A Review Of Current Research On Concordance English Language Essay

Concordancers have been viewed as valuable acquisition tools and used progressively in the linguistic communication schoolroom owing to the emerging impression of “ data-driven acquisition. ” The present paper reviews recent surveies on concordance-based EFL/ESL authorship to supply an overview of its current position. For the interest of convenience, the surveies are categorized into two types: ( 1 ) concordance-based attack to EFL/ESL authorship and ( 2 ) concordance-based computing machine platforms for EFL/ESL composing. Advantages and restrictions of each survey are pointed out, and eventually, possible waies for future research are stated.

Cardinal Wordss: concordance-based authorship, composing platform.


Corpus, every bit defined as “ a big aggregation of spoken and written texts ( Johns,

2000 ) ” was foremost utilized by linguists and research workers to analyze forms in linguistic communications. To pull out mark words or forms form the immense organic structure of texts in a principal, concordancers are designed. Since the 80s, principal ( largely mediated through harmony packages ) has been used progressively by linguistic communication instructors to function the intents of mistake analysis, stuff development, and the providing of reliable groundss to back up the regulations stated in text editions or grammar books. Until more late, principal audience started to have more and more attending in the linguistic communication schoolroom owing to the emerging impression of “ data-driven acquisition ” ( Johns,

1991, 1994 ) which regards principal and harmony lines as valuable and utile acquisition tools since they provide “ a great measure of lingual resources and linguistic communication illustrations ” ( Johns, 1994 ) for pupils to detect and research forms of linguistic communication by themselves. As a consequence, pupils can take more control over their acquisition, go active scholars, and accomplish higher scholar liberty.

Potential advantages of corpus-based instruction and larning abound in the literature. ( e.g. , Geoffry, 1994 ; Chamber, 1995 ; Johns, 1991 ; Sinclair, 1997 ; Sun,

2003, 2007 ) In footings of larning procedure, foremost, it provides an reliable discovery-based acquisition environment ( as opposed to the more traditional deductive manner of instruction and larning ) in which scholars act as “ linguistic communication research workers ” or “ linguistic communication investigators ” analysing and detecting actively lexical and grammatical uses on their ain. Succeeding the first point, corpus-based or concordance-based

attack promotes learner-centeredness. Apart from the fact that scholars can take


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

more control over their acquisition, the acquisition procedure is besides tailored to run into single demands. Once pupils become acquainted with harmony package, they can utilize it to analyse whatever linguistic communication use that they feel interested in or they have inquiry about. Finally, reverse to invented and unreal linguistic communication illustration, corpus attack supports the usage of “ existent or reliable linguistic communication ” in the schoolroom. Students learn descriptive linguistic communication regulations instead than normative 1s, which may assist bridge the spread of “ schoolroom English ” and “ existent English ” , therefore enabling them to reassign what they learn in the schoolroom to the existent universe more successfully.

In footings of larning result, it is believed that scholar ‘s analytical ability improves during principal audience. In add-on, research workers have pointed out that as scholars consciously explore the mark linguistic communication through confer withing principal, their ain profile of linguistic communication significance and uses grow. That is, “ pupils ‘ linguistic communication consciousness is enhanced in footings of vocabulary, grammar and even genre of linguistic communication. ” ( Sun, 2007, p.325 ) Such claim is well-supported by empirical groundss. Studies has shown that corpus-based attack has positive influence on different facets of linguistic communication development, such as vocabulary and collocation acquisition, grammatical and syntactical cognition development, composing preparation, and even critical thought and cultural acquisition.

However, to day of the month, much of the research on concordancers has focused on analytical manner of linguistic communication larning such as lexical, grammar and collocation acquisition ( e.g. , Chen, 2000 ; Cobb, 1999 ; Lee, 2002 ; Lin, 2003 ; Todd, 2001 ; Wang,

2001 ; Woolard, 2000 ; Sun & A ; Wang, 2003 ; Chan & A ; Liou, 2005 ; Shei, 2000 ) , which are the alleged “ edifice blocks of linguistic communication ” , trusting pupils can use this cognition to their linguistic communication production. Few surveies address straight issues refering the

sweetening of pupils ‘ holistic productive accomplishment, more specifically, composing accomplishment.


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

Therefore, the present survey purposes to supply an overview on concordance-based composing research to see what has been do so far every bit good as to supply possible waies for future research.


