Article

Is There an “Academic Vocabulary”?

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Abstract

This article considers the notion of academic vocabulary: the assumption that students of English for academic purposes (EAP) should study a core of high frequency words because they are common in an English academic register. We examine the value of the term by using Coxhead's (2000) Academic Word List (AWL) to explore the distribution of its 570 word families in a corpus of 3.3 million words from a range of academic disciplines and genres. The findings suggest that although the AWL covers 10.6% of the corpus, individual lexical items on the list often occur and behave in different ways across disciplines in terms of range, frequency, collocation, and meaning. This result suggests that the AWL might not be as general as it was intended to be and, more importantly, questions the widely held assumption that students need a single core vocabulary for academic study. We argue that the different practices and discourses of disciplinary communities undermine the usefulness of such lists and recommend that teachers help students develop a more restricted, discipline-based lexical repertoire.

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... Academic words are defined as the "formal, context-independent words with a high frequency and/or wide range of occurrence across scientific disciplines, not usually found in basic general English courses: words with high frequency across scientific disciplines" (Farrell, 1990, p. 11). The idea of establishing an academic wordlist, as a list of English academic words useful for students at the tertiary level, has a long tradition in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) (Hyland & Tse, 2007). Although under different rubrics such as sub-technical vocabulary (Yang, 1986), semi-technical vocabulary (Farrell, 1990), specialized-nontechnical lexis (Cohen et al., 1988), non-technical terms (Goodman & Payne, 1981), and transdisciplinary lexicon (Drouin et al., 2018), academic words share the attribute of high frequency across all academic disciplines. ...
... The AWL development corpus has been criticized for its biased composition. Hyland and Tse (2007) argue that Coxhead's selection of the texts in her corpus was "opportunistic" (p. 239), since it has not given full and equal coverage of the range of academic disciplines. ...
... This raises questions about the usefulness of the list for all disciplines. Hyland and Tse (2007) found that the distribution of the AWL words was not even across different disciplines, and accordingly, concluded that all of the words on the AWL are not of equal value to all students, and some words may be of no use to them at all. ...
Article
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In this commentary, we begin with the discussion on a brief history of academic wordlists. Adopting a comparative perspective, then, the merits and demerits of the Academic Word List (AWL) (Coxhead, 2000) and its competing counterpart the Academic Vocabulary List (AVL) (Gardner & Davies, 2014) are presented. We also explore whether the AWL can still be considered as “the best list” (Nation, 2001, p. 12) for improving academic words, or whether its counterpart is reasonably “the most current, accurate, and comprehensive list” (Gardner & Davies, 2014, p. 325). The comparison was made in terms of twelve aspects: corpus size, types of corpus texts, sources of corpus texts, text balance, disciplines included, counting unit, wordlist items, method for excluding highfrequency words, minimum frequency, method for excluding technical words, sequence of list items and lexical coverage. The comparison reveals that the AVL is far from complete and cannot replace the AWL. The results of the comparison can have implications for practitioners and course developers.
... Studies of the language of physics have ranged from coarse-grained to fine-grained. At one end of the spectrum we have general frameworks and theories that distinguish everyday language from academic or learned language [5][6][7][8]. The important notion that languages (specifically, English) have specialized vocabulary and practices that are more appropriate for certain activities has been the object of study for at least thirty years ( [5], with reactions recorded in [6]). ...
... Hyland and Tse [8] used a corpus (a coherent collection of texts) of over 3 million words to determine that the language of academics is not uniform; instead, disciplines have different distributions, meanings and places for words. The authors recommend that teachers help students develop the vocabulary needed in their discipline. ...
... While the task is daunting, we hope to continue this effort with a similar study of electromagnetism and optics, and perhaps modern physics. In this respect, the context of earlier studies of language in academia, science and physics [4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15], corpus-based and otherwise, is critically important. ...
... Masrai & Milton (in press) speculate the benefit may come not so much from the importance of the words themselves but the phrases they occur in. Hyland and Tse (2007) suggest that words in the AWL may be polysemic and that in addition to the meanings these words have in common usage, some may also have more specialist meanings which are useful in individual subject disciplines. This explanation can help explain not just the additional coverage AWL words can have when compared with others words of equivalent frequency in general corpora, but can also help explain why coverage of the AWL can vary from one academic discipline to another. ...
