Book announcement: Widening the Scope of Learner Corpus Research

Dear LCA-members,

we are glad to announce that the Corpora and Language in Use’s 5th volume of proceedings entitled “Widening the Scope of Learner Corpus Research” has been recently published. It includes selected papers  from the Fourth Learner Corpus Research Conference held in Bolzano/Bozen.

You can find more information at this link: Publication

We wish you a pleasant reading.

Best regards,

Andrea & team


Andrea Abel

Eurac Research


Institutsleiterin/Direttrice d’istituto/Head of Institute

Institut für Angewandte Sprachforschung/Istituto di linguistica applicata/Institute for Applied Linguistics

T +39 0471 055 121


Drususallee/Viale Druso 1

I-39100 Bozen/Bolzano




Beyond CEFR level prediction of texts in learner corpora: Exploring feedback to learners and learning analytics

A one day workshop at Université de Paris, 30 Oct 2019 Olympe de Gouges Building, room 115, first floor (tbc)

Provisional programme

MORNING: discussing our results

9 00 opening N. Ballier The Ulysse PHC project : aims, data and limitations

9.20 Thomas Gaillat investigating learner micro-systems and customizing CEFR criterial features : the micro-system feature set and its regex syntax

9h40 discussion

10h30 Bernardo Stearns (tbc) and Annanda Sousa : the user interface prototype demo
We hope to deliver a docker and a github version of our user interface that allows you to paste a text, have a coffee while the text is processed and then get the probability of the text of being of a given CEFR level.

10h45 Discussion

11h 15 Andrew Simpkins : overfitting ? comparison with a graded corpus
As a preliminary step, we have tested our current User Interface with the CEFR ASAG corpus to check whether our model is biased to the A1 level.

11H30 General discussion

12 15 LUNCH BREAK (poster session at Diderot)
Poster displayed at Diderot and on a shared google drive for distant participants (titles tbc).
Thomas Gaillat : the Viz project for visualing metrics
Carlos Balhana (Cambridge) : Grammatical Error Correction and Interlanguage Event Representation
Vinogradova et al : a module for punctuation with the REALEC data
Vinogradova et al : the REALEC web interface : data, activities, technologies
Volodina et al. A System Architecture for Intelligent CALL examples of NLP approaches to Swedish
Nikolay Babakov : recommandation system for CEFR-indexed texts (from Russian to English ?)
O’Donnell et al. The concept approach to learner errors (incl details on data, NLP techiques used)

AFTERNOON: Learner corpora and beyond: collecting and interpreting learning process and product data

A blueprint is to be circulated pointing out potential future directions.

13h30 STRAND 1 Adding more metrics/NLP-based methods for error detection / problematic areas for learners

15h STRAND 2 Exploring the relation between Learner corpus annotation, language testing, and individual feedback to learners

16h30 coffee break

17h STRAND3 Should we try to link learner corpus and learning analytics research – and what is there to be gained? Ideas for Tracking Development path ? (Fuchs, Götz & Werner 2016) How to develop learner profiles based on student input?

1815 closing remarks and future plans

1830 end of the workshop

Call for participation

As a closing event of a European-funded project, we invite colleagues to share their ideas about the automatic analysis of learner corpora and how they can be applied towards interlanguage analysis, CEFR level prediction, and error detection – and extended to support individual feedback to learners and learning analytics.

The morning session will present some of the results of this French-Irish project “PHC Ulysse 2019”: the features of the EFCAMDAT corpus we used as the first step for our experiments, the methodology we developed, and our main findings. We will present our prototype of user interface for automatic detection of CEFR levels and discuss aspects such as overfitting of a model based on the French and Spanish components of EFCAMDAT. We will also discuss the shared task we held on a portion of this

We will discuss posters over lunch recapitulating some of the issues. Poster presenters are asked to send their A0 PDF to by Oct 15th midnight, summarizing their approach, which may include results previously presented. The afternoon functions as a round table intended to build collaborations and extensions of our project and discuss potential work packages for a follow-up project. Invited colleagues will summarize their methodologies and share their views on possible next steps.

