errors learners make, there are peaks and troughs – for example Past Simple errors are prolific at B1 #IATEFL
  13. O’Keeffe: When investigating: at A1 they can do 2 things with the Past Simple… But at B1 there are 7 uses with a wider vocab range #IATEFL
  14. O’Keeffe: This explains the relatively high numbers of errors at B1 as they develop this more complex use of the Past Simple #IATEFL
  15. O’Keeffe: More sophisticated uses of the same form are evident at B2 ‘I wondered if you could introduce me…’ #IATEFL
  16. O’Keeffe: This shows how the use of grammatical structures develops incrementally – a developing, non-linear path of language use #IATEFL
  17. O’Keeffe: Considering un/countable nouns, errors are evident up to after C1 – but at A1/2 level you know many fewer nouns! #IATEFL
  18. O’Keeffe: informations, advices and equipments are some of the most error-prone uncountable nouns – but wouldn’t be taught at A1/A2 #IATEFL
  19. Mark: If you do get an uncountable noun wrong it has a ripple effect! The Countability topic across the levels should be recycled #IATEFL
  20. Mark: possessive pronouns are identified at A2 – only ‘mine’ gets used correctly at this level, the EGP shows #IATEFL
  21. O’Keeffe: We hope the EGP will provide a ‘bigger picture’ of grammar – beyond ticking off achieved structures at various levels #IATEFL
  22. O’Keeffe: It could also help with ‘gap analysis’ – where more teaching or attention might be needed – helpful for syllabus design #IATEFL
  23. O’Keeffe: We can plot the lag between explicit input and output of grammar – implicit learning – showing how much time is needed! #IATEFL
  24. O’Keeffe: It can also highlight interesting grammar competencies for teaching advanced level grammar – more sophisticated uses etc. #IATEFL
  25. O’Keeffe: Visit  http://www.englishprofile.org  to explore EGP and the English Vocabulary Profile too! #IATEFL
  26. Make sure to catchup with O’Keeffe and Mark’s English Grammar Profile talk recording tomorrow on  http://iatefltalks.org  #IATEFL


#IATEFL 2016 – Corpus Tweets 2

This is a storify of tweets by Sandy Millan, Dan Ruelle and Leo Selivan on the talk Answering language questions from corpora by James Thomas. Hats off to the tweeters I know it’s not an easy task!

IATEFL 2016 Corpus Tweets 2

Answering language questions from corpora by James Thomas as reported by Sandy Millin, Dan Ruelle & Leo Selivan

  1. James Thomas on answering language questions from corpora. Did not know Masaryk uni was home of Sketch Engine!
  2. JT has written a book about discovering English through SketchEngine with lots of ways you can search and use the corpus
  3. JT trains his trrainees how to use SketchEngine, so they can teach learners how to learn language from language
  4. JT Need to ensure that tasks have a lot of affordances of tasks and texts
  5. We live in an era of collocation, multi-word units, pragmatic competence, fuzziness and multiple affordances – James Thomas
  6. JT Why do SS have language questions? Are the rules inadequate? It’s about hirarchy of choice…
  7. JT Not much choice in terms of letters or morphemes, but lots of choice at text level
  8. JT Patterns are visible in corpora. They are regular features and cover a lot of core English
  9. JT What counts as a language pattern? Collocation, word grammar, language chunks, colligation (and more I didn’t get!)
  10. JT Students have questions about lexical cohesion, spelling mistakes, collocations: at every level of hierarchy
  11. JT Examples of q’s: Does whose refer only to people? Can women be described as handsome? Any patterns with tense/aspect clauses?
  12. JT q’s: Does the truth lie? What is friendly fire? What are the collocations of rule?
  13. JT introduces SKELL: Sketch Engine for Language Learning http://skell. (don’t know!)
  14. “Rules don’t tell whole story” – James Thomas making an analogy w/ Einstein who said same about both the wave & the particle theory
  15. JT SKELL selects useful sentences only, excludes proper nouns, obscure words etc. 40 sentences
  16.  http://skell.sketchengine.co.uk 

