The Parallel EAP (English for Academic Purposes) corpora website provides a powerful corpus-based online learning system to help language teachers to teach and learners to learn academic English by searching, examining and researching two specialised EAP corpora on English Language Studies/Education. The goal is to enhance and develop advanced English learners’ ability in using lexis, grammar and lexico-grammatical items in academic writing. These EAP corpora can be used for research, teaching and learning purposes. Advanced English learners may find this website a useful resource for self-learning to improve their academic writing skills. Teachers can use the website as a rich resource to prepare materials for teaching academic writing to language or non-language majors. In addition, researchers may use it for researching into academic lexis, grammar or other issues related to academic writing or L2 writing in general. The same holds true for novice researchers, i.e., postgraduate students or final year undergraduates who work on research projects concerning L2 or academic writing.
This website accommodates two distinct corpora: (1) an EAP Learner Corpus and (2) an EAP Professional Corpus. The former consists of one million words from course assignments submitted for different language-related or linguistic courses by English majors (undergraduates and postgraduates) from a higher institution in Hong Kong. The latter is composed of one million words from published research journal articles or book chapters in the discipline of language studies/education. Each corpus is divided into six subject sections that match six sub-disciplines in language studies/education: (1) general linguistics, (2) SLA, (3) vocabulary, (4) morphology, (5) ELT research reports, (6) comparative language studies.
Different from most existing corpus-based websites, the two corpora hosted on this website are both syntactically and semantically tagged. The Part of Speech (POS) search allows users to examine the syntactic (structural) properties of keywords and the semantic search enables them to study the semantic categories of keywords. A key feature of this corpus website is that users can search keywords syntactically and semantically separately or simultaneously to make comparisons between the two corpora in varied ways. In addition, users can search keywords in different sections (i.e. introduction, literature review, research method, results, discussion and conclusion) of the component ELT research reports in each corpus in order to study respectively the distinctive features in the use of lexis and grammar in experts’ and learners’ writing. Finally, collocations of keywords searched can be generated automatically to allow users to examine the collocational features in the writing of both experts and learners.
Due to technological constraints, Google Chrome is proposed to be the default engine to perform various searches on this corpora website.
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The Parallel EAP Corpora search engine provides a set of features which are grouped into different tabs as shown below.
Figure 1: Interface of the Parallel EAP Corpora
The POS Search tab and Semantic Search tab are shown below. This allows searches based on a number of search parameters. The simplest search is to enter a word in the Search Keyword input box and press ENTER, without modifying any other search parameters. For example, the word “study” is entered in the search box.
The POS search results are shown below.
Figure 2: POS search results
The semantic search results are shown below.
Figure 3: Semantic search results
There is a toggle button to switch between two modes, namely “Basic Mode” and “Advanced Mode”. Its label will also change according to the current status.
In POS Search Basic Mode, fewer search parameters are available and users are not required to specify these features in detail. Users will only need to select the parts of speech for the keyword in the search box via the POS Tag attribute.
In a similar vein, fewer search parameters are available in the Semantic Search Basic Mode and users are not required to specify them in detail. Users will only need to select the main semantic labels for the keyword they would like to search in the search box via the Semantic Tag attribute (see below).
In Advanced Mode, in addition to the primary level of POS tags, more detailed categories are available, as shown in the figure below. Users may narrow down the search by selecting a secondary level of POS tags to search.
Figure 5: Secondary level tags for POS Search Advanced Mode
For detailed information on the POS tag sets and their meanings you may refer to this website http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/claws7tags.html.
In Advanced Mode, users can choose to limit the scope of search by the “Subject” attribute (see below).
Figure 6: The “Subject” attribute in POS Search Advanced Mode
In Advanced Mode, if user selects “ELT Research” in the “Subject” attribute, the “Section” attribute will appear (see below).
Figure 7: The “Section” attribute in POS Search Advanced Mode
In Advanced Mode, users can choose to limit the scope of search by the “Genre” attribute (see below).
Figure 8: The “Genre” attribute in POS Search Advanced Mode
Like the case of POS Search, only the primary level tags are available in Basic Mode, whereas in Advanced Mode, the secondary level tags are available for selection when any primary level tag is chosen (see below).
Figure 9: Secondary level tags for Semantic Search Advanced Mode
Apart from the Semantic Tag parameter, the search parameters of Semantic Search are the same as those of POS Search; the results are also displayed in a similar way (see below).
For detailed information on the semantic tag sets and their meanings you may refer to this website http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/usas/.
The POS Tag can be specified to narrow down the search results. The list of possible values are shown in the following figure.