Admission is free but registration is compulsory (on a first come, first served basis) on this webpage:

The summary of the Ulysse PHC Project can be found here :

Discussants at Diderot :

Taylor Arnold (University of Richmond, is Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Richmond and has a strong interest in NLP as a data scientist and digital humanist, see

Detmar Meurers (University of Tübingen, is Professor of Computational Linguistics and head of the research group on Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning there:

Contact person:
Nicolas Ballier :

Applications to host LCR2021

Dear LCA members,

Following several requests for an extension of the deadline for applications to host LCR 2021, the LCA board has decided that the deadline will be extended to 5th July 2019.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing you as many of you as possible in Warsaw!

Best wishes,

Sylviane Granger

President of the LCA (on behalf of the Board)

Call for applications to host LCR2021

Following the successful LCR conferences in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) in 2011, Bergen (Norway) in 2013, Cuijk (the Netherlands) in 2015, Bolzano/Bozen (Italy) in 2017, and as we are approaching LCR2019 in Warsaw (Poland) in September this year (check, the Learner Corpus Association ( opens the call to host LCR2021.

Those LCA members interested in hosting LCR2021 should contact the LCA conference officer, Dr. María Belén Díez-Bedmar ( She will provide the application form that interested parties should fill in and the conference guidelines that are to be observed in the conference organization. Filled-in application forms should be emailed back to the LCA conference officer before 01/06/2019.


Looking forward to receiving your applications,

María Belén Díez-Bedmar, LCA conference officer, on behalf of the Learner Corpus Association


Building Educational Applications 2019 Shared Task: Grammatical Error Correction

Building Educational Applications 2019 Shared Task:
Grammatical Error Correction

NEW! 25/01/2019: Training data released!



Building Educational Applications 2019 Shared Task:
Grammatical Error Correction
Florence, Italy
August 2, 2019

Call for Participation

Grammatical error correction (GEC) is the task of automatically
correcting grammatical errors in text; e.g. [I follows his advices -> I
followed his advice]. It can be used to not only help language learners
improve their writing skills, but also alert native speakers to
accidental mistakes or typos.

GEC gained significant attention in the Helping Our Own (HOO) and CoNLL
shared tasks between 2011 and 2014, but has since become more difficult
to evaluate given a lack of standardised experimental settings. In
particular, recent systems have been trained, tuned and tested on
different combinations of corpora using different metrics. One of the
aims of this shared task is hence to once again provide a platform where
different approaches can be trained and tested under the same

Another significant problem facing the field is that system performance
is still primarily benchmarked against the CoNLL-2014 test set, even
though this 5-year-old dataset only contains 50 essays on 2 different
topics written by 25 South-East Asian undergraduates in Singapore. This
means that systems have increasingly overfit to a very specific genre of
English and so do not generalise well to other domains. As a result,
this shared task introduces the Cambridge English Write & Improve (W&I)
corpus, a new error-annotated dataset that represents a much more
diverse cross-section of English language levels and domains. Write &
Improve is an online web platform that assists non-native English
students with their writing (

Participating teams will be provided with training and development data
from the W&I corpus to build their systems. Depending on the chosen
track, supplementary data may also be used. System output will be
evaluated on a blind test set using ERRANT

In addition to learner data, we will provide an annotated development
and test set extracted from the LOCNESS corpus, a collection of essays
written by native English students compiled by the Centre for English
Corpus Linguistics at the University of Louvain.

There are 3 tracks in the BEA 2019 shared task. Each track controls the
amount of annotated data that can be used in a system. We place no
restrictions on the amount of unannotated data that can be used (e.g.
for language modelling).

* Restricted
In the restricted setting, participants may only use the following
annotated datasets: FCE, Lang-8 Corpus of Learner English, NUCLE, W&I
Note that we restrict participants to the preprocessed Lang-8 Corpus
of Learner English rather than the raw, multilingual Lang-8 Learner
Corpus because participants would otherwise need to filter the raw
corpus themselves.

* Unrestricted
In the unrestricted setting, participants may use any and all
datasets, including those in the restricted setting.

* Unsupervised (or minimally supervised)
In the unsupervised setting, participants may not use any annotated
training data. Since current state-of-the-art systems rely on as much
training data as possible to reach the best performance, the goal of the
unsupervised track is to encourage research into systems that do not
rely on annotated training data. This track should be of particular
interest to researchers working with low-resource languages. Since we
also expect this to be a challenging track however, we will allow
participants to use the W&I+LOCNESS development set to develop their

In order to participate in the BEA 2019 Shared Task, teams are required
to submit their system output any time between March 25-29, 2019 at
23:59 GMT. There is no explicit registration procedure. Further details
about the submission process will be provided soon.

