Ken Hyland, Chau Meng Huat and Michael Handford (Eds.) 2013. Corpus Applications in Applied Linguistics

By Maci, Stefania M. | European English Messenger, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

Ken Hyland, Chau Meng Huat and Michael Handford (Eds.) 2013. Corpus Applications in Applied Linguistics


Maci, Stefania M., European English Messenger


Ken Hyland, Chau Meng Huat and Michael Handford (eds.) 2013. Corpus Applications in Applied Linguistics. London & New York: Bloomsbury, 260 pp., ISBN 978-1-4725-2486-7.

This volume tries to capture the most intriguing developments brought by corpus research to applied linguistics; it covers a wide variety of fields, from academic and professional discourse, through forensic, gender and media studies, to second language acquisition, and from English as a lingua franca to more novel research niches, such as documentary photography. The main purpose of the book is to show not only the relevance but also the array of studies and approaches that can be carried out with corpus research.

Some of the multifaceted contexts covered by Corpus Linguistics (CL) are dealt with in an introduction, thirteen chapters and an afterword, organised in five different sections: (i) Corpora in Applied Linguistics, (ii) Corpora and institutional use of language, (iii) Corpora and Applied Linguistics domains, (iv) Corpora in new spheres of study and (v) Corpora, Language learning and pedagogy. The chapters contained in each section deal with a specific topic and each "presents a synthesis of both past and current research on the topic" (4).

(i) Corpora in Applied Linguistics

The first section contains the Introduction, which is also a welcome to the reader. It is well elaborated and guides the reader through the book by introducing the audience to the topic dealt with in it, at the same time providing a good synopsis of its chapters.

(ii) Corpora and institutional use of language

Michael Handford's contribution, "Professional Communication and Corpus Linguistics", opens the first section of the volume, devoted to the relationship between corpora and institutional language use, and shows how corpora can contribute to pedagogy and training research in professional contexts. Drawing from an ongoing research project, the author shows how CL can be used to develop educational materials, thus supporting "Firth's (2009) call for more corpora of authentic professional international communication" (26).

Ken Hyland's chapter, "Corpora and Academic Discourse", reveals how corpus studies have contributed to a better understanding of academic discourse across disciplines, genres and languages, both in oral and written styles. An illustrative example is given, indicating how CL may reveal the extent to which evaluative features in book reviews are influenced by gender and discipline. Corpus studies, in short, underlines the importance corpora have for Academic Discourse in terms of informing EAP course design and teaching.

In "Corpora and Workplace Discourse", Almut Koester explores the characteristics of workplace discourse occurring in professional and institutional contexts, where the author shows how language use in the workplace exhibits lexico-grammar as well as pragmatic features, which make it distinct from everyday discourse. Furthermore, data reveal that the interpersonal dimension, ranging from social to intimate interaction, depends on power differences which influence, maintain and reinforce politeness strategies.

(iii) Corpora in Applied Linguistics domains

The third section opens with a chapter by Sara Laviosa, "Corpora and Translation Studies", in which the author traces the development of corpus use in translation studies from its advent in the early 1990s to the present day. After explaining corpus methods in translation studies, and how corpus studies of translation have contributed to the development of Descriptive Translation Studies, the author claims that, with the turn of the millennium, the concerns of descriptive corpus studies of translation have varied considerably. Laviosa then concludes by predicting possible ways in which corpora may influence translation studies in teaching and practice contexts.

John Olsson's contribution, "Some Aspects of the Use of Corpora in Forensic Linguistics", gives instances of how CL can be used in forensic contexts. …

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