Crawford grammar


The William Crawford grammar is a great tool for those of us in the ESL classroom. Especially with regards to corpora in the classroom, there are many reasons to employ these techniques in the ESL classroom.  Probably the most important one is that it helps students form their collocations, and can aid in the formation of phrasal verbs.

Crawford has the following to say about the use of corpus linguistics in the classroom:

“Corpus linguistics is a method of describing language by reference to
large amounts of language that occurs in specific contexts. Scholars
have used corpus description to gain new insights into areas such as
language change and variation, sociolinguistics, lexicology, and stylistics,
to name a few (see McEnery, Xiao, & Tono, 2006, for a good description
of corpus linguistics and the various ways that corpora have been used in applied linguistics).” (Crawford, 2013)

I have used these techniques in the classroom with varying success. It is hard to get students to believe that looking up various collocations in a free website like ‘MICASE corpus‘ is in the interest of the student. But after some work, it seems like this begins to set in, and the work becomes easier on their end.

Using free corpora can be a great way to get students engaged who normally would not be able to get this stuff. In fact, it seems that the corpora that is most useful are not online databases, but the CD-ROM that go with dictionaries, such as Collins COBUILD, and corpora like it.

I will continue to develop ESL lessons that emphasize corpus linguistics, because it is an optimal way to learn language. Also, students like to use the computer to learn! Please click the ‘contact’ tab to comment.


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