Chappelle (2001) provides six criteria for CALL applications to be
The degree of
opportunity present for beneficial focus on form.
The amount of
opportunity for engagement with language under appropriate conditions given
The extent to
which learners’ attention is directed toward the meaning of the language.
The degree of
correspondence between the CALL activity and target language activities of
interest to learners outside the classroom.
effects of the CALL activity on those who participate in it.
of resources to support the use of the CALL activity.
Corpus linguistic and second language learning
Concordance theory is related to corpus linguistics. Corpus
linguistics is a method of studying language structure and use by using
computers to analyze principled collections of naturally occurring language
resulting in quantitative data and functional interpretations (Conrad, 1999).
So, it is a representative of a language, dialect, and other aspects of the
language. There have been many debates about the use of corpora in language
classes. However, it has been considered as a valuable resource for language
learners. According to Girgin (2011), corpora have been applied to teaching
either indirectly through dictionaries, textbooks, and course books or directly
through corpus-based/corpus-oriented activities in language classes. (P. 1).
The integration of corpus linguistic and classroom materials
We need to encourage the use of corpora by enhancing pedagogical
relevance and authentication of corpus use. Learners are required to be able to
use corpora as a source for meaningful interactions in classroom activities.
“Teachers who decide to join the corpus bandwagon will definitely have to go
‘beyond the pen and paper’ but this does not necessarily imply a technological
big bang.” (Meunier, 2011, P.469).
A corpus-based approach
is indispensable: “information
about the frequency of use of certain
structures, and about specialized phraseologies and patterns, can only be
obtained from corpora, not from textbooks or grammar books, while traditional
dictionaries cannot compete with web-based corpora where lexical and
terminological evolution is concerned”(Boulton et al., 2012: 2).
Corpus linguistics also enables learners to become autonomous and
to search for vocabulary of registers, lexical bundles, and collocations which
are considered as a necessary requirement of second language competence.
The use of concordancing to analyze texts began to be studied in
the late eighties by Sinclair at the University of Birmingham. He used corpus
to describe the use of grammar and vocabulary items of English. He argued that
the use of corpus is a valuable tool in describing patterns of use of words and
Several researchers have used the concordance activities in the
classroom and gained great results. For example Stevens (1991a) used this
technique to teach vocabulary at Sultan Qaboos University. He showed that if we
give the students a greater number of examples and the authentic texts through
concordance activities, they will become more motivated to do the activities.
Girgin (2011), in a study investigated the influence of
corpus-based activities on lower level EFL students at Erciyes University
School of Foreign Languages to see whether they are able to do those activities
effectively in order to learn grammar structures of English. He also examined
the students’ attitudes toward those activities. The results showed that the
students were able to use those activities effectively and that they had
positive attitudes toward corpus-based activities.
In another study, Levechenko (2017) examined postgraduates’
perception of corpus-based classroom activities (C-BCA) in English for academic
purposes. The participants were 10 postgraduate students of Samara University
in Russia. The results showed that there are a connection between
postgraduates’ positive perception of C-BCA and good results of writing assignments.
Yoon (2005) conducted a study for his degree doctor of philosophy
to examine the quality of students’ writing experiences using corpus
activities, their L2 competence development, and how it can be integrated into
writing instruction. The participants of the study were students of a large
Midwestern American university who contributed in an in-depth case study. The
results of this study showed that corpora provided a useful language input by
offering collocation and common usage patterns. Furthermore, corpus use seemed
to develop long term cognitive skills by promoting language awareness and
enhancing students’ autonomy.
Thurston and Candlin (1998) developed a list of vocabulary items by
using corpora. They used it to provide concordance based materials for teaching
vocabulary. The purpose was to enable the learners to learn through exposure to
many examples of same words in multiple contexts and to enhance students’
awareness of collocations. The students’ reaction was good and they found it
helpful and innovative.
In sum, although, many studies were conducted about the use of
corpora in the classroom and they all provided a rich theoretical knowledge,
little research has been done to provide empirical evidences of the
effectiveness of using corpora and concordance activities in classroom
environment. So, this study was set to investigate the impact of using
concordance activities on Iranian students’ L2 achievement. The aim is to
provide insights for students and also teachers to become aware of its benefits
and to find ways for better use of learning facilities.