Sunday, June 19, 2016

IVACS 2016

Sincere thanks go to the organiser(s) of IVACS2016, at Bath Spa University, UK with the theme of 'Corpora and Context' (also see here for IVACS). The conference was well attended and ran very smoothly. Both plenary speakers were able to contribute clear and original perspective to the field of the study of language varieties using corpus methods, and the conference featured a wide range of high quality presentations. I was delighted to offer a session called 'The co-text and context of research into identity in applied linguistics' (see the Prezi below).

Two projects in particular were well represented at the conference. The first was the English Profile project, supported by Cambridge Examinations, which uses examination scripts to map grammatical errors and thus specify which structures students should show mastery over at which CEFR stage. The methodology for this corpus investigation was both  rigorous and original. A clear conclusion from this project was that this progression is only very roughly correlated with the sequence of structures presented in the majority of language teaching coursebooks. The project team has given feedback to CUP, so we wait to see if the publishing industry can respond to these important findings. (Don't hold your breath!!).
The second project that was described over a number of sessions was the CorCenCC (Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes - The National Corpus of Contemporary Welsh, a largely spoken Welsh corpus), based at Cardiff University. This is clearly meant to move on from the current corpus of Welsh currently available. Using modern technology to build up the corpus through an innovative smartphone app, the team is struggling with ethical issues relating not to the consent of the data gatherers but their interlocutors. The aim also appears to be to make the corpus relevant and useful to the welsh-speaking community and involve the community as much as possible in the collection, design and exploitation of the corpus.

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