... The strongest correlation is between AVST and BVST, r = .74, and this might tentatively be interpreted as support for the idea, suggested by Hyland and Tse (2007), that the AWL contains polysemous words which have specialist in addition to more generally used meanings. AVST may function, therefore, as a specialist vocabulary test in addition to a test of academic and general vocabulary knowledge. ...
... While relatively small in size, against both success measures, it appears that specialist vocabulary knowledge can contribute an explanation of double the variance of AWL knowledge. Hyland and Tse's (2007) suggestion that more attention should be paid to specialist vocabulary knowledge, as opposed to generalised academic vocabulary, appears borne out. Not only is the explanatory power of general vocabulary knowledge less in this study than in others, it appears also that the explanatory power in academic success of AWL knowledge is much less. ...
Article
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This study investigates the idea that knowledge of specialist subject vocabulary can make a significant and measurable impact on academic performance, separate from and additional to the impact of general and academic vocabulary knowledge. It tests the suggestion of Hyland and Tse (2007) that specialist vocabulary should be given more attention in teaching. Three types of vocabulary knowledge, general, academic and a specialist business vocabulary factors, are tested against GPA and a business module scores among students of business at a college in Egypt. The results show that while general vocabulary size has the greatest explanation of variance in the academic success factors, the other two factors - academic and a specialist business vocabulary - make separate and additional further contributions. The contribution to the explanation of variance made by specialist vocabulary knowledge is double that of academic vocabulary knowledge.
... For Hyland and Tse (2007) this cross-disciplinary scope is one of the most problematic aspects of academic vocabulary lists. The unequal distribution of academic vocabulary across texts from different disciplines can be considered a drawback for the cross-disciplinary validity of these repertoires. ...
... The unequal distribution of academic vocabulary across texts from different disciplines can be considered a drawback for the cross-disciplinary validity of these repertoires. Hyland and Tse (2007) tested Coxhead's AWL in a corpus divided into three fields (Engineering, Sciences and Social Sciences), and found that only about a third of the most frequent word families were comparably frequent in all three of the domains. The least frequent word families in particular were extremely infrequent in at least one domain. ...
... Such findings seem to go against the very viability of cross-disciplinary academic vocabulary lists. With this in mind, Hyland and Tse (2007) propose the creation of vocabulary lists specific to different scientific fields. Durrant (2016) is more optimistic and, noting the impracticability of highly field-specific language teaching, claims that there is a small core of the NAVL vocabulary (427 out of 3,000) that presents similar frequencies across genres. ...
Preprint
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This paper focuses on the process of compiling an academic vocabulary list for Spanish that will provide the content for an academic writing-aid. Two basic approaches for automatic extraction of academic vocabulary appear in the literature: one excludes frequent general vocabulary from vocabulary units that are also frequent and evenly distributed in academic texts, while the other tries to identify units that occur significantly more often in academic texts than in non-academic ones. We applied these two methods in creating two candidate lists of Spanish academic vocabulary and compared them in two respects: their coverage in academic and non-academic texts and the dispersion of their items across different academic domains. The paper also addresses the issue of whether the vocabulary included in such lists is equally distributed in those domains. Finally, we propose a list that represents a compromise between good coverage of academic texts and academic specificity.
... Language learning is a demanding procedure. In particular, academic communication where a dense language Wray, 2002) is used, requires learners to have an extensive knowledge of vocabulary which includes words that vary in meanings in specific contexts (Hyland & Tse, 2007;Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010). However, neither instructors can teach nor students can learn every single word within limited online classroom times. ...
... Although vocabulary size and language learning relationship is extensively documented, the issues like how much vocabulary is needed by learners for better SLA performance and which words should be prioritised and taught by teachers are still controversial (Coxhead, , 2011Dang, Coxhead, & Webb, 2017;Gardner & Davies, 2014;Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010). Vocabulary is typically classified into two groups: technical (academic) vocabulary and general service vocabulary (Coxhead, 2016;Hyland & Tse, 2007). While technical vocabulary refers to academic lexical items that are generally used in English for academic purposes (EAP) programmes, general service vocabulary items are found in most of texts of English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) as well as EAP Staehr, 2008;West, 1953). ...
