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CONCORDANCERS IN THE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF FOREIGN-LANGUAGE COURSES

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Abstract

More and more further and higher education courses have to be designed for learners who have no previous knowledge of the foreign language but who have specific academic and/or professional interests. This paper maintains that their motivation and specialized knowledge can be exploited if foreign language learning is integrated with the academic/professional curriculum. This interdisciplinary approach clashes with traditional categories of foreign language teaching-such as grading and selection of teaching materials-which seem to exclude major variations in the route of foreign language acquisition, particularly at early stages. It is argued that materials can be selected or designed on the basis of subject and genre related criteria to suit the academic/professional needs and interests of the learners. The resulting set of texts constitutes a small, pedagogical corpus, which is a subset of the discourse type(s) characterizing the discourse community to which the learners belong. The description of the texts obtained via the concordancer constitutes a corpus-specific grammar, which enables the teacher to focus learning activities on relevant linguistic forms and functions. The computer also produces a selected dictionary and a bank of authentic, contextualized examples. The result is a viable top-down approach to foreign language learning, which incorporates textual features of sectorial discourse types even in ab initio courses

Topics: QA76, L
Publisher: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:20292
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