ENGLISH CORPUS LINGUISTICS: A CASE STUDY AT UNIVERSITY LEVEL
Content lecturers have been teaching Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) courses at the University of Urbino, Italy, for a few years. In CLIL, subject-specific content is taught through the medium of a foreign language; content knowledge and foreign language development are enhanced in CLIL.
About 90% of CLIL courses are taught in English at the University of Urbino. Thus, corpus-driven findings have been deployed to create CLIL corpus-informed teaching materials in English. To this purpose, specialized course-tailored corpora have been compiled. Lexico-grammatical features and genre-specific patterns of content-specific discourse have been investigated by means of collocational statistics. Corpora have also been searched to retrieve the most commonly used lexical bundles and content-specific vocabulary items.
Online, course-tailored, corpus-informed, language awareness activities have been created; autonomous learning has thus been fostered in terms of proactive form-focused instruction “involv[ing] pre-planned instruction designed to enable students to notice and to use target language features that might otherwise not be used or even noticed in classroom discourse” (Lyster 2007). Corpus-driven findings have also been used to implement subject-specific Data-Driven Learning entailing, as Johns suggests, “three stages of inductive reasoning […]: observation (of concordanced evidence), classification (of salient features) and generalization (of rules)” (in McEnery et al. 2006).