VESPA Research


Collecting the corpus is just the first step. Once the corpus is gathered, there will be many opportunities for national and international collaborative research activities.  L2 students take EAP/ESP courses everywhere around the world and analyzing the VESPA learner corpus could be an effective way of “operationalizing writing difficulties” (Bitchener and Basturkmen 2006, p. 14).

References based on the VESPA corpus:

Chapters and articles

  • Ebeling, Signe Oksefjell & Hilde Hasselgård (2015) Learners' and native speakers' use of recurrent word-combinations across disciplines. In A.K. H. Gujord, S. Nacey, S. Ragnhildstveit (eds), Learner Corpus Research: LCR2013 Conference Proceedings (Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies (BeLLS) vol. 6), 87-106.
  • Granger, S. & Paquot, M. (2009). In search of a General Academic Vocabulary: A corpus-driven study. In Katsampoxaki-Hodgetts, K. (ed.) Options and Practices of L.S.P practitioners Conference Proceedings. University of Crete Publications, E-media, 94-108.
  • Hasselgård, Hilde (2014) It-clefts in English L1 and L2 academic writing. In Kristin Davidse, Caroline Gentens, Lobke Ghesquière, Lieven Vandelanotte (eds) Corpus Interrogation and Grammatical Patterns. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 295-320.
  • Paquot, M., Hasselgård, H. & Ebeling, S. (2013). Writer/reader visibility in learner writing across genres. A comparison of the French and Norwegian components of the ICLE and VESPA learner corpora . In Granger, S., Gilquin, G. & Meunier, F. (eds) Learner Corpus Research. Corpora and Language Use n°1. Presses Universitaires de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.

MA dissertations:

Please help us compiling a list of research papers, dissertations, etc. in which the VESPA corpus was used! Send references to Magali Paquot.

In the future, the VESPA learner corpus will make possible several different lines of empirical research, exploring topics such as:


As a complement to the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus and the MIchigan Corpus of Upper-level Student Papers (MICUSP) corpus, the VESPA corpus will make it possible to analyze the similarities and differences between learner writing and native student writing. This type of comparison is essential to distinguish learner-specific and developmental features (cf. Gilquin et al 2007). 


As a complement to the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE), the VESPA corpus will make it possible to compare two types of learner academic writing: argumentative writing and discipline-specific writing. ICLE-based studies have identified a number of learner features (e.g. overuse of first personal pronoun, pragmatic inappropriacy and overstatement) which a few scholars have ascribed to the argumentative quality of ICLE learner texts. Studies based on the ICLE corpus could be replicated on the VESPA corpus to examine whether phenomena such as stylistic inappropriacy are genre-induced or learner features.


We are collecting texts produced by bachelor's and MA students as well as PhD students. We will be able to examine which similarities and differences in grammar, lexico-grammar, phraseology, discourse patterns, etc can be found in undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate learner writing. In addition, texts produced by the same students across their curricula are also collected, which will make it possible to carry out longitudinal studies.


Like the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE), the VESPA corpus will contain texts produced by learners from many different mother tongue backgrounds. Comparisons of different L1 sub-corpora will make it possible to differentiate between features which are shared by several learner populations and therefore more likely to be developmental and those which are peculiar to one national group and therefore possibly L1-dependent (cf. Granger 2002).

VESPA partners are also encouraged to collect papers produced by students in their own L1. This will make it possible to compare L1 and L2 writing in the disciplines.




  • Bitchener, J., & Basturkmen, H. (2006). Perceptions of the difficulties of postgraduate L2 thesis students writing the discussion section. Journal of English for Academic Purposes , 5(1), 4–18.
  • Gilquin G., Granger S. & Paquot M. (2007) Learner corpora: the missing link in EAP pedagogy. In Thompson, P. (ed.) Corpus-based EAP Pedagogy . Special issue of Journal of English for Academic Purposes 6(4): 319-335.
  • Granger S. (2002) A Bird's-eye View of Computer Learner Corpus Research. In Granger S., Hung J. and Petch-Tyson S. (eds) Computer Learner Corpora, Second Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching. Language Learning and Language Teaching 6. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: Benjamins (245 pp.), pp. 3-33.