... Despite its widespread use, the AWL raised concerns for two main reasons: "its [poor corpus size and] coverage in particular disciplines and genres" (Hyland & Tse, 2007, p. 238), the limited use of multi-word units and reliance on tokens that are single word units (Gardner & Davies, 2014;Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010) and its weakness to improve academic speaking and writing comprehension of learners (Dang et al., 2017). Hyland and Tse (2007) claim that they offer a new, up-to-date and improved corpus which was developed from nearly 4 million running words including student-generated material (nearly 50%). In contrast to Hyland and Tse (2007), AWL included expert-generated material which aims to improve receptive vocabulary knowledge of students. ...
Chapter
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Restricted online class times and limitations of online teaching along with the emotional and psychological challenges faced by students require adequate pedagogical implementations in the COVID-19 pandemic. In line with this requirement, while academic word lists can help students to focus on prioritised vocabulary, extensive reading can create a pleasant reading environment which might motivate students in unprecedented conditions. Thus, this study aims to propose some pedagogical suggestions such as academic word lists and extensive reading which might contribute to language learning performance of students in the COVID-19 pandemic.
... In turn, academic vocabulary serves to connect technical terms and contributes to effective communication of specialized information (Reed et al., 2017). Although common across disciplinary domains, academic words may take on narrower, discipline-based meanings (Hyland & Tse, 2007). This, Hyland and Tse (2007) argue, requires that students learn a range of context-specific definitions for academic words. ...
... Although common across disciplinary domains, academic words may take on narrower, discipline-based meanings (Hyland & Tse, 2007). This, Hyland and Tse (2007) argue, requires that students learn a range of context-specific definitions for academic words. This is disadvantageous for current ELs whose vocabulary knowledge gap is well documented and whose reading comprehension is strongly dependent on vocabulary knowledge (Mancilla-Martinez & Lesaux, 2010;Miller, 2009). ...
... Lower benefits for academic vocabulary and science reading comprehension found in the current study suggest a need to raise science teacher awareness of not only discipline-specific vocabulary demands of science, but also of the importance of general academic language, new to many students (Quinn et al., 2013). Thus, there is a reason for educators to focus on helping students use strategies for enhancing expository reading comprehension (Le on & Escudero, 2015; Taboada & Rutherford, 2011) and general academic words taking specific meanings in science (Hyland & Tse, 2007). ...
Article
Vocabulary is a building block of understanding, especially in science classrooms where language abilities are mixed. To reduce academic inequalities, approaches to vocabulary instruction need to demonstrate benefits for students across learning contexts. We summarize the results from the first unit, “Earth Systems and Catastrophic Events,” in a longitudinal study investigating the effectiveness of the Science Vocabulary Support (SVS) program originally designed for sheltered classrooms. Four grade 7 classrooms, including 106 students (25% native English speakers; 29% former English learners [ELs]; 46% current ELs), participated in this quasi-experimental, matched-group study. Results indicated that students in SVS classrooms outperformed those experiencing regular instruction on science and targeted academic vocabulary, as well as on reading comprehension measures. We detected no significant program impact differences between current EL and proficient English-speaking students across measures. Results suggest that programs such as SVS may help teachers meet the needs of all students in mixed-English-proficiency classrooms. To read the full text visit: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/VDC5ZTR8TCIKAYPZIUVX/full?target=10.1080/00220671.2021.1881754
... Word lists can allow limited resources to be efficiently allocated in course design by focusing learners' attention on the vocabulary that will likely be most A COMPUTER SCIENCE ACADEMIC VOCABULARY LIST 2 frequently encountered in academic reading. However, an approach that relies on a general academic vocabulary ignores significant differences in meaning and usage of words as they occur in various disciplines (Hyland & Tse, 2007;Lam, 2001). This can result in students devoting resources to studying words meanings that may never be encountered in their own discipline, or are used in completely different ways in that discipline. ...
