When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989, could he have foreseen how radically it would change our lives? Web 2.0 – a name for all the internet features, websites, and apps that allow users to create, change, and share internet content – has brought about a revolution in (amongst other things) the way our economy works. Like most advances in technology, it brings a new set of words with it, and some of these have recently made their appearance for the first time in the Cambridge dictionary. Continue reading “The sharing economy: Part 1”
Following on from Prof Ronald Carter’s blog entry ‘A few words on corpus linguistics’, Dr Rachele De Felice looks in more detail at what we can learn from the language of emails.
How often do you use email for professional purposes? According to some reports, “the average worker fields more than 100 emails every day”, and most people in other walks of life also often have to write a business email. If email communication is central to your business, you probably make sure that your message comes across as professional, effective, and polite – but have you ever thought about just what it is in the message that gives this impression?
Everyone has their own writing style, of course, but there are certain words and phrases that tend to appear very often in professional email communication as a typical, almost expected way of expressing something – so it is useful to know what they are, and when to use them. Continue reading “What can we learn from emails?”
by Ron Carter
Part 2 of 2
In the second of this two-part blog entry, Prof. Ronald Carter of the University of Nottingham looks in more detail at the kind of information corpora can reveal about the use of language and why this is so important for the development of language teaching materials. Continue reading “A few words on corpus linguistics part 2”
Part 1 of 2
by Ron Carter
In the first of a two-part blog entry, Prof. Ronald Carter of the University of Nottingham provides a brief introduction to corpora and corpus linguistics, exploring ways in which corpora are currently being used to inform language teaching and the development of teaching materials.
What is a corpus?
corpus noun (plural corpuses or corpora) the collection of a single writer’s work or of writing about a particular subject, or a large amount of written and sometimes spoken material collected to show the state of a language
Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Third Edition (2008) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Many corpora these days run to millions of words. The British National Corpus (BNC), for example, consists of 100 million words of English: a written part (90%) includes newspapers, magazines, journals, books, letters, memos, essays, etc and a spoken part (10%) includes conversations, recorded in a way that achieves a demographic balance, as well as a range of spoken language from business or government meetings, radio shows, phone-ins, etc. These large collections of text are stored and read electronically, allowing researchers to employ a variety of software to reveal different patterns of language that exist within the corpus.