Academic Language

Much of the work of corpus linguists at Coventry is involves the description and analysis of academic genres. We are particularly interested in the structure and linguistic features of university student written assignments, for example with reference to the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus, and the linguistic strategies used by university lecturers, as evidenced in the British Academic Spoken English (BASE) corpus and the Engineering Lecture Corpus (ELC) (see also We publish and supervise studies of all types of English academic speech and writing, however, including cross-cultural comparisons with reference to corpora created in other academic contexts. PhD students currently supervised by CLAC members, for example, are investigating corpora of engineering writing, produced by students in Algeria and Oman, reflective writing, produced by trainee teachers in Indonesia, and written assignments produced by Chinese students studying in Britain.

Corpora are essential to the production of modern dictionaries, including dictionaries for learners of English for Academic Purposes, and some CLaC members have a long-standing interest in dictionary design, development and use. We are leading a Coventry University FutureLearn MOOC, Understanding English Dictionaries, in collaboration  with Macmillan Dictionaries and the Turing Institute. Many of the MOOC activities #refer to corpora and their role in the production of learners’ dictionaries.

The BAWE Quicklinks project is another practical outcome of our corpus research. The aim of the project is to help teachers raise students’ awareness of how English works, by linking errors and ‘infelicitous’ uses of English found in their assignments to carefully edited concordances retrieved from the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus.