Seminar: Looking at Learner Language: issues of accuracy and complexity


This paper presents work carried out at the University of Birmingham relating to learners of English and the accuracy and complexity of the language they produce. The paper describes a variety of methods used to study learner language, assessing the value of each. The first is a comparison between learner language and expert language, focusing on the use of verbs and equivalent nouns. The second traces progression and language development, focusing on the reduction of complexity. The third demonstrates and innovative way of assessing accuracy. The final study to be described is a study of how learners themselves use a corpus to achieve accuracy in their language. The learners studied come from China, Iraq, Malaysia and Thailand.

Speaker Bio:

Susan Hunston is Professor of English Language at the University of Birmingham, UK. She is author of Pattern Grammar (1999, with Gill Francis), Corpora in Applied Linguistics (2002) and Corpus Approaches to Evaluation (2011), as well as many articles and papers on Corpus Linguistics, Evaluative Language, and Academic Discourse. She has been a plenary speaker at many conferences, most recently the Asia-Pacific Corpus Linguistics Conference in Beijing, October 2016.