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CORPORA AND LEXICAL SEMANTICS: A PLURILINGUAL APPROACH IN ESL

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Author(s): Gloria Branca

Journal: Language and Literature : European Landmarks of Identity
ISSN 1843-1577

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2011;
Start page: 344;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: corpora | lexis | language teaching

ABSTRACT
Corpus-based research and teaching have been carried out predominantly for advanced language learners, especially in translation, English for Specific Purpose (ESP) and literary stylistics activities. This study investigates effective pedagogical uses of corpora for elementary English as a Second Language (ESL) learners, grounded in the European perspective of promoting plurilingualism as a linguistic repertory. An A/R project was carried out with CEF A2 Italian students to foster learning progression in semantic and lexical competences through the exploitation of corpora and new digital environments. ESL and Ancient Greek were the languages targeted, and data-driven learning through the use of web 2.0 and corpora tools took place. Participatory processes of text manipulation and linguistic observation were encouraged to promote awareness of systematic lexical phenomena (frequency of occurrence, semantic relations and collocation). The small-scale study showed how even at an elementary level corpus-based pedagogy supported a plurilingual approach, which: a. facilitated transfer between languages; b. equipped learners with innovative discovery learning tools, which they could exploit in following language-learning phases; c. fostered learners’ metacognition and autonomy in managing semantic learning process.
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