The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Thursday, April 23, 2015

IATEFL slides and a new corpus

My second IATEFL slot was talking about COBUILD dictionaries; Dictionary evolution: exploiting modern referencing tools to the max. I'm always more than happy to talk about dictionary skills and how to encourage learners to make better use of all the fab features we, as lexicographers, include in learners dictionaries. You can download my slides here: IATEFL 2015 slides.

The bit of the talk I was really excited about though was plans for a new version of the Collins Corpus which will be accessible to teachers, students and those just interested in language. It's currently under development, so sadly, I wasn't able to demo it in my session, but it's hoped that it'll include a user-friendly interface which will make using the corpus something that everyone can have a go at.  Anyone will be able to sign up (via various different access options*) to make use of the massive Collins Corpus. They'll also be able to search just parts of it, like the corpus of graded readers or high school textbooks, if they're looking for language appropriate to a particular group or level.

I've always found it somewhat frustrating that the big publishers' corpora aren't available for a wider audience, so I think it's a very exciting initiative and perhaps apt that it comes from COBUILD who started the who corpus thing off in ELT in the first place. If you'd like to keep up-to-date with how it's developing and perhaps be involved in piloting it along the line, then you can get in touch with my colleague, Lisa Sutherland - her contact details are on the final slide above. I'm sure I'll post more news here too.

*Update: I was being deliberately vague about access options because the project's still at the development stage and the details just haven't yet been decided. Some folks have misinterpreted this though. So let me rephrase that to "via various different subscription models" ... sorry!

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