Important Dates
Friday, Jan 25, 2019: New training data released
Monday, March 25, 2019: New test data released
Friday, March 29, 2019: System output submission deadline
Friday, April 12, 2019: System results announced
Friday, May 3, 2019: System paper submission deadline
Friday, May 17, 2019: Review deadline
Friday, May 24, 2019: Notification of acceptance
Friday, June 7, 2019: Camera-ready submission deadline
Friday, August 2, 2019: BEA-2019 Workshop (Florence, Italy)

Christopher Bryant, University of Cambridge
Mariano Felice, University of Cambridge
Øistein Andersen, University of Cambridge
Ted Briscoe, University of Cambridge

Questions and queries about the shared task can be sent to

Further details can be found at

IJLCR4.2 out!

Tense and aspect in Second Language Acquisition and learner corpus research: Introduction to the special issue
Robert Fuchs and Valentin Werner


The progressive form and its functions in spoken learner English: Tracing the effects of an exposure-rich learning environment
Lea Meriläinen
The use of stative progressives by school-age learners of English and the importance of the variable context: Myth vs. (corpus) reality
Robert Fuchs and Valentin Werner
Progressive or not progressive?: Modeling the constructional choices of EFL and ESL writers
Paula Rautionaho and Sandra C. Deshors
Arabic learners’ acquisition of English past tense morphology: Lexical aspect and phonological saliency
Helen Zhao and Yasuhiro Shirai
Can native-speaker corpora help explain L2 acquisition of tense and aspect?: A study of the “input”
Nicole Tracy-Ventura and Jhon A. Cuesta Medina

Vocab@Leuven – Call for proposals!

It is our pleasure to invite you to the Vocab@Leuven- conference.

The symposium will be hosted by KU Leuven, Belgium and will take place from 1 – 3 July 2019. The conference will be the third Vocab@conference after the successful previous editions of Vocab@Vic in Wellington in 2013 and Vocab@Tokyo in 2016.

The call for proposals is now open!
We welcome proposals related to any topic about second/foreign language vocabulary.
The scope of the topics will range from vocabulary teaching and assessment to corpuslinguistic, psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic approaches to vocabulary.
The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 December 2018. Detailed guidelines can be found on our website:

Please visit our website for more information on the keynote speakers and invited symposia:

Click here to visit our website!

See you at Vocab@Leuven,

On behalf of the organizing committee
Elke Peters

Questions?: Contact us at

PhD fellowship in Corpus Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition

The Centre for English Corpus Linguistics has an opening for a PhD fellowship for a total period of four years, starting as of October 2018 (later is also a possibility).

The position is part of the UCLouvain FSR-funded research project Particle placement and genitive alternations in EFL learner spoken syntax: core probabilistic grammar and/or L1specific preferences? (Promotor: Dr. Magali Paquot). The project stems from collaborative work between the promotor, Prof. B. Szmrecsanyi (KU Leuven) and Dr. J. Grafmiller (University of Birmingham) (e.g. Paquot, Grafmiller & Szmrecsanyi (2017)).

The PhD student will investigate the extent to which English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners share a core probabilistic grammar (cf. Bresnan, 2007) with users of first and second language varieties of English by analyzing variation in grammatical constraints on the particle placement alternation (for transitive phrasal verbs) and the genitive alternation in corpora of EFL learner spoken language. Methodologically, the candidate will build on annotation guidelines developed by Szmrecsanyi, Grafmiller and colleagues to describe the predictors that may influence speakers’ choice governing the alternations; s/he will also be expected to use a range of variationist analysis techniques.

Job description:

The research project is a joint venture between the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (CECL) at the UCLouvain and the Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics (QLVL) group at the KU Leuven. The candidate will be affiliated to the Institut Langage et Communication (ILC, UCLouvain) and will also prepare a joint UCLouvain-KU Leuven PhD in Linguistics.

