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The L2 syllabus: corpus or contrivance?

The L2 syllabus: corpus or contrivance? Corpus linguists have argued that corpora allow us to present lexical and grammatical patterns to language learners as they occur in real language, thereby exposing the learner to authentic target language (Mindt, 1996; Biber et al ., 2002; Sinclair, 2004). And there is now a growing body of empirical research into how corpus studies can benefit ELT materials design and development (Ljung, 1990, 1991; Römer, 2004, 2005). This study investigates how the present perfect is represented in a spoken corpus and in ELT textbooks. The objective is to see whether corpus frequency data can make textbook present perfect presentation represent reality more accurately, and also whether there are sometimes pedagogic aims that may override frequency considerations. Results show that textbooks fail to represent adequately how present perfect interacts with other verb forms to create hybrid tenses such the present perfect passive. Textbooks also over-represent the frequency of structures such as the present perfect continuous. Adverbs such as yet and already are much more frequent in textbooks than in the corpus. Textbook writers seem to deliberately exaggerate the frequency of such adverbs, and arguably use them as tense markers or flagging devices so that learners will expect to see present perfect when they see yet and already . This suggests that disregard for natural frequency data may be justifiable if pedagogic considerations of this kind are taken into account. So, while corpus data provides important and useful frequency data for the teaching of grammar, pedagogic objectives may sometimes require that frequency data is disregarded. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Corpora Edinburgh University Press

The L2 syllabus: corpus or contrivance?

Corpora , Volume 2 (2): 157 – Nov 1, 2007

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References (36)

Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
1749-5032
eISSN
1755-1676
DOI
10.3366/cor.2007.2.2.157
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Corpus linguists have argued that corpora allow us to present lexical and grammatical patterns to language learners as they occur in real language, thereby exposing the learner to authentic target language (Mindt, 1996; Biber et al ., 2002; Sinclair, 2004). And there is now a growing body of empirical research into how corpus studies can benefit ELT materials design and development (Ljung, 1990, 1991; Römer, 2004, 2005). This study investigates how the present perfect is represented in a spoken corpus and in ELT textbooks. The objective is to see whether corpus frequency data can make textbook present perfect presentation represent reality more accurately, and also whether there are sometimes pedagogic aims that may override frequency considerations. Results show that textbooks fail to represent adequately how present perfect interacts with other verb forms to create hybrid tenses such the present perfect passive. Textbooks also over-represent the frequency of structures such as the present perfect continuous. Adverbs such as yet and already are much more frequent in textbooks than in the corpus. Textbook writers seem to deliberately exaggerate the frequency of such adverbs, and arguably use them as tense markers or flagging devices so that learners will expect to see present perfect when they see yet and already . This suggests that disregard for natural frequency data may be justifiable if pedagogic considerations of this kind are taken into account. So, while corpus data provides important and useful frequency data for the teaching of grammar, pedagogic objectives may sometimes require that frequency data is disregarded.

Journal

CorporaEdinburgh University Press

Published: Nov 1, 2007

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