It’s been a busy few months for Dr. Roger Gee, who in between teaching classes has jettisoned to Bolivia in January and is traveling to Spain in the near future to speak about English as a foreign language teachers and the Corpus of Contemporary English.
Appearing at the Bolivian English Teachers’ Association 21st Annual Conference in Sucre, Bolivia, Gee provided a plenary address about the importance of exploring the English language using the Corpus of Contemporary English.
“English as a foreign language teachers have to answer students’ questions about English,” Gee said. “They also have their own questions and they have to prepare materials for their classes. Students, as independent learners, need resources to answer their own questions. Both teachers and students can use the freely available Corpus of Contemporary American English for all of these purposes. A corpus is a principled collection of naturally occurring texts that can be searched electronically. A principled collection means that a corpus is designed to represent a certain type of language, either written, spoken, or both. Naturally occurring means that the corpus is comprised of language that was actually used by speakers and writers of a language—that is, the language of a corpus represents authentic language. This means that a corpus can be quickly searched to discover patterns of real language use and to answer questions that students and teachers themselves have about English.”
According to Gee, the Corpus of Contemporary American English is freely available and contains 450 million American English words, dating between 1990-2012. The corpus is broken down into five sections: spoken, fiction, magazines, newspapers, and academic texts.