Activities that the candidate will perform include:

–        develop and implement (i) theoretical concepts in line with the focus of the research project and (ii) appropriate methodological procedures for investigating these concepts;

–        conduct corpus-based analyses of L1 and L2 writing and spoken samples;

–        interpret the results of the analyses and report on the project in conference presentations and academic publications;

–        carry out a research stay at the University of Birmingham (to work in close collaboration with Dr. J. Grafmiller too);

–        by the end of the four-year term, submit and defend a PhD dissertation based on the project.

Requirements and profile:

–    Master degree in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Language & Literature, Natural Language Processing or in Language Learning and Teaching;

–    excellent record of BA and MA level study;

–    excellent command of English.

–    excellent and demonstrated analytic skills;

–    ability to work with common software packages (including MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint);

–    basic knowledge of corpus-linguistic techniques is a requirement

–    knowledge of statistics and statistical software is an asset;

–   programming skills in Perl, Python or R are also an asset;

–    excellent and demonstrated self-management skills, ability and willingness to work in a team;

–    willingness to live in or near Louvain-la-Neuve and to travel abroad (for short-term research stays and to attend international academic conferences).


Terms of employment:

–    The contract will initially be for one year, three times renewable, with a total of four years.

–    The candidate receives a doctoral fellowship grant (starting at approx. EUR 1900 net per month) and full medical insurance.

–    The candidate will be expected to apply for a FNRS position after the first year.

–    The position requires residence in Belgium.

–  Applicants from outside the EU are responsible for obtaining the necessary visa or permits, with the assistance of UCLouvain staff department.

Application Deadline: Review of applications will begin on 20 August 2018, and continue until the position is filled

Please include with your application:

–     a cover letter in English, in which you specify why you are interested in this position and how you meet the job requirements outlined above;

–    a curriculum vitae in English;

–     a concise academic statement in English in which you outline your expectations about and plans for graduate study and career goals;

–    a copy of BA and MA diplomas and degrees;

–    a copy of your master thesis and academic publications (if applicable);

–    the names and full contact details of two academic referees.


Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (in situ or via video conferencing) in September 2018 (or later).


Applications (as an email attachment) and inquiries should be addressed to:

Dr. Magali Paquot

Centre for English Corpus Linguistics

Université Catholique de Louvain




Bresnan, J. (2007). Is syntactic knowledge probabilistic ? Experiments with the English dative alternation. In S. Featherston and W. Sternefeld (eds). Roots: Linguistics in Search of its Evidential Base. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 75-96.

Paquot, M, Grafmiller, J. & B. Szmrecsanyi (2017).Particle placement alternation in EFL learner speech vs. native and ESL spoken Englishes: core probabilistic grammar and/or L1-specific preferences? Paper presented at the 4th Learner Corpus Research Conference, 5-7 October 2017, Bolzano, Italy.

IJLCR 4.1 just out!


The third Vocab@ conference will be hosted by KU Leuven from 1 to 3 July 2019.

Previous Vocab@ conferences were held at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo in 2016 and Victoria University Wellington in 2013.

The Vocab@Leuven conference aims to bring together researchers from different disciplines who investigate the learning, processing, teaching, and testing of second/foreign language vocabulary.

Confirmed plenary speakers:

  • Batia Laufer (University of Haifa)
  • Marc Brysbaert (Ghent University)

Organizing committee:

  • Elke Peters
  • Paul Pauwels
  • Maribel Montero Perez
  • Eva Puimège
  • Ann-Sophie Noreillie
  • Thao Duong

The program will consist of paper presentations, poster sessions, invited colloquia and invited plenary speakers.

Types of presentations:

  • individual paper (20 + 10 minutes)
  • poster

We invite abstracts for paper and poster presentations about any topic related to second/foreign language vocabulary:

  1. vocabulary teaching (classroom-based research, technology-based, formal/informal learning, …)
  2. vocabulary assessment
  3. vocabulary and the skills of reading, listening, TV viewing, writing and speaking
  4. formulaic language
  5. corpus approaches to vocabulary
  6. psycholinguistic approaches to vocabulary
  7. neurolinguistic approaches to vocabulary
  8. vocabulary for specialized use (academic, business, technical, etc.)
  9. vocabulary resources (word lists, dictionaries, …)
  10. vocabulary and genre/register

Submission deadline: December 15, 2018