Learning a ‘Genre’ as Opposed to Learning ‘French’. What can Corpus Linguistics tell us?

Conference paper


At undergraduate level in the UK, learners of French are expected to produce a wider variety of genres and registers than they are prepared for by their entry qualifications. This causes particular difficulties that on the surface have little to do with formal knowledge of grammar and tend to be put down to ‘style’. We argue here that corpus linguistics and an empirical perspective to language development can bridge this gap and also unlock much wider issues, in particular the ideological perspective that underpins the language of a particular discourse community. While regular patterns that are not commonly included in expository writing syllabuses may prove to be useful ‘set phrases’ for the student in a particular assessment, we emphasize the textual role of idioms and the potential of generic phraseology in the language syllabus. On a broader cultural level, the grammatical features of expository writing in French are different to those of the general language, and reveal broader issues of the extent to which French education and the media engender and reproduce their own discourse structures.


Language Teaching Textual Role Expository Text Discourse Community English Language Teaching 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of FrenchUniversity of St. AndrewsSt. AndrewsUK

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