chapter  3
Corpora and lexis
Pages 35

The focus of this chapter is on the contribution corpus research has made both to our understanding of the nature of the lexicon and to our knowledge of the behaviour of words and other kinds of lexical item which together comprise the lexicon. The value of corpora for lexical research is underlined by Krishnamurthy (2000) who points to the limitations of linguistic descriptions which are based only on our intuitions about language; he observes in particular that intuition can lead to imprecise and inaccurate judgements about lexis. More specifically, Krishnamurthy (2000) argues that an approach to description based only on intuition, can lead to a tendency to ‘notice unusual words or structures but often overlook ordinary ones’. Corpus research, as we shall see, suggests that it would be wise for ELT researchers and practitioners to focus on the meaning and behaviour of ‘ordinary words’, perhaps more so than we have done in the past.