The use of corpora has revolutionized materials development by providing textbook authors with reliable data on the frequency of words, phrases, and grammatical constructions in "real world" texts. Yet because there have not been large, representative, annotated corpora of Spanish until very recently, Spanish has lagged behind in this sense. This paper first discusses new corpora and frequency dictionaries that have recently been created for Spanish. It then compares this frequency data to the vocabulary from six first and second-year textbooks of Spanish, to see how well the textbook vocabulary matches up with the "real world" data from the corpora and frequency dictionaries. In order to do so, it looks at vocabulary coverage by part of speech, by textbook level, and by individual textbook. Finally, it examines what types of words are typically over- and under-represented in the textbooks, suggests reasons why this may be the case, and offers suggestions to materials developers on how to create more representative textbooks of Spanish.
Selected Proceedings of the 9th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Nuria Sagarra and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio
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