Moscow Region State University (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 9014-9019
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0693
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The study is to show how corpus-based methods map out the strategy for helping with the acquisition of idiomatic expressions and figures of speech. The aim of this approach is to provide students with scaffolds relying on which they will be able to develop their metaphoric competence and take fun out of learning at the same time.

Idioms represent an essential characteristic of effective communication. Harold E. Palmer determined phraseology as the key to fluency in a foreign language. On the other hand, mastering idioms presents severe difficulties related to remembering, semantization and performance.

Corpus-based approach provides a means of constructing a lexico-grammatical word profile: its general context, syntactic patterns, semantic prosady. All these aspects taken into account help learners come to grips with the grammatical company the idioms keep and their discourse. For example, to provide solid language skills and depth of cultural understanding many programs of university curricula require students to read classical books on a par with modern literature, which very often creates confusion as the students are unable to decipher which idiomatic expressions belong to the active or to the passive vocabulary of native speakers, which age groups use this or that idiom. Among Russian learners such idioms as it's raining cats and dogs, my cup of tea are very popular, though they might bring a smile or confusion to English speakers. The same story is with the French idioms un averti en vaut deux and mener quelqu'un en bateau.

In this regard, it is essential for a teacher to have an array of resources to maximize the learning process and to put across the importance of verifying the figurative usage of idiomatic expressions via language corpora, thus bringing diverse, reliable and authentic data in class. The use of corpora in class is known as data-driven learning, when learners act as researchers of the language rather than imitators.

As a basic premise, corpus-based approach to teaching should rest on several main principles: accessibility and clarity of tasks (guiding principle) as well as learners' motivation.

Taking into account all the benefits of data-driven learning we implemented corpus-based tasks in foreign language classes to see how they can help students to enhance their knowledge of the languages they study and their culture. The tasks we devised fell into 4 groups: receptive and productive, aspect and complex ones. The outcome was the increased awareness of the aspects of the usage in sentences and connotation of phraseological units. Moreover it developed students' autonomy and cognitive skills.
Corpus-based approach, phraseological units, teaching foreign languages.