... Linguistic features such as vocabulary vary from one register to the next (Biber, 1989) and the meanings of lexical items can also vary across registers (Hyland & Tse, 2007). A corpus that is created to describe the vocabulary of a specialized academic discipline should be composed of text that are representative of that discipline. ...
... Issues regarding the AWL concept of a 'general' academic vocabulary were pointed out by researchers such as Hyland and Tse (2007), who argued instead for disciplinespecific sets of academic vocabulary. In tests of the AWL on their own academic corpus, they found that the coverage of the AWL was not evenly distributed across academic disciplines. ...
Thesis
This thesis documents the development of the Computer Science Academic Vocabulary List (CSAVL), a pedagogical tool intended for use by English-for-specific-purpose educators and material developers. A 3.5-million-word corpus of academic computer science textbooks and journal articles was developed in order to produce the CSAVL. This study draws on the improved methodologies used in the creation of recent lemma-based word lists such as the Academic Vocabulary List (AVL) and the Medical Academic Vocabulary List (MAVL), which take into account the discipline-specific meanings of academic vocabulary. The CSAVL provides specific information for each entry, including part of speech and CS-specific meanings in order to provide users with clues as to how each item is used within the context of academic CS. Based on the comparative analyses performed in this study, the CSAVL was found to be a more efficient tool for reaching an minimal level of academic CS reading comprehension than the widely-used Academic Word List (AWL), or the combination of the AWL with the Computer Science Word List (CSWL). Through coverage tests performed on a variety of corpora, CSAVL was shown to be representative of the written language of academic computer science and focused on the lemmas that are the most relevant to the context of written academic CS.
... In the case of academic vocabulary, prior research suggests TED talks are less demanding compared to academic texts. For instance, AWL coverage reached 3.9% in TED talks, roughly equivalent to newspapers (Coxhead & Walls, 2012), which can be compared to 10% (Coxhead, 2000), 7.2%, 6.9% (Gardner & Davies, 2014), 10.6% (Hyland & Tse, 2007), 11.17% (Vongpumivitch, Huang, & Chang, 2009) and 10.46% (Li & Qian, 2010) in written academic texts. Within spoken academic corpora the AWL gained 4.41% coverage (Dang & Webb, 2014), lower than written academic texts but higher than TED talks. ...
... Despite these differences corpus linguistics research has identified overlapping linguistic features across multi-genre and multi-disciplinary academic corpora, resulting in the compilation of lists of general academic English. However, due to the large span that this area covers and (Coxhead, 2000) 10.46% in the Hong Kong Financial Services Corpus (HKFSC) (Li & Qian, 2010) 7.2% in COCA academic ( Gardner & Davies, 2014) 6.9% in BNC academic (Gardner & Davies, 2014) 10.6% in academic texts (Hyland & Tse, 2007) 3.9% in TED talks (Coxhead & Walls, 2012) 2.29-6.55% in student writing [in Sweden] (Olsson, 2015) 11.7% in Applied Linguistics research articles (Vongpumivitch et al., 2009) concerns over differences in the meaning and use of vocabulary items, others have recommended discipline specific lists instead (Hyland & Tse, 2007). As shown in Table 2, the current study measures the Academic Word List (AWL; Coxhead, 2000), Academic Vocabulary List (AVL; Gardner & Davies, 2014), and the Academic Spoken Word List (ASWL; Dang et al., 2017) across corpora. ...
... Despite these differences corpus linguistics research has identified overlapping linguistic features across multi-genre and multi-disciplinary academic corpora, resulting in the compilation of lists of general academic English. However, due to the large span that this area covers and (Coxhead, 2000) 10.46% in the Hong Kong Financial Services Corpus (HKFSC) (Li & Qian, 2010) 7.2% in COCA academic ( Gardner & Davies, 2014) 6.9% in BNC academic (Gardner & Davies, 2014) 10.6% in academic texts (Hyland & Tse, 2007) 3.9% in TED talks (Coxhead & Walls, 2012) 2.29-6.55% in student writing [in Sweden] (Olsson, 2015) 11.7% in Applied Linguistics research articles (Vongpumivitch et al., 2009) concerns over differences in the meaning and use of vocabulary items, others have recommended discipline specific lists instead (Hyland & Tse, 2007). As shown in Table 2, the current study measures the Academic Word List (AWL; Coxhead, 2000), Academic Vocabulary List (AVL; Gardner & Davies, 2014), and the Academic Spoken Word List (ASWL; Dang et al., 2017) across corpora. ...
