Friday, April 3, 2009

POSTING 6: Blog Questionnaire

Hey all!
Looks like I have finally come to the peak of the mountain –Posting 6!
What a relieve it is to finally reach the summit. After all my hard work, time and sweat, I still feel that it is all for a worthy cause. I have truly learnt a lot. Right from posting 1, I have learnt many new phrases, words and information that was somewhat so foreign to me last time.

In this last post for out course SKBP 1023, we are asked to fill a questionnaire. I love questionnaires because it lets the people voice out their view and opinions about a matter arising.
So, here goes:

Age : 20 years old
Tutorial Group : Group 2
Lecturer : Dr. Hajjah Zaini Amir

1. Do you enjoy blogging?
Yes, I really do enjoy blogging. The main reason that I enjoy blogging is that I always have so much to say based on my reading and also my research on the Net. Thus, what better way to voice out my views than by blogging? I also love blogging because it let’s everyone be a reporter for a day! For example, stating their take on recent issues, sharing thoughts and ideas on how to improve something or merely just letting the world know what their endeavours were.

2. Based on your experience what is the benefit of blogging?
There are many benefits of blogging. Based on my own personal experience, I have noticed that I make sure that, before I post my blog, I will skim through what I have written to find for spelling errors, grammatical mishaps and also fragments. By doing this, I learnt how to use the English Language more creatively. Other than that, blogging also helped me to improve my writing skills. I have always loved to write and by blogging, it enhanced my skills even further.

3. Do you need more assistance to set up your blog ?
I didn’t need any more assistance to set up my blog as the steps to create a blog was to the point and did not cause any sort of confusion to me. I only needed some help in changing my blog’s template to a more creative one that was not under Blogger.

4. Do you have any memorable/favorite topic in your blog?
My all time favourite topic on my blog is on Posting 1 (Reading For Information) which I blogged on Barack Obama, America’s first Black President. Being an avid follower of this very interesting figure, I wanted to get as much information as I can about him. Thus, that prompted me to blog on him on Posting 1. This is also because I wanted to share my take on him as America’s fresh new face.

5. List 5 advantages of blogging for you
- Improved my writing skills
- Helped me read more articles in order to find more information to blog on
- Blogging created a whole new avenue for me to constantly use different phrases
and words so that my blog won’t be too dry or boring to the reader.
- Blogging helps keep me aware of the current issues that happen around me so that
I too can give in my views and opinions about the matter.
- Blogging has made me more tech-savvy, as I constantly update my blog by adding
new features in it using the Internet

6. List 5 disadvantages of blogging
- Some bloggers tend to voice out their frustrations on blogs which can cause major
- Plagiarism might be rampant. As bloggers tend to plagiarise information from
other websites and making it their own
- Time-consuming
- Blogging can cause the increase in rumours and untrue facts about people and the
country. Mainly caused by unethical bloggers
- Most people normally have nothing interesting to say on their blogs

7. Will you continue blogging after the course?
Yes, I will continue blogging after the course. I will set up a new blog that enables me to blog on just about everything that happens all around me. Blogging is something that I find enriching. Thus, in order to keep the blogging ‘fire’ burning, I will for sure continue on with this very interesting past time.

8. Do you think that blogging improve your writing?
There is definitely not a doubt with this statement. Blogging has really improved my writing ability. Blogging is something that you do every day, thus, when you do something continuously, for sure you will get better at it. Like one of Leona Lewis’s latest hits goes “I’ll all get better in Time’’

9. Do you think that we should continue with blogging activity for the next batch of students?
Yes, in my opinion, the blogging activity should be continued for the next batch of students. Blogging is something that is related to the use of the Internet. Taking to account that students of today are mostly tech-savvy, I don’t see why that blogging should not be inculcated in the curriculum.

10. Will you recommend your friend to blog?
Since I have a great admiration for blogging, I would of course encourage my friends to blog. Why keep your views and ideas to yourself when you can let the world see your opinions? –that’s what I think. Better still, the information that you post, can prove to be useful to others.

11. Can you teach a friend to set up his or her blog?
Yes,It’s not a daunting task at all. The very first step is to log into and create an account.The steps are clear and to the point. While I was creating my account for the first time, I felt nervous as I didn't know what to do. But, by following the simple steps in the site, I quickly got the hang of it. I only had a little trouble changing the template of my blog to a template that was not available in Blogspot. I got my template from with the kind assistance of my dear friend Najiha. Thus, by acquiring the assistance of my friend, I now know how to change my template in a fast and easy manner. Thus, I can proudly say that I can teach a friend to set up his or her own blog based on my experience creating my own.