In the undermentioned subdivision, several recent surveies on concordance-based authorship will be discussed in footings of their research design, virtues, and restrictions. For the interest of convenience, these surveies are categorized into two types: surveies that employ a concordance-based attack to composing preparation, and surveies that utilize or design an ( online ) platform to help pupil authorship.

Concordance-based attack to EFL/ESL composing

A typical research design of these surveies is that during the intervention stage, pupils are instructed to seek or place mark linguistic communication characteristics ( e.g. , genre-specific lexical points ) in a monolingual/bilingual mention principal ( either a ready-made principal or self-compiled 1s ) with the aid of a harmony package, and sometimes there are follow-up exercisings to reenforce pupils ‘ newly-formed cognition. Finally the pupils are asked to compose up a paragraph or self-correct their ain essays as appraisal of the attack. More recent and representative illustrations are that of Weber ‘s ( 2001 ) , Yeh, Liou, & A ; Li ( 2007 ) , and Todd ‘s ( 2001 ) .

Weber ( 2001 ) proposed a concordance- and genre-based attack to academic composing for non-native pupils. Samples of average legal essays were foremost compiled as a mention principal. Students so used simple concordancing tools ( i.e. , the Longman

Mini-Concordancer and Wordsmith ) to place hand in glove with their equals


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

structural features every bit good as genre-specific lexical points in formal legal essays. Finally, pupils wrote up a mini essay utilizing the generic characteristics and lexical points they had identified in old activities. The consequences showed that although most participants considered such concordance-based undertakings disputing, this attack did do the complex essay-writing more accessible to the pupils by bit by bit constructing their consciousness of genre-specific lexico-structural regularities. However, no statistical grounds had been provided to demo how far this attack helped the pupils with their academic authorship.

To decide the job that nonnative authors tend to overdrive general adjectives in their authorship, Yeh et Al ( 2007 ) designed five on-line units turn toing five over-used adjectives ( i.e. , of import, beautiful, difficult, deep, and large ) based on a bilingual harmony TANGO to increase nonnative author ‘s consciousness of the underused specific adjectives in English. The participants included 19 first-year English big leagues, who were required to separate synonymous adjectives from bilingual harmony lines and pattern utilizing the specific adjectives in subsequent undertakings. The consequences indicated that the participants ‘ word cognition for equivalent word usage improved in both the immediate and delayed authorship undertakings. In add-on, over half of the pupils considered the data-driven stuffs and undertakings used in this survey to be good to their authorship though disputing. The survey therefore concluded that TANGO is a utile tool for larning equivalent word and their collocates.

Unlike Weber ( 2001 ) and Yeh et Al ( 2007 ) who used principal audience in the pre-writing direction, Todd ( 2001 ) use it in the post-writing phases inquiring pupils to self-correct authorship mistake induced by lexical points. The participants included 25 postgraduate pupils of scientific discipline and technology in a Thai university. Two misused

lexical points were located by the teacher in each pupil ‘s authorship. Examples of


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

these lexical points include classify, attached, and capable. Then the pupils were asked to seek for 10 cases of usage of the points with FAST Search on the cyberspace and compiled these cases as a mini principal from which they can bring on forms of the mark lexical points. At last, they were required to self-correct their original authorship based on the form they induced from the harmony. The consequences indicated that most pupil were able to bring on lexical uses and use these uses to their self-correction of composing mistakes successfully. In instances where pupil failed to do valid initiation and ego rectification, it was believed that feature of a lexical point ( e.g. , portion of address, figure of parts of address, Numberss of forms of use, and figure of significances ) were likely to ensue in trouble of initiation.

Harmonizing to Xudong ‘s ( 2007 ) reappraisal of composing teaching method in the literature, there are three chief attacks to the instruction of ESL/EFL authorship: merchandise, procedure, and genre attack. Product-based attacks view composing as “ chiefly concerned with cognition about the construction of linguistic communication, and composing development as chiefly the consequence of the imitation of input. “ ( Xudong, 2007, p.15 ) In other words, sentence-level truth is its chief concern. Whereas the process-based attacks focused more on developing pupils ‘ composing accomplishments, such as planning, drafting, and rewriting, and seting accent on content, thoughts, and dialogue of significance in pupils Hagiographas. The last teaching method, the genre-based attack, positions composing as “ efforts to pass on in societal contexts. ” Thus a author has to bring forth a text following constrains set by assorted contextual factors, such as the intent, the capable affair, and the relationship between the author and the reader. From the above three surveies, it seems that concordance-based attack combines nicely the rules of the aforesaid three teaching method, concentrating on sentence-level truth every bit good as

genre-specific characteristics, and to some extent promoting self-correction and alteration


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

of composing on the portion of pupils. From this position, Concordance-based attack should n’t be regarded as a fixed manner of learning authorship, but a flexible instruction method which can be applied at any point of composing direction ( before, during, and after composing ) . Although many surveies have reported promising consequences of concordance-based attack to learning ESL/EFL composing, such attack is non without its restrictions which will be the subject of treatment of the following subdivision.

