The use of small corpora for tracing the development of academic literacies

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Since Erasmus exchanges have fostered student mobility in the European Union, various features of argumentation skills for Academic English (AE) have become central elements of university curricula. This chapter presents an analysis of a small corpus of texts written in an academic writing (AW) class by English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Spanish university students at B1 and B2 levels of the Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR). The small corpus data is contrasted with the Spanish sub-corpus of the International Corpus of Learner English (SPICLE) regarding the use of certain devices for intertextuality and evaluation. The study shows that students who have been given very definite CEFR guidelines regarding the use of specific academic features are able to improve their writing, even though there remain certain types of errors in their overall lexico-grammatical production.


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