A Very Short Introduction to Corpus Linguistics

I have a made a short online intro for corpling here. I hope you find it useful.

A simple guide to using Antconc

I have created a file about using Antconc, a concordancing program by Laurence Anthony at Waseda University. You can find it here. The latest version was created on 5 March 2011.

Making a text file manually

To make a text file open a text editor (e.g., Notepad in Windows or TextEdit in Mac).

Manually type or paste some text into the main window and save.

Saving from a word processor like Microsoft Word may not give a “clean” output, that is, some of the letters or punctuation may not render as plain text. This may affect the count and/or searchability of the resulting text.

Japan, China, South Korea mull academic credit system

From the Daily Yomiuri due to the lack of archiving.

The education ministry has decided to draw up a new framework in conjunction with China and South Korea to allow universities in all three countries to integrate methods to evaluate students’ academic achievements and certify academic credits.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry hopes the collaboration will encourage more students to study abroad.

Currently, individual universities in the three countries swap academic credits with each other at their own discretion.

The ministry is keen to expand the standardization to also cover universities in member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The ministry plans to hold an initial meeting in Bangkok in March to lay the groundwork for the plan.

University education differs among the three countries, as do the number of academic credits required to graduate.

In Japan, many university students are obliged to submit a graduation thesis, but in China and South Korea, only students with high academic records are obliged to do so.

Japanese universities employ an absolute evaluation system, which judges whether a student has reached a certain level of achievement. But in China and South Korea, many universities employ relative evaluation systems.

Because of these differences, there have been many cases in which students have been unable to transfer academic credits obtained at foreign universities into credits at the domestic university where they initially enrolled–even if individual universities have agreements regarding foreign students.

In a survey conducted in 2007 by the Japan Association of National Universities, about 70 percent of Japanese state-run universities said it was highly likely that students who obtained credits from foreign universities could not enter the next academic grade, as such credits were not recognized by the Japanese universities.

Under the planned new framework, the ministry aims to standardize rules to certify foreign universities’ credits when students return to Japanese universities, as well as the method for converting foreign universities’ credits into those acceptable by Japanese universities necessary for graduation.

At the first meeting, representatives from the three countries will confirm their intention to integrate terms relating to education systems and a policy that will allow universities in Japan, China and South Korea to jointly evaluate one another’s facilities on an experimental basis.

(Mar. 1, 2010)

How to save a Word 2007 document as a PDF

Microsoft Office Word 2007 now allows you to save a document as PDF. All you have to do is choose to save it as a PDF in File Type in the Save or Save as dialogue box. If you don’t see it in the File Type dropdown list you may have to get the update from Microsoft though this is usually (or should have been) done automatically.

Statistical terms – measurement

Generally, there are four data types in statistics: nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio.

Nominal data as the name suggests is characterize data by name. For example, the categorization of someone as male or female is nominal data. There is no order or rank between nominal data or only difference.

Ordinal data is data which can be ordered. For example, student class levels are ordinal in the sense that second year students are above first years students, and third year students are above second year students. Thet may be logical in order but they do not in any way say anything about how good students are or how diferent they are. Third year students, say, are not twice as good as first year students because they are two levels higher than the latter.

Interval data has order and also discrete differences in their intervals. Temperature is an example of interval data. There difference of ten degrees between 20 and 30 is equal to the ten degree difference between 30 and 40. They are relative to each other.

Ratio data is has an order, discrete intervals and (in Sarah Boslaugh’s word) a “natural” zero. Unlike temperature in the previous example of interval data zero degrees does not end there. Temperatures can drop below zero (and they often do). Weight, height and money and good examples of ratio data in that you cannot be -10 pounds, -10cm or -$10 dollars (well you can be in debt but you can’t show me -$10). You can say your friend has twice the money as yourself.

Just remember, measurement types make most sense when contrasted against each other and not talked about in isolation. When in doubt, try to fit them into the definitions aboves to see which one they match.

Jacet 8000 Level Marker has moved

The Jacet 8000 Level Marker has moved to:
http://www.tcp-ip.or.jp/~shim/J8LevelMarker/j8lm.cgi

The errors I highlighted from two years ago still remain, however.

Why we should continue to teach the “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c'” spelling rule

The British government has said this spelling rule is no longer worth teaching because there are so many exceptions to the rule. I think this is a mistake – a mistake to get rid of it and a mistake or misunderstanding of where the rule is supposed to be applied.

I was taught this rule is applied only specifically words with two (or more) syllables which have the long ‘ee’ sound such as ‘believe’, ‘reprieve’, ‘receive’ and ‘retrieve’.

According to the BNC nearly 2% of all words contain either the ‘ei’ or ‘ie’ combination their spelling. This means you will roughly come across this once in every 50 words in writing. Of these roughly two-thirds are ‘ie’ and the remaining one-third ‘ei’. A further one-fifteenth of ‘ei’ (0.04% of the entire English usage) is specifically ‘~cei~’.

This may seem like a small portion but experience will tell you that you come across this enough times to have to think about it when writing.

Let’s put it this way, this rule is catchy enough to stay with most people. It is a just matter of knowing when to apply it – that is, when coming across a long ‘e’ vowel sound usually after the second syllable.

The following is a list of words to which this spelling rule applies to: ACHIEVED ACHIEVER ACHIEVES AGGRIEVE BELIEVED BELIEVER BELIEVES GRIEVERS GRIEVING GRIEVOUS RELIEVED RELIEVER RELIEVES REPRIEVE RETRIEVE THIEVERY THIEVING THIEVISH ACHIEVE BELIEVE GRIEVED GRIEVER GRIEVES RELIEVE SIEVING THIEVED THIEVES GRIEVE SIEVED SIEVES THIEVE SIEVE and CEILINGS CONCEITS CONCEIVE DECEIVED DECEIVER DECEIVES PERCEIVE RECEIPTS RECEIVED RECEIVER RECEIVES CEILING CONCEIT DECEITS DECEIVE RECEIPT RECEIVE DECEIT.

In the real world one would come across one of these words in writing about once in a thousand words (or about four pages of writing). That is plenty to warrant the learner to remember this word … unless looking up a dictionary frequently is something they enjoy doing.

And remember: all the rest of the time the spelling can be worked out from the pronunciation.

Developing Linguistic Corpora

Here is a nice guide for corpus linguistics entitled Developing Linguistic Corpora at:
http://ahds.ac.uk/creating/guides/linguistic-corpora/index.htm

Contributors to this online text are John Sinclair, Geoffrey Leech, Lou Burnard, Paul Thompson and Martin Wynne (editor).

This text is not written for the English teacher in mind and some technical points may be difficult to grasp.

Online concordancing

If you require just a simple concordancer then go to Concordancer at http://ec.hku.hk/vocabulary/concordancer.htm. It give only counts and highlights of the search term with no KWIC.