    Nice simple interface – need to play with it more. #iatefl

  17. JT searched for mansplain in SKELL and it already has 7 or 8 examples in there
  18. JT Algorithm to reduce amount of sentences only works when there are a lot of examples. With a few, sentences often longer
  19. Sketch Engine is a pretty hardcore linguistic tool, but I can see the use of Skell for language learners. #iatefl
  20. JT Corpora can also teach you more about grammar patterns too, for example periphrasis (didn’t get definition fast enough!)
  21. JT Can search for present perfect continuous for example: have been .*ing
  22. JT You can search for ‘could of’ in SKELL – appears fairly often, but relatively insignificant compared to ‘could have’
  23. Can use frequency in corpus search results to gauge which is “more correct” / “the norm”. #iatefl
  24. JT SKELL can sort collocations by whether a noun is the object or subject of a word for example. Can use ‘word sketch’ function
  25. Unclear whether collocation results in Skell are sorted according to “significance” / frequency or randomly #iatefl
  26. JT See @versatilepub for discounts on book about SKELL


#IATEFL 2016 – Corpus Tweets 1

This is a storified verison of the tweets by Sandy Millinon a talk called Making trouble free corpus tasks in ten minutes by Jennie Wright @teflhelper. Hopefully there will be other tweeters attending the other corpus based talks, who will be up to the standard set by Sandy : )

IATEFL2016 Corpus Tweets 1

Making trouble free corpus tasks in ten minutes – Jennie Wright as reported by Sandy Millin

  1. Jennie Wright now in Hall 8b ‘Making trouble-free corpus tasks in ten minutes’
  2. Jennie Wright runs the TEFL helper blog:  http://teflhelperblog.wordpress.com 
  3. Jennie Wright All you need to make quick corpus tasks is a good copy-paster
  4. Jennie Wright Key terms: corpus/corpora: multi-million word collections of lang, concordance lines: search term presented in middle
  5. Jennie Wright POS/grammatical tagging is tagging with noun, verb etc; KWIC is key word in the middle (was wrong before! Sorry)
  6. Jennie Wright COCA is one her business English students go back to:  http://corpus.byu.edu/coca 
  7. #iatefl Jennie Wright This is the search for COCA. It's vey intuitive. Put a key word in the box https://t.co/8YcJPuSaxh

    Jennie Wright This is the search for COCA. It’s vey intuitive. Put a key word in the box pic.twitter.com/8YcJPuSaxh
  8. Jennie Wright You can click KWIC to see the key word in the centre. Very fast!
  9. Jennie Wright COCA is great because it’s colour coded and the parts of speech are tagged
  10. #iatefl Jennie Wright What's the missing word? Get your concordance lines, then blank out one word https://t.co/owVfQ4xU33

    Jennie Wright What’s the missing word? Get your concordance lines, then blank out one word pic.twitter.com/owVfQ4xU33
  11. Jennie Wright It’s ‘thingie’ – she wanted her students to use something other than ‘thing’ or ‘stuff’! Good for fossilised errors
  12. Jennie Wright To make it, use a screengrab or clipping tool tog et the concordance lines, then block out words you want SS to guess
  13. Jennie Wright Don’t forget to read the concordance lines before you copy and paste! Avoid accidents 🙂
  14. Jennie Wright Activity 2: collocation gamble. Focus on strong and weak collocations and lexical chunking. Good for SS misusing them
  15. #iatefl Jennie Wright. What are the two most common adjective collocations each for bitterly, deeply and sincerely? https://t.co/UAj50bjmuP

    Jennie Wright. What are the two most common adjective collocations each for bitterly, deeply and sincerely? pic.twitter.com/UAj50bjmuP
  16. @teflhelper 2 most common=’bitterly’: ‘disappointed’/’cold’. ‘deeply’:’concerned’/’sorry’. ‘sincerely’:’interested’/’sorry’
  17. @teflhelper To make collocation gamble, use list function, type ‘bitterly [j*]’ in word box, then adj.ALL in POS list
  18. I think Sandy meant you can use POS list to insert code for adjective if you want not in addition to the search term given [mura]
  19. #iatefl @teflhelper 3. Colour-code me. COCA helps you to do this easily. Can you colour-code these sentences? https://t.co/TuRkPYUdu8