Article
The coverage of academic lexis is compared in a TED talk corpus (2,483 talks, 5,068,781 words) and a corpus of Yale University lectures (708 lectures, 5,523,791 words). Academic lexis is defined by the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000), the Academic Vocabulary List (Gardner & Davies, 2014), and the Academic Spoken Word List (Dang et al., 2017). In all cases Mann–Whitney U tests found lectures had significantly higher coverage, with small effect sizes for lexis. This difference was smaller for academic tagged TED talks (n = 1379). When like-for-like disciplines were compared, lectures typically had greater coverage than their TED talk counterparts. An analysis of the cumulative coverage of types demonstrated a lower representation of the less frequent academic types in TED talks. A combined ratio and minimum frequency measure identified academic types which distinguish the genres. Pedagogical implications are discussed.
... In this line of enquiry, the Academic Word List (AWL) attracted considerable attention and remained as a major source for EAP instruction, materials development, and vocabulary assessment (Coxhead, 2011). Nonetheless, a growing number of studies started to challenge its usefulness as an academic word list (Gardner & Davies, 2014;Hyland & Tse, 2007;Masrai & Milton, 2018). Consequently, the AWL has been criticized on various grounds, including its general rather than specialized nature (Masrai & Milton, 2018), the amount of variation in the use and coverage provided in different disciplines (Chen & Ge, 2007;Liu & Han, 2015;Martínez et al., 2009), and using the outdated GSL (West, 1953) as the source for general service vocabulary (Gardner & Davies, 2014). ...
... Regarding the academic words, the previously mentioned studies reported 13.12%, and 15% coverage for the AWL respectively, which are considerably higher than the 4.88% for the NAWL in the corpus analyzed for this study. These findings further support the claims made by other researchers that some of the AWL items should be considered as general service words rather than academic vocabulary (Hyland & Tse, 2007;Masrai & Milton, 2018). ...
... Taking the lists together, 2,043 NGSL and NAWL accounted for 84.20% of the corpus, leaving only 1.79% coverage for the 1,721 less frequent NGSL and NAWL words. These findings underscore the specificity of language used in research articles and are in agreement with previous studies investigating this genre in that some general service and academic words are less important for students and researchers in specific fields (Hyland & Tse, 2007;Li & Qian, 2010;Martínez et al., 2009). The findings also highlight that in EAP and ERPP courses, not all words are of equal importance. ...
... The most well-known of these, the AWL, contains 570 word families outside of the 2,000 most frequently used words (based on the GSL). The list has been shown to provide around 10% coverage of written academic texts (Coxhead, 2000;Hyland & Tse, 2007), and is widely considered to be the standard reference in academic vocabulary instruction (for a comprehensive list of published materials using the AWL, see Coxhead, 2011). Although it remains popular in both teaching and research, the AWL has been the subject of scholarly debate for over a decade. ...
... In other words, it is unclear how "academic" the AWL actually is (Neufeld, Hancioǧlu, & Eldridge, 2011). Additional criticisms are that it ignores contextual and polysemous uses of list items (Hyland & Tse, 2007), focuses on single-word units (Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010), does not adequately represent the spoken register (Dang & Webb, 2014), and may not sufficiently cover productive vocabulary needs (Paquot, 2007). In response to these numerous criticisms, researchers have set about compiling lists that more accurately depict the vocabulary L2 learners are likely to encounter at university, and which thus have greater pedagogic value. ...
