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Many disciplines draw on the power of data and experiments to teach students important knowledge and skills. For example, laboratory sessions, in which students get to learn through hands-on experience, are very common in fields such as chemistry and biology. Corpora, electronic databases of language samples, play an increasingly important role in language classrooms, providing teachers and learners with linguistic data and examples that can be integrated into classroom activities and teaching materials. Working with corpus-based data allows students to discover patterns in language and engage deeply with the learning process, creating robust and lasting knowledge.    

In this talk, I am going to introduce BNClab, an online, pedagogically-oriented platform developed to serve as a language ‘laboratory’ for English language students and teachers. It provides access to the newly-released British National Corpus 2014 (Brezina et al, 2021; Love et al. 2017), which represents current spoken and written British English. BNClab can be searched for a range of linguistic features, with the findings automatically visualised. It allows learners to explore trends in current English, the changes that took place in English over the last twenty years and the effect of social factors such as gender on language use. The platform thus offers a valuable resource for teaching about lexical, grammatical and social aspects of language use. The talk will introduce BNClab and its functionalities, illustrating different pedagogical activities and ready-made teaching materials available to use with BNClab.    

About the presenter

Dana Gablasova is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics and English Language and a researcher in the ESRC-funded Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University. Her expertise is in building and analysing large-scale corpora of learner English (e.g. Trinity Lancaster Corpus and the British Council-Lancaster Aptis corpus) and applying corpus research to language teaching and testing. She leads the Corpus for Schools project, which focuses on practical implementation of corpora into language teaching and offers free corpus-based English teaching materials. She is also the academic director of the annual Lancaster Summer Schools in Corpus Linguistics

About International Perspectives on Corpus Technology for Language Learning - Seminar Series

Given the challenges to language education posed by COVID-19, increasing collaborative development in online pedagogies and resources ensures continuity of language education throughout the pandemic, while preparing students to succeed in an uncertain post-COVID-19 world. This seminar series is a global initiative spanning multiple time zones, with participants from Brazil, the UK, the USA, France, Poland and Australia, discussing the latest applications of language corpora for (language) learning. Topics include the use of corpora for language education, corpus pragmatics, text analytics for classroom use, data-driven learning, and much more, with a range of famous international speakers.

If you would like to present or have any queries about the CORPUS Seminar series, please contact Peter Crosthwaite.

If you would like to receive invitations to our CORPUS seminars, please sign up here.

The seminars will take place in the following time zones: 9pm (Brisbane), 8am (Sao Paulo), 11am (UK)


Online via Zoom