Daniel A. Nkemleke


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  • Daniel A. Nkemleke

  • Department of English

  • Ecole Normale Supérieure

  • University of YaoundeI


  • Daniel A. Nkemleke

  • Department of English

  • Ecole Normale Supérieure

  • University of YaoundeI



  • The study of language based on examples of “real life“ language use, collected, stored and processed via computer

  • Facilitated by the advent of computer technology (1960s)

  • Latin: corpus (body): body of text  any collection

  • of more than one text, written or spoken



Before 1940s/1950s: “early corpus linguistics“  corpus-based methodology (“Primitive corpora?“)

  • Before 1940s/1950s: “early corpus linguistics“  corpus-based methodology (“Primitive corpora?“)

  • Between 1960s and 1980s: minority of linguists continued working on corpus-based work (Quirk: SEU, Francis & Kucera: Brown corpus, Svartik: London-Lund corpus)

  • Computer technology: major support for CL

  • First African Corpus: 1989 (ICE-East Africa) (Schmied 1989)

  • Second African Corpus: 1992 CCE (Tiamajou 1993)/ Nigeria??



  • “Thirty years ago when this research started it was considered impossible to process texts of several million words in length.

  • Twenty years ago it was considered marginally possible but lunatic.

  • Ten years ago it was considered quite possible but still lunatic. Today it is very popular“

  • (Thomas/Short 1996: 4)



L1 Corpora

  • L1 Corpora

  • Brown Corpus of American English

  • Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen Corpus (LOB)

  • London-Lund Corpus

  • British National Corpus (BNC)

  • Birmingham Corpus of British English

  • L2 Corpora

  • ICE-East Africa (Kenya & Tanzania)

  • Corpus of Cameroon English

  • Corpus of Nigerian English ??

  • Kolhapur Corpus of Indian English

  • Multinational Corpus Project

  • International Corpus of English (ICE)



  • 1. Sampling & representativeness

  • Interest in whole variety of English

  • Attempts to construct a “representative” sample corpus

  • Which maximally represents variety

  • Aim: picture as accurate and reasonable as possible of a language population



  • 2. Finite size

  • Body of finite amount of words, e.g. 1,000,000

  • Figure determined at beginning of project

  • monitor corpus: constant addition of texts



3. Machine-readable form

  • 3. Machine-readable form

  • Past: reference to printed text

  • Nowadays: implication, machine-redable

  • Few in book form (e.g. original London-Lund)

  • Occasionally other forms of media (microfiche, recordings)



4. Standard reference

  • 4. Standard reference

  • Tacitly a corpus constitutes a standard reference

  • Presupposition: wide availability to other researchers

  • Direct comparison of results with other varieties



Began in 1992 with the collaboration of two

  • Began in 1992 with the collaboration of two

  • British universities (Birmingham/Liverpool)

  • Assistance of the British council in Yaoundé

  • Target of a million words reached in 1994

  • Data use for classroom activities/research since then

  • 2005: project benefited from a grant of the AvH

  • → Goal: Further development (tagging) of the database

  • (TU-Chemnitz)



  • Provide authentic data for the description of the main features and problems inherent in the variety of English which is written in Cameroon

  • Provide a source of authentic material for English language teaching/learning in Cameroon

  • Serve as a database for comparative studies on CamE in relation to other varieties of English





Dialogues

  • Dialogues

  • 1. Conversations

  • 2. Phone calls

  • 3. Broadcast discussions

  • 4. Classroom lessons

  • 5. Interviews

  • 6. Parliamentary debates

  • 7. Legal cross- examination

  • 8. Business transactions



13 possible ways in which a corpus may be useful

  • 13 possible ways in which a corpus may be useful

  • 1. Corpora as a source of empirical data

  • 2. Corpora in language teaching and learning

  • 3. Corpora in Lexical studies

  • 4. Corpora in grammar studies

  • 5. Corpora in speech research

  • 6. Corpora and semantic studies

  • 7. Corpora in pragmatic and discourse studies

  • 8. Corpora in sociolinguistic studies

  • 9. Corpora and stylistic studies

  • 10. Corpora in historical linguistics

  • 11. Corpora in dialectology and variational studies

  • 12. Corpora in Psycholinguistics

  • 13. Corpora in cultural studies



  • Linguists can make more objective statements on language use in the variety, comparing other varieties

  • Nkemleke /Mbangwana (2001)

  • Nkemleke (2003)

  • Nkemleke (2004a, 2004b)

  • Nkemleke (2005)

  • Nkemleke(2006)

  • Nkemleke (2007a, 2007b)

  • Nkemleke(fc: 2008a, 2008b, 2008c)

  • Schmied/Nkemleke (fc:2008a, 2008b)

  • A number of post-graduate projects in ENS/Faculty



CCE data used for classroom activities over the years

  • CCE data used for classroom activities over the years





  • Support teachers’ classroom explanation

  • Learner’s as researchers

  • Data-driven learning

  • Critical look at existing language teaching material



  • CCE data used for studies on aspects of Cameroon English usage, E.g. Hans-Georg Wolf used data from the corpus in his book English in Cameroon, published in 2001 by Mouton de Grouter (Berlin/New York).







  • Thank You!




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