Corpus data can be used as teaching material, either directly or in a pre-edited form (Partington 2001: 63). Learners can be trained to use corpora by themselves in order to carry out investigations into language use to identify and learn recurrent patterns in relation to context.Concordancing can provide teachers and learners with data that may help understand syntactic phenomena. They enable the user to look for recurrent patterns in the co-text, which may offer clues to the meaning and usage of the search word itself. However, since concordances do not offer explanations but simply data which need further analysis, this enhances the role of learners as “researchers” (Johns 1991). Bernardini (2001: 227) underlines the journey-like nature of corpus-based language activities with attention focused on an in-between point in the learning experience and on the mind-broadening potential of activities which stimulate the learner to observe and reflect on aspects of language and culture which they may never have focused on before.However, despite the huge amount of corpus-based and corpus-driven research carried out in recent years, as Gavioli points out “the use of corpora as tools in the hands of teachers and learners is moving on very hesitatingly” (2005: 1).This study was meant to check if and to what extent Corpus Linguistics can be effectively used in teaching English to students of non-linguistic Faculties. It was primarily aimed at enhancing the students’ awareness both of the specific lexico-grammatical and syntactic features characterising the discourse of Foreign Relations and of the links existing between political/diplomatic discourse strategies and global as well as local socio-political issues. It is premised on the belief that learning a language can be greatly facilitated if one understands how language works and operates in a given textual environment being embedded in the discoursal practices of professional communities. Such a view has appeared to foster a genuine interest of the learners in the use of language to achieve communicative goals and in the analysis of discoursal practices.This report is structured as follows. In the first part (section 2) we put forward arguments that appear to encourage the adoption of Corpus Linguistics in the teaching of English in the Faculty of Political Science. In the second part (section 3) we illustrate the work carried out in the English Language course on a seminar-like basis as follows: a theoretical introduction to the use of Corpus Linguistics in the study of political discourse; a practical introduction to the use of corpus tools and methodology with the assistance of the teacher, in order to analyse texts already encountered by the students in the classroom; a final report written by the students as the outcome of corpus analysis carried out autonomously on small specialised corpora consisting of official documents about terrorism issued both by the United Nations and the White House.
|Titolo:||Discovering patterns in the discourse of foreign relations. Corpus analysis in an ESP course for International Relations students|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|