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Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL): LLBA + BLLDB - Linguistics databases

Linguistics Databases

The academic field of Linguistics is blessed with several very good bibliographic databases. Each database has its specialties and strengths, and each database has its idiosnycratic search technique.

For more information on Penn Libraries linguistics databases, see our research guide:

LLBA - Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts

What is LLBA?

LLBA is a bibliographic database that describes the academic journal literature in linguistics and related fields,1973 to today. LLBA also describes books, book chapters, and dissertations. LLBA indexes a core of ~600 journals, with selective coverage of an additional ~900 journals.

LLBA claims to have broad geographic coverage, with titles from 100+ countries, with 56% of its currently-indexed titles come from Western Europe, and 21% from North America.

Searching LLBA

The LLBA's ProQuest Advanced Search template permits you to construct a search using multiple synonyms linked with "OR" on an individual search line and combining those synonym sets using "AND" between search lines.

The LLBA Advanced Search template has dropdown field tags to narrow search terms to subjects, authors, and more. Avoid using the field tag, "Anywhere", which will search within fulltext. Use the field tag, "Anywhere except full text" to search for words in article titles, abstracts, and subject terms.

Thesaurus of LLBA Descriptors

When you connect to LLBA, you can access a Thesaurus of subject headings assigned to each item contained in the database.  Important LLBA descriptors include:

english as a second language
english as a second language instruction
english as a second language learning
english as a second language teaching methods
second language learning
second language instruction

Classification Codes

These indicate a broad subject area and represent the major focus of the article.  The classification codes can be searched by numeric code or word. Useful codes include:

4130 English as a second/foreign language instruction. Search for : cc(4130)
4132 English as a second/foreign language learning. Search for : cc(4132)

NB. LLBA stopped using Classification Codes around the year 2018. Therefore, Classification Code searching will not retrieve recent articles.

BLLDB - Bibliography of Linguistic Literature

What is BLLDB?

BLLDB is a bibliographic database that describes the academic journal literature in linguistics and related fields, 1971 to today. BLLDB also indexes articles in conference proceedings, books, dissertations, and Festschrifts. BLLDB covers 1,980+ journal titles, including many academic department working papers series.

BLLDB is produced by the Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main in its role as a German center for linguistics research. The database is particularly strong on Western European languages and has strong worldwide subject coverage.

Searching BLLDB

Click on the menu bar "Search" link for the BLLDB Advanced Search template. The field tag dropdown menus will let you search for "Free text" ( that is, words in author, title, classifications, and other parts of the bibliographic record), Author, Title, and Subject terms/Classification.

Use double-quote marks to search for phrases. BLLDB's Advanced Search template defaults to inserting AND between words entered in to one search line.

BLLDB Classification

BLLDB's subject indexing uses a hierarchical classification scheme. You can browse the Classification hierarchies by clicking on the menu bar's "Classification" link. For Advanced Searching, do not build synonym sets. Instead, put one subject's Classification term or word into one line and put another subject's Classification term into another line, and link them with the "AND" button.

The BLLDB Classification scheme has three general categories :

  • General Topics, which are publication genres. See especially Bibliographies, Reference books, Reviews, and Scientific review.
  • Languages and Language Families. You could search for all Romance languages as a  broad subject or for French language as a narrower subject.
  • Domains and Levels of Description. Domains are the broad disciplinary subfields of linguistics, for example, Applied LInguistics, Language Acquisition, Second Language Acquisition, and narrower subfields within those broad subfields. Levels are the traditional elements of language, for example, phonology, semantics, syntax.

BLLDB Classification terms are hierarchical, and the terms are formatted so that narrow terms include their broader terms. Some examples:

Domains / Applied linguistics / Language teaching / Foreign language teaching / Teaching English as a second language

Domains / Pragmalinguistics / Other communication situations / Instructional communication

Levels / Text linguistics / Text types / Argumentative discourse

TIP! If you're new to BLLDB, try an Advanced Search that uses any terms you think are relevant, one term = one subject per line. Look at the results. For artlcles that look interesting, look at their Domain and Level Classifications. Then return to the Classifications page to drill down into those Domans and Levels, so that you can see whether you might be better served by searching again for a broader Classification.

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