    @teflhelper 3. Colour-code me. COCA helps you to do this easily. Can you colour-code these sentences? pic.twitter.com/TuRkPYUdu8
  20. @teflhelper To make this, search for your word, screen shot the answers and retype the sentences for them to colour code
  21. @teflhelper Audience member suggests giving them a key of colours and get them to figure out a sentence which matches
  22. @teflhelper Tips: 1.train a little: better to know one corpus well than a lot of them a little. 2. Imperfections exist in corpora
  23. @teflhelper Tips: Don’t be afraid to oppose what’s in the corpus – you’re the ‘live corpus in the classroom’ Read it carefully
  24. @teflhelper Tips: 3. Choose wisely – never more than 10 lines and don’t overwhelm. 4. What’s the problem you want to solve?
  25. @teflhelper COCA is very helpful when your students don’t believe you 🙂 maximal v. maximum [thing Ngrams useful here too]
  26. @teflhelper Tip 5: consider how to do this online or offline. If online, what’s your backup plan? Have paper copies!
  27. @teflhelper COCA bites on Youtube are 2-minute tutorials on how to use COCA
  28. @teflhelper Thanks very much Jennie for an excellent talk. Exactly what I’ve needed for a long time 🙂

#IATEFL 2016 – Can a language test measure integration

This was billed as TELC Signature Event – Can a language test measure integration. The discussion is interesting with loads of great quotes. I do recommend you watching it. One of the lines I liked most was by someone called Horatio Clare who abhors the notion of borders, at 25:31 mark he says:

A lot of Brits don’t eat Turkey on Christmas day, most Brits can’t tell you when women got the vote. Knowing these things doesn’t tell you that most women in Britain don’t vote and that the government was elected with 24 percent of the electorate. These things are the real Britain to which they are coming to.

Horatio Clare

All the participants recognised the deep political aspects of this issue that is beyond any simple debate on test validity.

Video – TELC Signature Event – Can a language test measure integration

#IATEFL 2016 – conference app review

Four years ago my first IATEFL 2012 blog post was a quick review of the conference mobile app. Back then mobile apps and mobile learning was the buzz. Back then I stubbornly used the term program in my post instead of app as my way of highlighting the consumerisation of software. Either that or I just wanted to be contrary and pretentious. Anyhoo, onto 2016 and another quick & dirty review of the conference app.

By some accounts there were issues with its availability and some problems with some of the functions. Now everything seems to be sorted and the app is ok. When I say ok, this is less a comment on the app itself and more a comment on today’s blasé adoption of apps into the everyday. I’ll stop there and spare you any more musings, onto the app!

Downloading the app from Google Play Store, the permissions pop up poses the question as to why the identity permission is asked for?


In my case not too bothered as I have a program that can disable any permissions I do not want.

The home page shows a number of sections on the left and two sections on the bottom:

There is a nice touch with the keyword hunt to win a prize via the Reward Card section to enter a prize draw (anyone know what the prize is?):


Adding items to My Agenda is straightforward and it’s nice to be able to link through to item details easily from an agenda entry. I recall in the 2012 version this was more cumbersome.


Likewise the My Notes are ok except not sure how to enter entry in category other than General Notes?


Clicking on Notes on Documentation or Notes on Conference had no effect.

The Business Card Swap is a nice idea, as I rarely remember to print business cards this could be a nice replacement:


The Floor Plan section seems standard, good resolution, able to zoom in and out:


So all in all an ok app. I wonder how the software landscape will change in 4 more years?

Thanks for reading and enjoy the conference.

IATEFL 2016 – corpus related mini-interviews

Following on from what could be described as a corpus carnival this year, some of those presenters kindly answered 5 questions. Oh and if any other corpus related presenters want to be added let me know. I list the mini-interviews in approximately chronological order:

Teaching the pragmatics of spoken requests in EAP
Christian Jones (University of Liverpool, UK),

Answering language questions from corpora
James Thomas (Masaryk University), @versatilepub

Using English Grammar Profile to improve curriculum design
Geraldine Mark (Gloucestershire College/Cambridge University Press) & Anne O’Keeffe (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick/Cambridge University Press), @TEFLclass

Electronic theses online – developing domain-specific corpora from open access
Alannah Fitzgerald (Concordia University) & Chris Mansfield (Queen Mary University of London),

Guiding EAP learners to autonomously use online corpora: lessons learned
Daniel Ruelle (RMIT University Vietnam), @danrmitvn

