Volume 8 (2017) Issue 1 (PDF)

I. Articles

Randall Gess (Ottawa, Canada):

Using Corpus Data in the Development of Second Language Oral Communicative Competence

Abstract (English)

The present paper describes how a large corpus of spoken French, stemming from the international Phonology of Contemporary French (PFC) project, can be used in the development of second language oral communicative competence, with a non-exclusive focus on pronunciation. Following a brief overview of the PFC project, data from one survey point of this corpus will be provided, illustrating a widespread phenomenon in Canadian French: word-final cluster simplification. It will be shown how and to what ends the data can be exploited for classroom use. For students, the potential benefits of using corpus data are manifold. These include greater learner autonomy, quantitatively and qualitatively rich natural input, excellent points of comparison between written and oral language, exposure to numerous and diverse varieties of spoken French as well as to rich cultural information from across the francophone world and, last but certainly not least, a raised awareness of different dimensions of sociolinguistic variation.

Abstract (Français)

Cet article décrit comment on peut utiliser un corpus important du français parlé, provenant du projet international Phonologie du Français Contemporain (PFC), dans le développement de la compétence communicative orale d’une deuxième langue, avec une attention non exhaustive attribuée à la prononciation. Suite à un bref survol du projet PFC, il est présenté des données d’un point d’enquête de ce corpus, qui illustre un phénomène répandu du français canadien: la simplification des groupes consonantiques finales. Il sera également démontré des chances d’exploitation des données dans la salle de classe, et les fins liées à celles-ci. Pour les étudiants, les avantages potentiels sont nombreux. Ceux-ci comprennent une autonomie d’apprentissage plus importante, de l’input naturel riche du point de vue quantitatif et qualitatif, d’excellents points de comparaison entre la langue écrite et la langue parlée, l’exposition à des variétés nombreuses et diverses du français parlé ainsi qu’à de riches informations culturelles de partout à travers la francophonie et enfin, une connaissance approfondie des différentes dimensions de variation sociolinguistique.

Siaw-Fong Chung (Taipei, Taiwan (R.O.C.)):

A Corpus-Based Approach to Distinguishing the Near-Synonyms Listen and Hear


The present study aimed to compare the verbs listen (to) and hear based on lexical resources and corpora, including (a) WordNet, which contains sense frequency information taken from the Brown Corpus and The Red Badge of Courage; (b) the British National Corpus (BNC); and (c) a writing task for English learners that focused on the uses of listen (to) and hear. The two verbs were compared in terms of sense frequency distributions as well as collocational information. Similarities and differences between the uses of the verbs listen (to) and hear were also analyzed using Sketch Engine, a lexical resource that enables collocational patterns from the BNC to be displayed according to grammatical relations. In the writing task, it was found that, for both verbs, students focused on a certain meaning. In addition, the BNC showed different sense distributions compared with WordNet and the learner data, as well as more figurative meanings. Both learner data and WordNet were predominant in the use of literal meanings for both verbs. This study contributes to the practice of connecting corpus data to teaching and learning. 

Jennifer Wagner (Clio (MI), USA):
A Frequency Analysis of Vocabulary Words in University Textbooks of French

Abstract (English)

Frequency as a principle for vocabulary selection is now commonly used in the creation of English textbooks; however, it is unclear whether frequency has played a role in the creation of French textbooks. In this study, the vocabulary of twelve first-year and six second-year university textbooks published in the United States was compared to a frequency dictionary of contemporary French. The analysis yielded how many high frequency words were found in the textbooks, in addition to which high frequency words were excluded from the textbooks and which low frequency words were included in the textbooks. The results indicate that the textbooks did not provide enough high frequency words needed for basic communication in French.

Abstract (français)

La fréquence comme principe pour la sélection du vocabulaire est utilisée dans la création des manuels scolaires de langue anglaise. Cependant, il reste à savoir si la fréquence a joué un rôle dans la création des manuels scolaires de langue française. Dans cette étude, le vocabulaire de douze manuels scolaires de première année et de six manuels scolaires de deuxième année publiés aux États-Unis a été comparé à un dictionnaire de fréquence de français contemporain. L’analyse donne le nombre de mots de haute fréquence qui se trouvent dans les manuels scolaires, en plus des mots de haute fréquence qui ne s’y trouvent pas ainsi que les mots de basse fréquence qui s’y trouvent. Les résultats démontrent que les manuels scolaires n’offrent pas assez de mots de haute fréquence nécessaires pour la communication de base en français.

Norman Fewell & George MacLean (both Okinawa, Japan):

Transforming Can-do Frameworks in the L2 Classroom for Communication and Feedback


Can-do statements have become increasingly popular for language teachers in recent years, providing a descriptive list of communicative tasks that may pinpoint areas needing attention. Students may also benefit with such can-do lists, as they are often asked to check off statements of what they believe they can or can’t do. This allows them to reflect on their individual needs in language learning. The idea seems simple enough. Nevertheless, claiming an ability to achieve a task is one thing and actually being able to accomplish the task is another. In an attempt to create a more practical way of utilizing can do statements for an EFL communication class, we have essentially flipped the framework and reframed the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements into a “show me you can do” list of commands. The list of can-do statements was modified into communicative group activities. A description of the effectiveness of these activities along with aspects of self and peer feedback will be discussed.


Teachers shara similar responsibility with healthcare professionals in the need to interpret assessment results. Interest in teacher assessment literacy has a short history but has gained momentum in the recent years. There are not many instruments for measuring this important professional capability. The present study presents the results of trailed Teacher Assessment Literacy Scales which covers four essential aspects of educational measurement. Both classical and Rasch analyses were conducted with encouraging psychometric qualities.

II. Book Review

Bernd Klewitz (Jena / Göttingen, Germany):
Inez De Florio: Effective Teaching and Successful Learning. Bridging the Gap between Research and Practice. New York et al: Cambridge University Press, 2016 (XII + 234pp.) (ISBN 978-1-107-53290-8)