In conclusion, I would like to thank DR. Zaini for all her kind words of encouragement throughout this course. I have always looked forward for the ICT tutorial on Tuesdays 8am-10am as it was a time for us to explore the world through the big I -The Internet! I can honestly say that I have learnt a lot and I do hope that what I have learnt in this course will be put for good use in the future. This course is really beneficial as I have learnt a lot under one roof. It helped me to foster new skills as I journeyed on. Thank you so much DR. Zaini!!
Till we meet again, Take Care!!

Do you want to know how to create your own blog? Watch this video!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

POSTING 5: Concordance

Good day everyone! In this posting we are required to blog on Concordance.We are asked to post two articles on Concordance and it's benefits to Language Learners. Have you heard what concordance is? well, no worries if you have never come across this word, because in this posting, there will be a full explanation on what concordance is all about! To get a gist on what concordance is all about, take a look at the pictures first.Still unsure?

Oh well, without much ado, let me begin by adding my two articles together with my reflections

Article 1:

(Data-Driven Language Learning) by Betsy Kerr

What is concordancing?
o a type of computerized text analysis, long used by corpus linguists and literary scholars, employing a corpus and a concordancer.

An electronically-formatted text or set of texts, that represents a certain type of real-world languge use, written or oral (transcription of recordings)

A computer program that generates a CONCORDANCE, a list of all occurrences of a given word or expression in the given corpus, with the context in which it occurs.

Concordancing allows us to:
1.Look at authentic language samples and zero in on a particular feature, whether
it be lexical or grammatical, and to discover the patterns which characterize the
use of that item in discourse.
2.Compare patterns in different types of discourse: spoken vs. written; literary,
journalistic, administrative texts; etc.
3.Take the burden off the teacher or the reference grammar to 'know the answer', by
engaging the learner in discovering how the language works.


1.As a grammar reference, for the teacher's own personal language learning (Web
search, Google).
2.For research that can guide the development of pedagogical materials
(textbooks): what features should be taught when? Example: variant interrogative
forms in conversation.
3.Actual concordances can be used as the basis for exercises and activities:
o Students are asked to formulate generalizations on the basis of the data.
o With relevant items deleted (in selected, rearranged concordance lines), the
concordance can be used as a fill-in-the-blank exercise.
4.Students can do their own research with a concordancer or Web search engine.

My feedback:
In this article by Betsy Kerr, it tells us about concordance, corpus, a concordancer, what concordancing allows us to do and the specific uses of concordance. To be truthful, this is the first time I am coming across the word ‘concordance’ but, after reading this article which is point-by-point form, really helped me to fully understand more about concordance. I find most interesting in this article is that it tells us the specific uses of concordance. I only know that concordance is used find how many times does a word occur in a passage. Which I thought was really boring. But, there is actually more to it than just that. It’s actually very interesting, because students can formulate generalizations on the basis of the data and students can also do their own research with a concordancer or Web search engine. From what I have came to know, there is also a various software’s on the Net whereby students and teachers can download for a free 30 day trial. This, in my point of view, is very useful, as students and teachers can make full use of for 30 days before they decide on purchasing it.

Article 2:


Concordancers search texts stored on computer and display all the occurrences of a selected word or phrase. To understand how a concordancer works, look at an example of a keyword in context (KWIC) display for the word local from a collection of texts published in the South China Morning Post. What do you think you could say about the meaning of the word 'local' in this context?
Task 1 - Applications for language teaching
When language learners use concordancers:
•They discover rules of usage and grammar for themselves
•The learn that language is complex and that rules are seldom 100% true
•They learn to rely on their own judgement rather than the teacher
Concordancing is also a good way to train learners to pay attention to patterns of usage in their everyday reading.
Some teachers also use concordancers to prepare printed worksheets for their students. Take a look at an example worksheet on Internet Neologisms written by Tim Johns at the University of Birmingham. Can you work out the meaning of spam from this worksheet?
You can find more examples of printed handouts based on concordance output in Tim John's Virtual Data-driven Learning Library.
Task 2 - What you need
In order to do concordancing, you need two things:
•A concordancer. Later in this session, we will use WordSmith Tools, which is installed in the lab.
•A corpus of texts. Later in this session we will use two corpora called the SCMP corpus and the HKBooks corpus. This has also been installed in the lab.
Use the software links to work out how to get a copy of WordSmith Tools. Use the links in the readings for this session to explore sources of text.
Task 3 - Web concordancing
It is also possible to do concordancing through the web. Try to search for a word that interests you at one of the sites below. Can you work out what kind of texts you are searching?
Virtual Language Centre
BNC On-line
Task 4 - Using WordSmith Tools: basic functions
WordSmith Tools is one of the best concordancing packages on the market. The first step in using WordSmith Tools is to understand the kinds of questions you can answer with it.
Using WordSmith Tools to improve your English grammar is a handout used to train students to use Wordsmith Tools in a 50 minute session. It explains how to formulate answerable questions and contains 10 sample questions about English grammar that you can try to answer for yourself.
How to use WordSmith Tools explains some of the main functions of Wordsmith Tools.
Keep both of these documents open on your screen and try to answer some of the 10 sample questions using the SCMPCorp and HKBooks corpora installed in the lab.
Task 5 - Using WordSmith Tools: advanced functions
You can also use WordSmith Tools to:
•produce a list of all the words in a text or corpus with their frequencies
•compare wordlists for different texts and corpora
To try out these functions, a number of smaller files have been installed in the lab.
•Holmes.txt - The full text of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
•Scandal.txt - The text of the story 'A Scandal in Bohemia' from this book
•Jack.txt - The text of the story 'Jack and the Beanstalk' from The Red Fairy Book (1894)
•Essay1.txt - the text of a first year HKU student examination essay
•Essay2.txt - the text of another HKU student essay on the same topic
Use these files to experiment with wordlists.
Task 6 - Preparing files for a concordancer
Concordancers do not work with any kind of file. Most concordancers only work with plain text files (files without text formatting). To see what a plain text file looks like, take a look at jack.txt.
Most files can be converted to plain text. For example, any Microsoft Word document can be saved as plain text by using the Save as command on the menu and selecting Text only in the Save as type box. To experiment, open the file abnorm2.doc and save it as a plain text file on your desktop. Close the file and then open it again with Microsoft Word. Notice what happens to the heading.
Web pages can also be saved as plain text files using the Save as command in your browser. To experiment, save this page as a text file on your desktop. Double-click the file icon on the desktop to see what it looks like.
A corpus is a collection of texts of a similar type. Notice that WordSmith Tools is able to search many files at once provided they are in the same folder. A convenient way to build up a corpus is place each text in a separate file within the same folder. This means that the user can search all the files at once or search them one by one.

For more information on applications of concordancing in language teaching, look at the readings for this session.

My feedback:
This article starts by stating what concordance is all about. It also shows different steps to identify what concordance is all about. I find this article very helpful, as it takes the reader from one level to another. When an article is stated in a chronological order, it’s always easier for the reader to grasp as much information as they can about the topic as it is stated clearly. In this article for example, first, it talks about the meaning of concordance then it moves on to its applications to language learning, moving on to the tools that you need to carry out concordance, web concordance, Using WordSmith Tools: basic and advanced functions, preparing files for a concordance and last but not least is reading for further reference. Thus, if feel that I can get a better view on concordance and also it’s applications to language learners just by reading this article. It’s not easy to find one article that has already been broken into many parts. But, finding this article really helped me to get another view on concordance. This article also provides links to other web pages so that readers can get to know more about the topic that they are reading on. This way, in my opinion, is a very good way to encourage readers to not only depend on one article but also widen their research pattern.


1.Concordance gives you the most effective, cost-efficient way to manage the high volume of documents—including emails and e-documents—generated during litigation.
2.Concordance also includes an exciting new way for litigators to instantly conduct
legal research, right from their discovery documents. Whether accessing documents from your desktop, laptop or the web, Concordance delivers award-winning,
industry-leading features that turn discovery as you know it, into discovery as
you want it.
3.Concordance discovery software is used on the largest cases being litigated
today. It can handle over 33 million records per database and allows up to 250
customizable fields per record.
4.Teachers can use a concordancer to find examples of authentic usage to
demonstrate features of vocabulary, typical collocations, a point of grammar or
even the structure of a text
5.Teachers can also generate exercises based on examples drawn from a variety of corpora, for example gap-filling exercises and tests.
6.Students can work out rules of grammar or usage and lexical features for
themselves by searching for key words in context. Depending on their level, they
can be invited to question some of the rules, based on their observation of patterns in authentic language.
7.Students can be more active in their vocabulary learning: depending on their
level, they can be invited to discover new meanings, to observe habitual
collocations, to relate words to syntax, or to be critical of dictionary entries.
8.Students can be invited to reflect on language use in general, based on their own explorations of a corpus of data, thus turning themselves into budding researchers.

In conclusion, concordance is a tool that not only helps teachers to inculcate a more exciting way in the teaching and learning process but also benefits the students as well. This is because of the many benefits that the use of concordance has.