Data-driven learning in German for academic purposes: A corpus-based approach for specialist learners

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Abstract

Following the rationale that corpora have an important part to play in fostering language awareness, this paper investigates the use of corpora in the teaching of German as a foreign language. Over the past decade, corpus-based research has had an increasing influence on language teaching pedagogy (cf. Tribble & Jones, 1989; Johns & King, 1991; Wichmann et al., 1997; Kennedy, 1998; McEnery & Wilson, 2001). While the majority of studies reporting on corpus-based teaching approaches refer to English, only a small number of studies have discussed such an approach for German (e.g. Dodd, 1997; Jones, 1997; Möllering, 2001). This paper describes an approach to teaching German designed for students who wish to acquire a reading knowledge of the German language, specifically for research purposes in the field of Ancient History where a large number of standard texts are published in German. The paper discusses the design and compilation of a corpus of German academic texts, which serves as a basis for linguistic analysis of semantic, morphological and syntactic patterns through procedures commonly employed in corpus analysis, such as compilation of word lists, frequency counts and concordances. While existing corpora of written German focus mainly on press and literary texts, a specialised corpus as examined here can serve as a database for research into the linguistic structures particular to academic texts in German, notably in the domain of Ancient History. In this contribution, the exploitation of language corpora is proposed in order to arrive at authentic teaching materials in the field of German for Academic Purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReconfiguring Europe
Subtitle of host publicationThe Contribution of Applied Linguistics
EditorsConstant Leung, Jennifer Jenkins
Place of PublicationSheffield, UK
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Pages105-119
Number of pages15
Volume20
ISBN (Electronic)9781845535681
ISBN (Print)184553090X, 9781845530907
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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