"20 years of learner corpus research:
looking back, moving ahead"
15-17 September 2011
To mark the 20th anniversary of its creation, the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics of the University of Louvain is organizing a conference entitled "20 years of learner corpus research: looking back, moving ahead" in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) on 15-17 September 2011.
Learner corpus research (LCR) is a young but vibrant new brand of research which stands at a crossroads between corpus linguistics, second language acquisition and foreign language teaching. Its origins go back to the late 1980s when academics and publishers, concurrently but independently, started collecting data from foreign/second language learners with a view to advancing our understanding of the mechanisms of second language acquisition and/or developing pedagogical tools and methods that more accurately target the needs of language learners. At first limited to English as a Foreign Language, LCR has begun to spread to a wide range of languages and as a result, the community group of learner corpus researchers is rapidly growing and diversifying. Great advances have been made in learner corpus design, collection and annotation, and the range of learner data has expanded with the addition of spoken and multimedia learner corpora. The field has also greatly benefited from growing links with related disciplines - in particular, second language acquisition, teaching methodology, contrastive linguistics, cognitive linguistics, lexicography, language testing and natural language processing.
Although twenty years after its emergence, it is too early to render a definitive assessment of the achievements in the field, it is time to take stock of the advances that have been made in methodology, theory, analysis and applications, and think up creative ways of moving the field forward.
LCR2011 is meant to bring together all the researchers who collect, annotate, analyze computer learner corpora and/or use them to inform SLA theory or develop learner-corpus-informed tools (courseware, proficiency tests, automatic spell- and grammar-checkers, etc.).