Teacher-driven corpus development: the online restaurant review
Chad Langford & Joshua Albair (University Lille 3, France)

Christian Jones
1. Who are you?
I am a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Liverpool.
2. Who should come to your talk?
EAP or EFL teachers interested in research into spoken language (in this case the speech act of requesting) and the implications for teaching.
3. Why should they come?
Well, hope it will be interesting (!) and will make people think about their own teaching in regard to spoken language. In EAP in particular, a lot of attention us given to writing and reading and while this is understandable, I also think that the way learners interact when they speak in academic settings is important. I’m not  giving a workshop but I hope I will apply theory to practice in a useful way.
4. Which talks are you looking forward to?
I can only attend on the day I am speaking but two things I would like to see are Mike McCarthy talking about spoken language in EAP, my ex-colleague Tania Horak talking about lexical profiling in tests. I will catch up with things I miss online.
5. Top tip
I don’t go to that many conferences so can only give fairly obvious advice: 1) Don’t try to see everything – pick 3 or 4 key talks a day and go from there 2 )The conversations you have in the breaks and the people you meet are a key part of the experience 3) Caffeine is vital! [back]

James Thomas
1. Who are you?
I’m a university teacher trainer, who doesn’t only talk about aspects of teacher development, but in our department, we actually do it: our trainees working with real live students for a whole semester. Internal Practice Teaching’s a buzz for everyone concerned. I’m also the author of a book that does something no other does. This should be my big expose at IATEFL.
2. Who should come to your talk?
Teachers who are interested in the L in ELT and TEFL and TESOL, etc. Everyone knows that dictionaries, grammars and intuition are not enough to answer every language question. By searching for answers in corpus data, we are in effect, asking thousands of native speakers at the same time.
3. Why should they come?
– The audience will observe language activities that involve learning about language, as well as learning language.
– They will see guided discovery activities in action.
– They will see  another avenue for using internet tools in the classroom.
– We develop strategies for dealing with students saying “but I’ve seen it somewhere”
4. Which talk(s) are you looking forward to?
Well, the last time I heard Mr Crystal speak, he impressed a lot of people, so I’m looking forward to being reimpressed. The work of Diane Larsen-Freemen has been quite pivotal in our field, so hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth … And my colleague, Nikki Fortova, has a poster about our Internal Practice Teaching, which uses a bit of augmented reality, so I’m keen to see how people react to the medium as well as the message!
5. Top conference going tip?
I saw Jan Blake perform about 10 years ago at a NILE event – outstanding. [back]

Anne O’Keeffe
1. Who are you?
I am an academic who has an EFL background. As an academic, I work in the area of Corpus Linguistics, at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. I am particularly interested in the applications of Corpus Linguistics to language learning.

I regularly give talks about the application of Corpus Linguistics to language teaching as I think that it important to spread the word to those who do the real work of teaching languages. If research is to have any impact, then we need to think about what our findings mean for the classroom. My most recent work has been with Cambridge University Press. This has involved working with Geraldine Mark on a four-year research project which entailed looking in great detail at learner grammar, across the CEFR, using the 55 million word Cambridge Learning Corpus. This has led us to create the open resource English Grammar Profile http://www.englishprofile.org/english-grammar-profile/egp-online – Please check it out and let us know what you think!
2. Who should come to your talk?
My talk, which is co-presented with Geraldine Mark, is about the English Grammar Profile resource. We will talk about how its findings can help inform syllabus design. Essentially, we looked at the Cambridge Learner Corpus and identified over 1,200 different grammar competencies in the learners’ writing across the six levels of the CEFR. The database has some surprises about what learners know and when they know it. It also sheds light on what advanced (C level) students can do with grammar and pragmatics.

