Teaching Conversation through Films: A Comparison of Conversational Features and Collocations in the BNC and a Micro-Corpus of Movies

By María Elena Rodríguez Martín and María Moreno Jaén.

Published by The Learner Collection

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The origins of this paper can be found in a previous corpus-based research study (Rodríguez Martín 2009, forthcoming) which compared main conversational processes in the BNC (spoken component: face-to-face conversations) and a micro-corpus of movies. Taking on board the results of this exploratory study, the present investigation moves a step further and explores now some key conversational processes bearing upon Rühlemann’s situational framework (Rühlemann 2007), a model which makes an attempt to define the main aspects of the construct of conversation. Thus, the aim of this corpus–based comparison carried out by means of Wordsmith Tools 4.0 (Scott 2004) is to analyse whether there are relevant differences between a reference corpus (BNC) and a customised corpus of film texts. Deep down, we want to check whether film language is “the real thing” for teaching conversation to L2 learners of English. In this sense, following Shin and Nation’s ideas (2008), we particularly tackle the issue of co-occurrences and collocations insofar as they might shed light on the way the two corpora diverge.

Keywords: Teaching Conversation, Films, Conversational Features, Collocations, BNC, Micro-Corpus of Movies, Corpus-Based Comparison

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp.445-458. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.288MB).

Dr. María Elena Rodríguez Martín

Lecturer in English, Departamento de Filología Inglesa (Department of English Philology), University of Granada, Granada, Granada, Spain

Dr. Mª Elena Rodríguez Martín is a lecturer in English (University of Granada, Spain). Her research interests include lexis, corpus linguistics, CALL and film. In 1998 she was awarded a four-year scholarship by the Ministry of Education. During this time, she spent several months in different universities of The United Kingdom and Ireland (King’s College London, University College London, Essex University, University College Dublin), attending courses and doing research related to her PhD. In 2002 she received a PhD (with distinction) from the University of Granada after defending her thesis on novel and film. She is a member of an R&D project entitled “ADELEX: Assessing and Developing Lexical Competence through New Technologies” (HUM2007-61766), financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Latest publications: “Comparing conversational processes in the BNC and a micro-corpus of movies: Is film language the real thing”, Language Forum 35 (2) (forthcoming); “The application of DDL to a small–corpus: Using films transcripts for teaching conversational skills” (co-author: Pérez Basanta). In Corpora in the Foreign Language Classroom. Amsterdam: Rodopi (2007); “The Application of Data-Driven Learning to a Small-Scale Corpus of Conversational Texts from the BNC – British National Corpus” (co-author: Pérez Basanta), The International Journal of Learning 12 (8): 183-192 (2005/2006).

Dr. María Moreno Jaén

Research Fellow, Department of English Philology, University of Granada, Granada, Granada, Spain

María Moreno Jaén is a research fellow at the University of Granada. She holds a PhD in English Studies (University of Granada) and her main areas of interest include Lexicology and Phraseology, Corpus Linguistics, Language Testing and CALL. She is a member of an R&D project entitled “ADELEX: Assessing and Developing Lexical Competence through New Technologies” (HUM2007-61766) financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation where she has co-developed an online software for measuring lexical difficulty in texts (http://www.ugr.es/local/inped/ada). Two of her most recent contributions are “Traditional vs. virtual learning: Does it make a difference? ADELEX – Assessing and developing lexical competence.” Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 35/1: 63-79 and “Developing conversational competence through language awareness and multimodality: the use of DVDs.” ReCALL, 21/3: 283-301 (co-author: Carmen Pérez Basanta).


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