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Past Activities

Recent projects and presentations.
File Criterial Features in Learner Corpora: Theory and Illustrations
This paper defines what is meant by criterial features, and gives numerous illustrations from our research to date on the Cambridge Learner Corpus (CLC).
File Using learner language from corpora to profile levels of proficiency: Insights from the English Profile Programme
Several decades of practical work on language testing and teaching have led to the six proficiency levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In this paper we ask the question: how much of the grammar, lexicon and usage conventions of English do learners actually know at each of these levels? The work we report on is based on an empirical examination of the Cambridge Learner Corpus. The accessibility of items has been enhanced through part­of­speech tagging and parsing, permitting searches to be conducted that go beyond individual words. Our ultimate goal is to identify 'criterial features' that distinguish the different proficiency levels from one another, as well as first language transfer effects. The English Profile Programme differs from earlier 'profiling' studies by being empirically based in this way and by controlling for different first languages. Examples are given of findings to date, and some practical benefits of this work are outlined.
File EPP March 2008
Abstract for a joint presentation given by John A. Hawkins, Nick Saville (University of Cambridge, ESOL Examinations), Paula Buttery (University of Cambridge, RCEAL) and Mike McCarthy (Penn State University & Cambridge University Press).
File Language Day 2008
Handout for the Language Day presentation at the Center for Mind and Brain, featuring William Marslen-Wilson (MRC CBU Cambridge) and Lorraine Tyler (University of Cambridge).