This talk will be of interest to 1)  anyone who is interested in researching learner grammar competency; 2) anyone who is interested in findings about what grammar learners know at different levels; 3) language teachers who want to hear about this new resource which might be of use to them in their syllabus design.
3. Why should they come?
If you are interested in knowing more about the English Grammar Profile and how it can help you think more strategically about what grammar you teach, this talk is for you. If you are doing MA or PhD research into learner grammar or learner corpora, this talk might give you some ideas and if you are interested in getting a different perspective of grammar syllabi, there is something in this talk for you too.
4. Which talk(s) are you looking forward to?
The plenaries include some really big names! They are definitely not to be missed. The programme looks so interesting. There are so many talks and so little time!
5. Top conference going tip?
Don’t try to overdo it by attending a session at every slot. Allow time to just mingle around the exhibition area and meet people. IATEFL is a very friendly conference and you can make some new friends from around the world. [back]

Alannah Fitzgerald
1. Who are you?
I am an open education practitioner and researcher working in the area of technology-enhanced English language education. Being somewhat nomadic, I have gained experience and understanding from learning, teaching and researching across different educational contexts, including Higher Education institutions in the United Kingdom, Canada, Korea, and New Zealand (my country of origin). Increasingly, I have been drawn to devising and delivering online language learning interventions that can be scaled and assessed across both formal and informal education.
2. Who should come to your talk?
Language teachers, language learners, subject specialists, instructional design and e-learning support teams who want to build their own language collections.
3. Why should they come?
See what you can do with open content for building dynamic online English language collections for any target learner group. Our latest open collection in collaboration with the British Library is made up of 50,000 PhD abstracts for learning English for Specific Academic Purposes.
4. Which talk(s) are you looking forward to?
Unfortunately, I’m only going to be there for the interactive fair as I have two open education conferences on either side of that day. If I were going to be there for the whole gig I’d most likely want to attend a variety of sessions to get a sense of what the wider ELT community is currently concerned with.
5. Top conference going tip?
My greatest experience and tip for conference going is to find people you can work with on projects who are at different schools or institutions. This will help you to get a wider sense of your field or how different fields can intersect in interesting ways, for example, FLAX brings computer science and language education together. [back]

Daniel Ruelle
1. Who are you?
I’m a EAP / IELTS preparation teacher and program coordinator at the Vietnam campus of an Australian university called RMIT – Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.  It’s actually one of the – if not the – largest offshore universities in the world with two campuses in Vietnam and over 5,000 students.  During my time here I have become quite interested in vocabulary acquisition, especially using corpora in the classroom to encourage learners to autonomously use English more naturally and focus on collocations.
2. Who should come to your talk?
Those who are interested in hearing about my experience training learners to autonomously use free online corpora.  Actually I am one of three presenters in a forum on corpora on Friday, April 15th at 14:10 – 15:15 in Hall 11a, and my co-presenters will be presenting about two complementary themes: “Learning academic vocabulary through a discovery-based approach” and “Exploring EAP teachers’ familiarity and experiences of corpora.
3. Why should they come?
There has been a lot of research on corpora and they are frequently used by researchers, but to date there has been quite a disconnect between research and practice.  These tools have come a long way and are much more user-friendly and intuitive then what many teachers may have experienced in the past.  This forum on corpora will hopefully demystify these incredibly useful tools for both teachers and learners, and give teachers some ideas on how they can use them with their learners.
4. Which talk(s) are you looking forward to?
The keynote speakers this year all look incredible and of them, I’m most excited to see Dr. David Crystal and Scott Thornbury – both legends in the field!  I’m still perusing the myriad parallel sessions and it’s proving very difficult to choose just one in each slot.  I plan to finalise my choices on the long flight to Birmingham.
5. Top conference going tip?
As a presenter – prepare handouts (paper or digital – I often share a link to a Google Drive folder with materials that I can update after the conference) and try to stick around after your presenter for questions.
As an attendee – don’t feel the need to attend every single session.  It can be quite fatiguing rushing from one room to another and sometimes 45 minutes of idle time to check out poster sessions or publishers’ offerings, or just grab a coffee, can really rejuvenate you. [back]

Chad Langford & Joshua Albair
1. Who are you?
We are both linguists working in France; we work primarily as EFL teachers in a university setting with different kinds of learners of all levels. We’ve recently become more interested in developing in-house materials and in moving towards our learners’ needs and away from external syllabi and course books. We find corpora fascinating and really useful.

We teach a variety of courses, but it is our experience in teaching General English to adult learners in the Adult Education department of our university that has provided us the greatest stimulation for this project. Our experience as linguists means that we’re interested in research, and we both have had experience working with large corpora. This is the first time we’ve embarked on creating a corpus of our own, and we’re really excited about it and what it can bring to the profession.
2. Who should come to your talk?
Anyone who is interested in how the manipulation of data can give teachers a better idea of how the language they teach works will find our talk interesting, as will anyone interested in genre studies and in exposing learners to different genres as readers and writers.

