In August, I spent 5 wonderful days full of corpus linguistics in Birmingham at Aston University. Corpus and corpus tools are definitely a great way to explore real language in use. I was simply fascinated by how corpus can be an extremely useful tool to conduct research in many fields, such as pedagogy, discourse analysis, translation and lexicography.
Since the summer school, I have been playing with some of the corpus tools and exploring corpora that you can find on this website. I am asking myself “Why don’t we use corpora more for language teaching and learning in classes?”. Of course, there are various contextual factors for that, but I am of the opinion that if we use corpora for language learning/teaching, language learners will be more exposed to real language, which may prevent them from using bookish language and help them improve their pragmatic competence to some extent. For language learners, British National Corpus is a great start to have a go! It might be a bit intimidating at first, but it will be fun to play with this tool soon!
As a beginner in corpus linguistics, I am still revising the topics (yes, there were too many for just 5 days!) that we covered at Aston Corpus Linguistics Summer School, and I have created a corpus of German exams for my self-study in order to test to what extent using corpus will be effective for me to improve my German. I thank Ramesh Krishnamurthy who is one of the pioneering researchers in the field for organising such a fruitful summer school. He and his team instilled the love of corpus linguistics into me, and I was inspired to carry out research in Turkish context. Of course, there is much progress to be made in Turkey. I am looking forward to Aston Advanced Corpus Linguistics Summer School and Postgraduate Conference in 2012! Also, I hope to meet some enthusiastic corpus linguists there and collaborate with them on corpus-based studies!