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Developing a Text Editor to Help Writers with Academic English Collocations

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Yongcan Liu , yl258.

Refreshments available from 4.30pm

It is widely acknowledged that writers less accustomed to the academic register may struggle to employ collocations which more experienced academic writers habitually use. Collocations such as BASED ON AN ASSUMPTION , PROPOSE AN ALTERNATIVE , STANDARD METHOD , SUCCESSFULLY ACHIEVE or WIDELY ACCEPTED , for instance, are typical of written academic English. Despite the existence of excellent resources that can be consulted to look up academic English collocations such as these – for example, dictionaries, corpora and certain online tools – writers may not know where or how to look up collocations, or they may simply not be aware that their lexical choices could improve. Another problem is that looking up collocations during cognitively-demanding tasks like writing essays or research papers can interrupt writers’ thought processes and hamper their ability to get meanings across. In response to the above challenges, we are developing ColloCaid, a text editor that assists writers with academic English collocations. By providing collocation prompts and suggestions in real time or for earlier drafts, we aim to help users of academic English convey their intended meanings more successfully, enhance the vocabulary and fluency of their emerging texts, and expand their overall collocation repertoire. In this seminar, I will demonstrate how ColloCaid works, explain the research on dictionary use, computational lexicography, human-computer interaction and visualization underlying it, and report on results from initial user testing. At the end of the presentation, there will be an opportunity to try out a beta version of ColloCaid (if interested, bring a laptop; no software installation is required).

Acknowledgements The ColloCaid project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), ref. AH/P003508/1.

Bionote ANA FRANKENBERG -GARCIA (PhD in Applied Linguistics, Edinburgh) is Reader in Translation Studies and Programme Leader of the MA in Translation at the University of Surrey. Her research focuses on applied uses of corpora in translation, lexicography and assisted writing. Ana is Principal Investigator of the ColloCaid project. She was also Project Leader of the COMPARA parallel corpus, Chief Editor of the bilingual Oxford Portuguese Dictionary, and Lead Researcher in the Supporting the Internationalization of Brazilian Research project.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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