The online restaurant review is an interesting genre to look at: on the one hand, some of our more basic intuitions about it are borne out; on the other hand, an actual searchable corpus reveals important characteristics of the genre that might otherwise not be so obvious. Finally, anyone interested in corpora and in the possibility of creating their own corpus should come – we would definitely like to encourage others to pursue same sort of project.
3. Why should they come?
The best reason to come would be for us to meet each other. We would love to meet, and then stay in contact, with other people who are interested in what we’re interested in and in developing a network where we can help each other and share experiences and materials.
4. Which talk(s) are you looking forward to?
We are looking forward to the plenaries, of course. Others corpus-related talks are at the top of our list, too. Grammar and discourse are two other areas we’re interested in. It’s going to be hard to choose, and I think we’ll be pretty busy listening to other people for a lot of the time we’re there.
5. Top conference going tip?
You can’t do everything. Take the time to meet people, and exchange contact information with them. And do it when you meet them – you’re never sure to run into them later, and there will be huge number of delegates this year. [back]

A huge thanks to all the presenters, break a leg folks : )

IATEFL 2016 – Corpus carnival!

I started following IATEFL online in 2012 but it is only after seeing this year’s programme that I felt any slight regret not being a member and not going in person. The number of corpus based talks is encouraging though it seems from the presenter’s affiliations that most uses are still based in higher/tertiary education. There is also a forum on using corpora in the classroom.

I hope to blog the conference (do check the list of registered bloggers) and if you want to keep up with either TESOL 2016 or IATEFL 2016 tweeting do consider following the bot @TESOL_IATEFL_50.

Finally there is a new dedicated blog Corpus Linguistics for EFL, do check it.

Note for folks interested in TESOL 2016 corpus related talks see this list.

If you spot any relevant corpus talks that are missing let me know, thanks.

Talks using the word corpus or corpora in the IATEFL 2016 programme (pdf):

Wednesday 13 April
Making trouble-free corpus tasks in ten minutes
Jennie Wright (Target Training)
For business English learners who repeatedly misuse specific vocabulary and grammar, using a corpus (electronic multi-million word collections of real-world language examples) significantly enhances accuracy and competence. Accessible to everyone, with masses of free material to exploit, workshop participants will leave knowing how to quickly and easily use corpora to design activities that take less than ten minutes to create.

Using corpora to remedy language errors in L2 writing
Hulya Can (Bilkent University)
I present a classroom study, conducted with 13 intermediate-level university students, which tested if corpora helped learners improve L2 writing. Participants were asked to use a corpus to correct their written language errors and later questionnaires and interviews were carried out. Data analysis suggested a decrease in the number of language errors; furthermore, participants believed it was an effective language tool.

Classroom applications of corpora training for learner autonomy
Federico Espinosa (The University of Birmingham)
There is an established belief in ELT that training learners in strategies for independent language analysis fosters a deeper understanding of English. Following up from last year’s research talk on corpora training for increasing learner autonomy, this practical workshop will present three fully-developed activities to use corpora with learners in a classroom environment.

Conceptual interface of corpus-based error analysis through error mapping
Paschalis Chliaras (University of Birmingham, UK)
This presentation examines the effectiveness of ‘error mapping’ as a macro and micro error analysis of non-native English language learners’ essays. The procedure involved collecting data from essays, interpreting it, reporting information, and implementing it to teaching and learning. Subsequently, students understood their mistakes, identified their needs, learned to avoid mother tongue interference and handed in a competently proofread essay.

Teaching the pragmatics of spoken requests in EAP
Christian Jones (University of Liverpool, UK)
This talk will describe the impact of one explicit interventional treatment on developing pragmatic awareness and production of spoken requests and apologies in an EAP context at a British higher education institution. The talk will describe the effectiveness of the instruction, the linguistic features of successful spoken requests and apologies in this context, and the implications for EAP teaching. (the presenter here assures us “I am not speaking directly about corpora but may slip some mentions in!”)

