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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Speakers: Dr Teresa Parodi (Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics) and Dr Pascual Perez-Paredes (Faculty of Education)


Longitudinal corpora of untutored learners

Teresa Parodi, Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

The majority of L2 learner corpora around consists of production by classroom learners, mostly written essays. By its nature this type of corpus is cross-sectional. On the other hand there are also corpora that consist of spoken data obtained in - more or less - spontaneous interaction between untutored learners with native speakers in a longitudinal format.  Several corpora of this type were compiled in European countries mainly in the 1970s and 1980s and the data have been used all along. I will give examples from the ZISA and the ESF corpora and of the type of questions that can be addressed on the basis of these data.


Noun Phrases in Spanish young learners of EFL: insights from the International Corpus of Crosslinguistic Interlanguage (ICCI)

Pascual Pérez-Paredes, RSLE, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Analyses of learner writing of different proficiency levels have traditionally used either the CAF measures in SLA studies or typically erroneous accounts of some aspects of the foreign language in Learner Corpus Research (LCR). Among other topics, researchers have looked at signalling nouns, countable and uncountable nouns, articles and noun count nouns, article use or the complexity of the noun phrase. These studies show two types of limitations: most informants are young adults at university levels and, in general, they do not offer a comprehensive picture of the writing of noun phrases by learners. This session offers a characterization of Spanish EFL learners at the lower and higher levels. My aim is to determine if there is any change at all in the complexity of the noun phrases they use from Grade 7 to Grade 12.

The learner corpus analysed is a subsection of the Spanish subcomponent of the ICCI corpus (Tono & Díez-Bedmar, 2014). Such subsection is composed of the essays written on the topic ‘Describe your favourite film’ in Grades 7, 8, 11 and 12 (i.e. the first two years of compulsory secondary education and the last two years in non-compulsory secondary education). All in all, 4,513 noun phrases in 178 essays (17,840 words) were manually analysed and tagged to account for the complexity in the students’ noun phrases in the four institutional statuses.

The results obtained in the cross-sectional analyses reveal important differences in learner writing at different levels concerning their most frequent use of, among others, infinitive markers, finality markers, auxiliary verbs and adverbs.  The most frequent use of the above-mentioned characteristics in the noun phrases written by EFL learners at different levels may point to the existence of positive linguistic features in learner writing at different institutional statuses. This session will discuss how these features profile the noun phrase structure of learners’ use of Noun Phrases and its impact on SLA and other related disciplines.

Thursday, 28 January, 2016 - 13:00 to 14:30
Contact name: 
Prof. Wendy Bennett
Contact email: 
Event location: 
GR05, English Faculty

What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.