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International Journal of Learner Corpus Research

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ISSN 2215-1478
E-ISSN 2215-1486

The International Journal of Learner Corpus Research (IJLCR) is a forum for researchers who collect, annotate, and analyse computer learner corpora and/or use them to investigate topics in Second Language Acquisition and linguistic theory in general, inform foreign language teaching, develop learner-corpus-informed tools (e.g. courseware, proficiency tests, dictionaries and grammars) or conduct natural language processing tasks (e.g. annotation, automatic spell- and grammar-checking , L1 identification). IJLCR aims to highlight the multidisciplinary and broad scope of practice that characterizes the field and publishes original research covering methodological, theoretical and applied work in any area of learner corpus research. IJLCR features research papers, shorter research notes and reviews of books, corpora and software tools. The language of the journal is English. The journal will occasionally publish special issues (for details please contact the general editors). All contributions are peer-reviewed.


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  • Contrastive interlanguage analysis: A reappraisal
    • Author: Sylviane Granger
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 7 –24
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    • Since its introduction in 1996, Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) has become a highly popular method in Learner Corpus Research. Its comparative design has made it possible to uncover a wide range of features distinctive of learner language and assess their degree of generalizability across learner populations. At the same time, however, the method has drawn criticism on several fronts. The purpose of this article is threefold: to provide a brief overview of CIA research, to discuss the main criticisms the method has faced in recent years and to present a revised model, CIA², which makes the central role played by variation in interlanguage studies more explicit and is generally more in line with the current state of foreign language theory and practice.
  • EFL and/vs. ESL?: A multi-level regression modeling perspective on bridging the paradigm gap
    • Authors: Stefan Th. Gries, and Sandra C. Deshors
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 130 –159
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    • The study of learner language and that of indigenized varieties are growing areas of English-language corpus-linguistic research, which are shaped by two current trends: First, the recognition that more rigorous methodological approaches are urgently needed (with few exceptions, existing work is based on over-/under-use frequency counts that fail to unveil complex non-native linguistic patterns); second, the collective effort to bridge an existing “paradigm gap” (Sridhar & Sridhar 1986) between EFL and ESL research.This paper contributes to these developments by offering a multifactorial analysis of seventeen lexical verbs in the dative alternation in speech and writing of German/French learners and Hong Kong/India/Singapore English speakers. We exemplify the advantages of hierarchical mixed-effects modeling, which allows us to control for speaker and verb-specific effects, but also for the hierarchical structure of the corpus data. Second, we address the theoretical question of whether EFL and ESL represent discrete English varieties or a continuum.
  • The importance of task variability in the design of learner corpora for SLA research
    • Authors: Nicole Tracy-Ventura, and Florence Myles
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 58 –95
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    • This cross-sectional study investigates task variability focusing on the use of Spanish past tense morphology in a spoken learner corpus. Sixty L2 learners of Spanish (English L1) from three different proficiency levels (20 per group) and fifteen native speakers completed three communicative tasks (a guided interview, a picture-based narrative, and a historical figures description) and an experimental task, all designed to investigate the acquisition of tense and aspect in L2 Spanish. Data were transcribed in CHAT, and analysed and coded using a specially created interactive coding program that works in combination with the CLAN program (MacWhinney 2000). Results demonstrate significant differences in the emergence and accurate use of past tense morphology across tasks. An additional analysis showed that the less controlled tasks encouraged few instances of more advanced features, suggesting that not all task types are equally successful at eliciting the range of tense-aspect morphological contrasts theoretically relevant for SLA research on tense and aspect.
  • Exploring big educational learner corpora for SLA research: Perspectives on relative clauses
    • Authors: Theodora Alexopoulou, Jeroen Geertzen, Anna Korhonen, and Detmar Meurers
    • Source: International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 96 –129
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    • We consider the opportunities presented by big educational learner corpora for Second Language Acquisition (SLA). In particular, we focus on the EF Cambridge Open Language Database (EFCAMDAT), an open access database of student writings submitted to Englishtown, the online school of EF Education First. EFCAMDAT stands out for its size (33 million words, 85 thousand learners) and a range of 128 writing tasks covering all CEFR levels with data from learners from varying nationalities. We discuss methodological issues arising from analyzing big data resources generated in educational contexts and argue that Natural Language Processing (NLP) is essential for the automated processing of such datasets. As a study case, we follow the developmental trajectory of relative clauses, a construction that necessitates deeper syntactic analysis. We consider specific issues that can affect the developmental trajectory, including task effects, formulaic language and national language effects.
  • An interview with Yukio Tono
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