The use of corpora in Slavonic language pedagogy: some examples from teaching Czech and Russian to native speakers of English

Dr James Wilson, University of Leeds, the United Kingdom:  Despite advances in technology and the rise in popularity of CALL and innovative resources in EFL teaching, the teaching of the Slavonic languages, especially grammar teaching, at UK Higher Education institutions is grounded in “traditional” approaches. Tutors formally introduce grammar points and support their explanations with drill exercises often bereft of context. In this paper, I highlight the benefits of using corpora and Data-Driven Learning (DDL) in Slavonic language teaching to improve students’ grammatical accuracy and awareness, to augment their vocabulary and to develop their independent linguistic skills. I discuss the application of a blended learning approach, which combines tradition with technology, to help learners assimilate complex grammar points and grasp subtle lexical differences and nuances. Several examples from both Czech and Russian are presented. My focus is on grammar teaching and the use of corpora to support and enhance traditional drill and tutor-centred activities, but I also highlight the benefits of data-driven learning in vocabulary acquisition, with a focus on collocations with which learners struggle due to the influence of their L1.

 

Key words: corpus, Data-Driven Learning (DDL), Slavonic language pedagogy, blended learning, Russian, Czech

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