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integratingcorpora.doc - Integrating corpora and...

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Integrating corpora and word-focused tasks into a linguistics project: A sound symbolism method for word growth Shih-ping Wang School of English Studies, University of Nottingham Department of Applied English, Ming Chuan University [email protected] Corpora have been used not only in language instruction and learning, but also in teaching disciplinary content, e.g., linguistics. This study investigated the effectiveness of integrating corpus-based approaches into a linguistics project concerned with word growth. Two of four case studies will be reported, which have been explored for intentional vocabulary learning (Case 1) and incidental acquisition (Cases 2 and 3). Specifically this study aimed at finding out whether students who participated in this corpus-based project (the experimental group) acquired more incidental vocabulary than those who did not (the control group). Students in the experimental group were requested to base their projects on self- construction data related to sound symbolism (SS), mainly from English magazines, which they had to analyze using linguistic methods. SS served as the main word-focused tasks (WFT) employed to reinforce the shortcomings of other theories. SS was integrated into students’ one-year long project, including different categories of vocabulary (4,184 lexical items) with example sentences, word frequencies and percentages. Both a pretest and a posttest were administered to evaluate their performance. ANCOVA (Case 2) indicated that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control group in the vocabulary tests. The findings confirmed that WFT favored higher level students to promote their word gains (Case 3). The statistical MANOVA showed that WFT plus reading with extracting sentences was better than WFT only (Case 4). Keywords: corpus-based, word-focused tasks, sound symbolism, SS-method, Grimm’s Law & incidental vocabulary acquisition 1. INTRODUCTION The aim of this paper is to use sound symbolism (SS) as the project topic for vocabulary acquisition and instruction. This paper mainly explored the effect of integrating corpus-based approaches (CBA) into a linguistics project (Kirk 1994; cf. Wilson and McEnery 1994). in relation to SS to promote learners’ word growth. When doing their projects, students were exposed to authentic materials and acquired both linguistics knowledge and incidental vocabularies in terms of the principle: teaching students how to teach themselves (Sternberg 1987). The corpus-based approach motivated students to explore linguistics data and construct corpora through extensive reading. It has been confirmed that this course design could assist students
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to learn both English and a special content course. SS-method associates sound-meaning and sound-form concurrently, yielding immediate perception and/or longer word retention. SS served as the main word- focused tasks (WFT) employed to reinforce or compensate for the shortcomings of other theories such as word-formation, keyword method and Levels of Processing techniques. SS activities, including onomatopoeia, Grimm's Law and etymology were
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