Potential challenges of Concordance-based instruction

There are two obvious obstructions of using concordance-based attack to learning composing in Taiwan. The first 1 concerns about pupils ‘ larning manner penchants. In general, pupils in Taiwan are more accustomed to deductive instruction and acquisition, in which the instructor illustrates straight how a sentence form or grammatical regulations is used in English with illustrations. That is to state, the instructor normally does most of the speaking and explicating in the schoolroom and the pupils ‘ occupation is to treat what the instructor has taught and use this cognition to wining exercisings or undertakings. Such manner of instruction and acquisition is considered to be less time-consuming and effortless ( at least on the portion of the pupils ) . Therefore, it is really likely that pupils make ailments about blowing clip or excessively much mental exercising during the initiation procedure. A possible solution to this job is utilizing teacher-selected harmony lines so as to “ simplify ” pupils ‘ initiation procedure and salvage clip. The intent of this pre-selection of cases incorporating mark linguistic communication forms is to guarantee pupils merely read harmony lines whose lingual trouble are non manner beyond pupils ‘ current degree of linguistic communication proficiency and whose forms are to some grade obvious for pupils to detect without giving the reliable

nature of linguistic communication illustrations. It should be noted that the grade of controlees should


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

lessening as pupils ‘ linguistic communication proficiency grow.

The 2nd obvious challenge of using concordance-based attack is that it normally requires a certain degree of reading proficiency, therefore connoting trouble of bring oning from harmony lines. This can be seen from the fact that most of the concordance-based surveies recruit higher-proficiency degree pupils as their participants. Still, some of the participants claimed that such inductive activity is really ambitious. This determination is aligned with Yeh et Al ‘s ( 2007 ) claim that “ Adequate English proficiency is one key component for successful initiation. ( p.147 ) ” Consequently, how to scaffold efficaciously lower-proficiency scholars in the procedure of inductive acquisition will be a major challenge for linguistic communication teachers. Possible solutions are, for illustration, supplying more counsel to assist pupils accomplish successful initiation, holding pupil work hand in glove or collaboratively during initiation, or utilizing teacher-selected principal informations alternatively of natural 1s. The last measure seems to be necessary for harmony to be applied to lower-proficiency pupils.

Concordance-based platform for ESL/EFL composing

The 2nd type of survey involves surveies that incorporate a concordance-based authorship platform. A typical map of the platforms is that it can automatically turn up pupil ‘s writing mistakes and supply harmony lines incorporating the misused lexical points for authors to detect the existent use of the point. For illustration, Shei and Pain ( 2001 ) devised a Collocation Tutor taking to ease collocation mistake sensing in pupils ‘ Hagiographas. To this terminal, foremost a scholar principal was analyzed to roll up mistake forms which were used to observe indistinguishable misused collocations in input texts. Then a mention principal was built to pull out right collocations so as to except right

uses in the input. Uniting the benefits from these two principals, the Collocation


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

Coach was able to consistently acknowledge the miscollocations in pupils ‘ Hagiographas and allow pupils to detect the use in reliable linguistic communication when they made a error. Similar to Collocaion Tutor, the Writing Assistant developed by Chang, Chen, and Liou ( 2008 ) besides aimed to observe and rectify collocation mistakes in pupil authorship. However, Chang et Al. ‘s Writing Assistant was more trim to the demands of Chinese pupils by concentrating on V-N collocation mistakes that were attributable to L1 interventions. For illustration, Chinese scholars of English tend to miswrite “ make prep ” as “ *write prep ” and “ take medical specialty ” as “ *eat medical specialty ” because they merely interpret word by word the L1 significance into English. Collocation mistakes such as “ *write prep ” and “ *eat medical specialty ” were compiled as an mistake bank in the system. After inputting a text, the Writing Assistant will first pull out automatically all V-N collocations, detects any possible abuses, and so provide alternate collocations that are considered more equal for the users. If the two platforms can really help pupils to rectify collocation mistakes in composing merely as they have claimed, it can convey several advantages. First, pupils will take more duties of their authorship, rectifying obvious mistakes before subjecting their plants to the teacher. Consequently, teacher ‘s grading clip may be reduced. Second, pupils may get frequent collocations by rectifying them over and over once more. However, the inquiry is whether the systems can right turn up mistakes and whether pupils can bring forth a more appropriate linguistic communication form and execute “ valid rectification ” after reading the harmony lines provided by the system. Further research is required to decide the inquiry.

