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Wednesday Plenary Speaker Doug Biber

Doug Biber
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
Corpus Linguistics and Language Teaching: The Next Nexus?
Wednesday, March 30, 2-2:45 pm

In the last decade we have witnessed an explosion of research studies in corpus linguistics, an approach to describing language that employs sophisticated computer tools and quantitative techniques. These studies have shown that speakers and writers are much more systematic about their language use than we had previously guessed. The results of these studies are often surprising; prior to corpus research, linguists had sometimes failed to notice the most common linguistic patterns of use. However, those common patterns are arguably among the most important ones for learners. Surprisingly, few quantitative findings from corpus research have been translated into classroom applications. Although English language teaching has begun to use authentic language materials and corpus "concordancing," few pedagogical applications have been adapted to take account of corpus research findings. This session introduces corpus-based research and presents several case studies that illustrate how corpus findings can be directly relevant to classroom teaching and materials development--exploring the nexus between corpus findings and effective language teaching.

Doug Biber is a regents' professor of applied linguistics at Northern Arizona University. His research interests include sociolinguistics, computational and statistical tools for linguistics, corpus linguistics, and register variation (synchronic, diachronic, cross-linguistic).