by Tony McEnery and Andrew Hardie; published by Cambridge University Press, 2012

English Corpus Linguistics at the Université Catholique de Louvain

Sylviane Granger of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium made a notable contribution to the development of ECL when her institution established the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE) in 1990 (see Granger 1994). Granger leads an international consortium who are committed to making comparable corpora composed of the English writings of L2 learners of English with a specific L1 background.

In order to make the corpora comparable, the students generally produce a series of essays of roughly similar length on similar topics. These topics require the students either to write argumentative essays in response to questions such as 'Is Fox Hunting Justifiable?' or to produce essays as part of a literature exam.

To date ICLE contains over 4.5 million words arranged in 16 subcorpora, each of which contains the writing of students from a distinct L1 background (Granger et al. 2009). As well as collecting the text, the corpus also captures some background information on the contributors to the corpus, recording information such as their sex, educational level and their educational experience.

ICLE and other learner corpora today play an essential role in the analysis of learner English and, thus, in the use of corpora in language teaching (see Gabrielatos 2005).


This page was last modified on Monday 16 April 2012 at 12:24 pm.

Tony McEnery Andrew Hardie

Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, United Kingdom