Article
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The current study explored the extent to which academic vocabulary lists could meet the lexical demands of academic speaking assessments. Indices of word use from lists of academic and general vocabulary were used to predict speaking scores on three TOEFL tasks. The results found weak associations between list-item use and response scores that varied by task. Independent response scores were associated with the use of specialized vocabulary from the first level of the Academic Spoken Word List. Integrated campus situation response scores were most strongly associated with the use of unique words from the Academic Word List. Integrated academic course response scores were associated with the use of more sophisticated general vocabulary. Although the findings provide some support for the use of academic vocabulary lists in speaking assessment preparation, the weak effect sizes point to the need to develop lists of academic vocabulary specific to academic speaking and assessment.
... Table 1 describes the existing CF-labelled FE databases. Previous studies have shown that FEs are discipline-specific, and the resource of academic vocabulary should be presented for each discipline (Hyland and Tse, 2007;Liu, 2012). Thus, the development of CF-labelled FE databases for each discipline is important; however, many studies have focused on general FEs, which were extracted from a mixed corpus consisting of scientific papers on multiple disciplines. ...
... The differences between disciplines are relative, and these results may change if another corpus of a different discipline is added; however, preference for FEs still exists across disciplines. This reinforces the previous claim that FEs are discipline-specific (Hyland and Tse, 2007;Hyland, 2008;Durrant, 2015;Jalilifar et al., 2016). All the discipline-specific FEs are listed in Table 15 in the appendix. ...
Conference Paper
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Formulaic expressions (FEs), such as 'in this paper, we propose' are frequently used in scientific papers. FEs convey a communicative function (CF), i.e. 'show the aim of the pa-per' in the above-mentioned example. Although CF-labelled FEs are helpful in assisting academic writing, the construction of FE databases requires manual labour for assigning CF labels. In this study, we considered a fully automated construction of a CF-labelled FE database using the top-down approach, in which the CF labels are first assigned to sentences , and then the FEs are extracted. For the CF-label assignment, we created a CF-labelled sentence dataset, on which we trained a SciBERT classifier. We show that the classifier and dataset can be used to construct FE databases of disciplines that are different from the training data. The accuracy of in-disciplinary classification was more than 80%, while cross-disciplinary classification also worked well. We also propose an FE extraction method, which was applied to the CF-labelled sentences. Finally, we constructed and published a new, large CF-labelled FE database. The evaluation of the final CF-labelled FE database showed that approximately 65% of the FEs are correct and useful, which is sufficiently high considering practical use.
... Learners can then attain academic literacy and become part of the academic discourse communities (Hou, 2014;Hyland & Tse, 2007) and will be able to acquire the specialized discourse competencies to help them succeed in their field and participate as group members (Adel & Erman, 2012). ...
... In the example above, this group used only a very limited amount of the technical vocabulary in the introductory paragraph. EFL writers might lack structural knowledge or technical vocabulary for academic writing because they are new researchers within academic communities (Al-Khasawneh, 2017;Hyland, 2007). It is difficult for language learners to put receptive word knowledge into productive use (Brun-Mercer & Zimmerman, 2015). ...
... This question is a feature of the academic literature (e.g. Hyland and Tse 2007;Eldridge 2008;Masrai and Milton 2018) and is particularly important when it is argued that the AWL is a list of what Schmitt and Schmitt (2014) would call high frequency general vocabulary, and therefore not academic vocabulary. This article contributes to the answer that learning a large enough general vocabulary for fluent communication can contribute significantly to academic performance. ...
... The importance of the AWL is considerable, therefore, and this opens up the question of what makes it so important. As a list of words, this article, among others (Hyland and Tse 2007;Eldridge 2008;Masrai and Milton 2018), has observed that it looks a lot like a list of general words. So, what gives it this beneficial effect? ...
Article
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It is uncontroversial to suggest that in order to be successful in academic study through the medium of English as a Foreign Lanuage, a learner will need a large general vocabulary and knowledge of academically relevant vocabulary, and the latter usually means knowledge of Coxhead's influential Academic Word List (AWL). However, a large general vocabulary is likely to include all or most words from the AWL, so the contribution of knowledge of the AWL specifically to academic success is unclear. This article reports a study where the impact of word frequency in the test of the AWL is controlled, so the separate effects on grade point average (GPA) of AWL knowledge and general vocabulary size can be better understood. To this end, 61 native Arabic-speaking learners of EFL took a test of AWL and a test of general vocabulary size, and their GPAs were collected. Results indicate that general vocabulary size explains nearly 47% of the variance in GPA and that knowledge of the AWL adds an additional 11.5 % to the explanation of the variance. The discussion addresses the varying importance of general and academic vocabulary to academic success.
