The effect of corpus-based instruction on pragmatic routines

Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig, Sabrina Mossman, Yunwen Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compares the effect of using corpus-based materials and activities for the instruction of pragmatic routines under two conditions: implementing direct corpus searches by learners during classroom instruction and working with teacher-developed corpus-based materials. The outcome is compared to a repeated-test control group. Pragmatic routines used for agreement, disagreement, and clarification in academic English discussion are targeted. 54 students in seven intact communication classes participated. 43 students received instruction in four 50-minute lessons across two to three weeks. Input came from MICASE (Simpson, Briggs, Ovens, & Swales, 2002) with noticing and production activities. The corpus-materials group (N = 26) received corpus excerpts and the corpus-search group (N = 17) conducted equivalent searches. The pre- and post-tests were administered through a computer-delivered oral-production task that simulated group discussion and included 30 items: 10 agreement, 10 disagreement, and 10 clarification scenarios. The results showed that both corpus searches and the use of corpus excerpts led to a significant increase in the oral production of pragmatic routines. The corpus-materials group additionally showed an increase in the clarity of speech acts. The corpus-search group reported engagement in self-directed searches outside the classroom, captured by a post-test questionnaire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-103
Number of pages28
JournalLanguage Learning and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Corpus searches
  • Instructional effects
  • Instructional pragmatics
  • Speech acts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications


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