Thursday 14 April
Answering language questions from corpora
James Thomas (Masaryk University)
There are many language questions that dictionaries, grammar books and native speakers cannot and do not readily answer. The range of questions extends across the whole hierarchy of language from morphology to sentence building to discourse and pragmatics. This talk offers an approach to asking questions to thousands of native speakers whose language has been sampled and stored in corpora.

Using English Grammar Profile to improve curriculum design
Geraldine Mark (Gloucestershire College/Cambridge University Press) & Anne O’Keeffe (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick/Cambridge University Press)
This talk showcases the English Grammar Profile, a new open educational resource developed to enhance our understanding of English learner grammar. Based on the Cambridge Learner Corpus, it provides over 1,200 corpus-based grammar competency statements across the six levels of the CEFR. The talk will showcase the resource and explore its importance for the design of materials and curricula.

Focus on B2 writing: preparing students for Cambridge English: First
Annette Capel (Freelance)
How can students score top marks? What aspects of writing should they work on at B2? This practical session explores the strengths and weaknesses of candidate performance using real answers from the Cambridge Learner Corpus. Participants will work with the Cambridge English Assessment Scale and evaluate preparation strategies. Learner data from the English Grammar Profile will illustrate useful grammatical development.

Electronic theses online – developing domain-specific corpora from open access
Alannah Fitzgerald (Concordia University) & Chris Mansfield (Queen Mary University of London)
Research findings will be presented from a study into the development and evaluation of domain-specific corpora from the Electronic Theses Online Service (EThOS) at the British Library. These collections were built using the interactive FLAX open-source language software for uptake in English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) programmes at Queen Mary University of London.

Friday 15 April
Grammar for academic purposes
Louise Greenwood (Zayed University, Dubai)
Does an explicit focus on grammar help our students? If so, which grammatical structures should we focus on? This talk will argue that form-focused instruction is valuable and that careful selection of structures based on evidence from a corpus is essential in order to plan a targeted syllabus that meets the needs of students preparing for higher education.

Teacher-driven corpus development: the online restaurant review
Chad Langford & Joshua Albair (University Lille 3, France)
We present our project to develop a user-friendly, high-quality corpus of online restaurant reviews, which we consider a specific genre. Our goals are threefold: to present the genesis and results of our project; to elaborate on concrete pedagogical applications (concerning lexis, discourse, grammar and genre-based writing); and to foster collaboration between colleagues eager to develop and share corpora.
Forum on using corpora in the classroom

Guiding EAP learners to autonomously use online corpora: lessons learned
Daniel Ruelle (RMIT University Vietnam)
This presentation outlines the lessons learned from an initiative to guide upper-intermediate EAP learners to independently use online corpora to improve their written lexical range and accuracy. Experienced and less-experienced educators will leave with a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of training learners to use corpora, and several online tools and practical resources to use with their learners.

Learning academic vocabulary through a discovery-based approach
Nicole Keng (University of Vaasa, Finland)
This talk will examine the effectiveness of using corpora to learn academic vocabulary. The learning experiences and vocabulary knowledge of two groups of Finnish students will be compared. The findings will show how a discovery-based approach to academic vocabulary acquisition can profitably be embedded in EAP course design in a Finnish university context.

Exploring EAP teachers’ familiarity and experiences of corpora
Rachel Peacock (University of Nottingham Ningbo China)
This talk will present findings of a questionnaire investigating 52 EAP teachers’ understanding and practical classroom experience of corpora. Results highlight that the pedagogical potential of corpus-based applications remains at the research level. To address this, three user-friendly online reference tools that can be used by students or teachers in various teaching contexts will be introduced.
Data-driven learning – 25 years on
Crayton Walker (University of Birmingham)
Tim Johns from the University of Birmingham came up with the term Data Driven Learning (DDL) to describe the different ways language teachers can use corpora and corpus-based evidence in the classroom to support learning. In this workshop, I revisit DDL in order to find out how the methodology can be used with the online resources we currently have available.

Chatting in the academy: exploring spoken English for academic purposes
Michael McCarthy (Cambridge University Press)
How does spoken academic English typically differ from academic writing in university settings and how might this influence EAP materials? Using illustrations from corpora, this talk will focus on some key differences to be taken into account when planning materials. Practical examples will be drawn from the
new edition of Academic Vocabulary in Use and from Viewpoint (both CUP).