Comparing English Worldwide: The International Corpus of English

By Sidney Greenbaum | Go to book overview

16
ICE and Teaching

JOHN M. KIRK


1. INTRODUCTION

The British component of the International Corpus of English (hereafter ICE-GB) makes available a new, machine-readable resource to teachers of native-speaker students and foreign learners. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate possible uses of ICE-GB in both of these teaching contexts. Although ICE-GB is intended to form the basis of authoritative descriptions of British English for years to come, the material lends itself for teaching and for assessment work in its copious supply of fresh data from across a wide range of spoken and written registers.

As far as mother-tongue teaching is concerned, ICE-GB enables students to learn about the structure of English, to develop a descriptive and theoretical vocabulary, and to cultivate a methodology for dealing analytically with, and writing effectively about, language. Following Kirk ( 1994a), this paper considers the likely use of ICE-GB in terms of three central characteristics of the student approach to language study which I have developed at the Queen's University of Belfast: data. model of analysis, and the analysis itself, which correspond to higher-level issues in corpus linguistic methodology in general, and which receive special emphasis in my course.

As far as teaching foreign learners is concerned, ICE-GB represents the target language and can be used as a source of data and of teaching materials. This paper considers how it can be used in grammatical and lexical teaching, and focuses specifically on aspects of adverb and preposition differentiation, of vocabulary improvement (specifically synonymy, polysemy, lexical differentiation, and collocation), and of affixation and word structure.


2. THE QUEEN'S COURSE

Since 1983 I have taught a course originally called 'Varieties of English' and now called 'Corpus Linguistics: Analysing Spoken and Written English'. Much of this course prepares students for a project which they are required to submit as the sole piece of assessment.

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