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Analysing spoken discourse in university small group teaching

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve WalshORCiD


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© The Editor(s) and The Author(s) 2016. In this chapter, we consider how corpus linguistics (CL) and conversation analysis (CA) can be used together to provide enhanced understandings of spoken interaction in the context of small group teaching in higher education (HE). Following a description of the construction of the 1 million word NUCASE corpus (Newcastle Corpus of Academic Spoken English), we show how the two approaches can be combined in an iterative process to account for features of spoken discourse at both micro (word) and macro (text) levels. Beginning with CL and focusing largely on words and combinations of words, we then use CA to highlight pertinent interactional features. This approach to analysis provides powerful insights into the ways in which interactants establish understandings in educational settings and, in particular, highlights the interdependency of words, utterances and text in the co-construction of meaning. In the final section of the chapter, we consider how the corpus might be used by university lecturers, tutors, teacher educators, materials designers and language testers to improve teaching and learning in HE.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Walsh S, Knight D

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Creating and Digitizing Language Corpora: Volume 3: Databases for Public Engagement

Year: 2016

Pages: 291-319

Online publication date: 20/09/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan


DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-38645-8_11

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781137386458