Universidade de Vigo

A workshop on the methods and applications of corpus linguistic research methods, by Douglas Biber

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Prof Douglas Biber conducted a workshop on the methods and applications of corpus linguistic research methods.

CV details

Prof Douglas Edward Biber is Regents' Professor at the English Department of Northern Arizona University. Previously he was appointed Assistant Professor at the Department of Linguistics in Southern California University. Prof Biber was visiting professor in Denmark, Japan, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, severla Universities in the US, etc. He was the principal investigator in projects on the diachronic relations among speech-based and written registers in English and Spanish, on the computational tagging and grammatical analysis of the Longman/Lancaster English Language Corpus, and on the construction and grammatical tagging of the TOEFL 2000 Spoken and Written Academic Language Corpusand the T2K-SWAL Corpus to develop diagnostic tools for listening and reading texts. As far as his publications are concerned, he is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books and has written around 150 articles and book chapters. Prof Biber is well-known in the scientific community and also in our research group LVTC for his design of a multidimensional multifactorial model of linguistic variation.

Abstract of the workshop

The workshop began with a conceptual overview of the research methods and goals of corpus linguistics, illustrating the kinds of analysis that are conducted from this perspective, and the surprising findings that emerge from corpus-based research, with case studies taken from the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. These case studies further illustrate the unreliability of intuitions and the centrality of register for descriptions of language use. In the second part of the workshop, he turned to a discussion of the major types of research designs in corpus-based studies. This section of the workshop focused on discussion of the different types of observations and variables found in corpus-based studies, and how those design parameters constrain the types of research questions that can be asked in a study. (Similarly, these design parameters determine the statistical techniques that can be appropriately used.) Finally, Prof Biber turned to a hands-on introduction to publicly available web-based corpora and corpus-analysis tools. Specifically, two corpora were introduced – the British National Corpus (BNC) and the MICASE Corpus.