Different from the aforesaid two systems which concentrating merely on the lingual rightness of pupil authorship, the Scholarly Writing Template ( Sun, 2007 )

provides information sing linguistic communication use every bit good as overall construction of authorship.


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

Aiming to scaffold the complex procedure of academic authorship, the Scholarly Writing Template consisted of two sub-templates: a linguistic communication templet which contained a student-compiled discipline-specific principal and a concordancer as a beginning of linguistic communication illustrations ; the other was an information templet which included standard moves of academic documents to steer authors ‘ content development and organisation. This templet was tested with 20 alumnus pupils in an academic authorship class appraising their perceptual experience of the SWT. The consequences showed that most pupils held a positive position toward the SWT, and that pupil variables such as publication experience and linguistic communication proficiency affected pupil ‘s schemes when utilizing SWT. For illustration, pupils of lower linguistic communication proficiency tended to trust to a great extent on the linguistic communication templet, happening and rephrasing linguistic communication illustrations in the harmony alternatively of composing on their ain. Besides, pupils with less publication experiences tended to follow purely the criterion moves and stairss of academic authorship provided by the information templet, making less alteration than pupils with more publication experience. Another interesting determination was that pupils of higher linguistic communication proficiency tended to fall back to other on-line concordancers to supplement the inadequacy of the linguistic communication templet because the size of principal in the linguistic communication templet was merely excessively little to give valid initiation.

The last authorship platform reviewed is Wible et Al ‘s IWiLL ( 2001 ) , which was an on-line platform for pupils to turn-in their essays and instructors to give feedbacks over the online system. The premises behind the designing of the system was that “ the ideal online system for EFL composing category should be synergistic ( p.299 ) , ” one that allowed accretion and retrieval of pupil production, instructor feedbacks and pupil alteration at their petition. That is to state, the system could track all the three

types of information ( pupil production, teacher remark, pupil alteration ) and


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

let for key-word-in-context hunts either by instructors or pupils. Advantages of the system includes first pupils ‘ opportunities of doing the same errors in their authorship may be reduced because they could easy recover instructor feedback on their old Hagiographas through the system. As a consequence, their writing proficiency may bit by bit better due to take down figure of mistakes in their authorship. Second, instructors may necessitate less rating clip non merely because pupils do n’t do the same error repeatedly, but besides because they can recover and glue the same feedback to different pupils who make the same error in their Hagiographas. Last but non least, since the system tack consistently pupils wiring procedure, the instructor can research quantitatively the most commonly-made errors in all pupils ‘ authorship, and pass more clip turn toing this trouble shared by most pupils in category. However, one major defect of the system is the deficiency of reliable linguistic communication illustrations since instructor feedback is the lone beginning of input.

Overall speech production, these four composing platform reviewed all portion the effort to do the complex authorship procedure more accessible either by supplying linguistic communication illustrations and structural information or trailing pupils composing procedure. Each platform has its virtues and restrictions. It seems that none of them is complete or “ all-in-one ” , consisting all the indispensable aids that scholars need during the authorship procedure. Therefore, it is the instructor ‘s occupation to choose the most suited tool for a certain group of pupils harmonizing to their specific demands.


There is small uncertainty that EFL/ESL authorship is a complex and ambitious undertakings for most linguistic communication scholars and it is necessary that instructors design a assortment of activities


Concordance-Based EFL Writing

or utilize computing machine tools to decide pupils ‘ composing troubles. So far, the present paper has reviewed several surveies on concordance-based EFL/ESL authorship, turn outing that harmony can be a valuable tool in this country if used suitably.

For farther research way, foremost, surveies can be done to measure in item the four authorship platforms discussed in the old subdivision, lending practical suggestions to better the utility of these systems. Second, Surveies can be done to look into teacher perceptual experiences of utilizing concordance-based activities or computing machine tools since this subject is rarely tackled in the old surveies. Last but non least, research can be done to look into the consequence of instructor choice of harmony informations on pupils ‘ initiation procedure and on their acquisition of mark linguistic communication form, since it is still ill-defined whether such pre-selection can simplify the initiation procedure without giving any possible advantages of bring oning from a natural harmony informations.

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