Making best use of corpora for English Language Teaching

Aisling O'Boyle, Vander Viana

Research output: Other contribution


Helping learners, teachers and teacher educators improve their awareness of how language works is a key goal in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) worldwide. From everyday conversations, to business meetings and academic lectures, access to all kinds of digital language data is now possible using a corpus. A corpus is a digital collection of textual examples created for the purposes of exploring how language is used (Sinclair, 2004). The millions of words and phrases in a corpus can be searched and retrieved instantly, using similar technical skills as those required by standard search engines. The benefits of using corpora in language teaching and learning have been well documented in the literature such as the provision of better quality language input for learners; the development of more accurate grammatical and vocabulary knowledge; and the design of more reliable teaching materials; the facilitation of students’ and teachers’ control over their own learning and teaching. Surprisingly, the potential of corpora in ELT remains largely untapped.

The materials presented here have been created by the authors of a British Council funded English Language Teaching Research Awards (ELTRA) project which aimed to understand and evaluate the use of corpora for ELT. The project team developed guides on how to use a corpus in ELT for learners, teachers, and teacher educators as well as a checklist for evaluating corpus websites with a view to bridging the gap between corpus research and pedagogical practice in ELT.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputWeb publication
PublisherBritish Council
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2021


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