A critical view on the use of corpora

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Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan (United States), John Swales initially warns his readers that he is not an insider when it comes to the foundations of Corpus Linguistics. Perhaps this detachment allows him to report on how he changed his understanding of the corpus approach from a science to a methodology. Although he worked with both the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE) and the Michigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP), Swales argues against the idea that the corpus approach should be the only one available to researchers. In fact, he holds that they need to be free to choose what better suits their research objectives. In his specific questions, Swales also comments on the role of corpora in the study of genres, academic literacy and pedagogy, and contrastive rhetoric.


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