Many of the lexical studies conducted at the CECL view lexis as being made up not only of single words, as traditionally recognized, but also of a large repertoire of multi-word expressions. They thus contribute to the rapidly expanding field of phraseology. In particular, they seek to reconcile the traditional approach to phraseology, which focuses primarily on fixed expressions (idioms, proverbs, etc.), with the corpus linguistic approach (especially John Sinclair's approach), which brings to light a wider range of units (collocations, n-grams, etc.). The possible pedagogical applications of a phraseological approach are also considered (see for example the TeMa corpus project).
In 2005 the CECL organized an international conference entirely devoted to phraseology: 'The many faces of Phraseology. An interdisciplinary conference' ('La phraséologie dans tous ses états: Colloque interdisciplinaire'). The conference, which brought together specialists in the field from a variety of disciplines, led to the publication of two edited volumes:
- Meunier F. & S. Granger (eds.) (2008a) Phraseology in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins.
- Granger S. & F. Meunier (eds.) (2008b) Phraseology: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins.
Lexical morphology, i.e. the study of word formation, represents a topic that has been largely neglected in corpus linguistics, but to which the CECL has paid special attention, for instance by comparing how English and French words are built in different registers (literary, scientific and newspaper discourse).
The CECL’s expertise in pedagogical and electronic lexicography (and specialized terminology) based on corpus research is reflected in a number of large-scale projects and publications including the Centre’s contribution to the second edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners (MED2), the development of a web-based English for Academic Purposes dictionary for non-native writers called the Louvain EAP dictionary (LEAD), the creation of a trilingual terminological database of university-related terms (French-English-Dutch) in collaboration with the Instituut voor Levende Talen – K.U.Leuven (Prof. Serge Verlinde) and the publication of the volume eLexicography in the 21st century: New challenges, new applications. Proceedings of eLex 2009, Louvain-la-Neuve, 22-24 October 2009 (edited by Sylviane Granger and Magali Paquot).