... The Academic Word List (AWL; Coxhead, 2000) developed more than two decades ago, has remained a major resource for vocabulary instruction, materials development, and vocabulary assessment in EAP programs (Coxhead, 2011;McLean and Kramer, 2015). Nonetheless, a growing number of studies investigating the coverage of the AWL in different academic corpora started to challenge its position as the predominant source of core academic vocabulary relevant to a wide range of disciplines (Hyland and Tse, 2007;Gardner and Davies, 2014;Masrai and Milton, 2018). More specifically, the AWL has been criticized on various grounds including (1) the use of outdated GSL for defining general service vocabulary (Gardner and Davies, 2014), (2) containing a large number of general or only marginally academic words (Masrai and Milton, 2018), (3) the variation in the coverage of the list across disciplines (Liu and Han, 2015), and (4) using word families as the unit of counting vocabulary items which limits its pedagogical value (Gardner and Davies, 2014). ...
... Second, as highlighted above, studies investigating the impacts of mobileassisted vocabulary learning on specialized vocabulary (i.e., academic and technical) remained limited (Honzard and Soyoof, 2020;Yüksel et al., 2020), and there is a need for further empirical research to understand both short-and long-term impacts of such interventions. Third, previous research indicated there is a considerable disciplinary variation in the way items from corpus-based word lists (such as AWL) are used in academic discourse (Hyland and Tse, 2007). As a result, teaching all items in a core academic wordlist for students in a particular field of study is not practical as many words in such lists are not relevant to their vocabulary learning needs. ...
Article
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The current study explored the effects of using digital flashcards (DFs) and mobile devices on learning academic vocabulary. The participants were 86 university students majoring in Psychology in two experimental conditions and one control group. A list of 361 core academic words frequently used in Psychology was taught to the participants using different materials, and the learning outcomes were compared across the three groups. Accordingly, the participants in the experimental group 1 (N = 31) used a DF application (i.e., NAWL builder), participants in the experimental group 2 (N = 30) used traditional materials (i.e., paper flashcards), and those in the control group were given a list of target words with their definitions. Receptive knowledge of the target words was tested before and after the treatment, and the learning outcomes were compared across the groups using one-way between-groups ANOVA. The findings of the study indicated that using DFs enhanced students’ engagement with learning their discipline-specific academic vocabulary and that experimental group 1 outperformed those participants in other learning conditions. The findings add to the existing literature on mobile-assisted vocabulary learning and provide empirical support for the effectiveness of such platforms for learning academic vocabulary. The implications of the study were discussed in terms of the affordances provided by DFs on mobile devices and corpus-based word lists for informing vocabulary learning components in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP).
... Thus, the current research points to the need for explicit training of strategies on application and perception of humor in educational programs. To this end, videos and audios of successful presentations in different cultures and languages can be analyzed to single out the pragmatic means that, along with the specialized linguistic resources, form discipline-specific discourse literacy (Hyland, 2009;Hyland & Tse, 2007). ...
... First, previous studies have examined nonacademic genres (e.g., graded readers, television programs) while the present study focused on an academic genre. Knowledge of general vocabulary might not always support the learning of specialized vocabulary (Hyland & Tse, 2007). For example, several target words are among the most frequent 2,000 words of general vocabulary but also have technical meaning (e.g., uniform, squared). ...
Article
Academic lectures are potential sources of vocabulary learning for second language learners studying at universities where English is the medium of instruction, as well as those in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs. Topic-related vocabulary is likely to occur frequently in academic texts, and academic speech consists of a reasonable proportion of frequently occurring sequences of words. Yet no intervention studies have explored the potential for learning single words and collocations through viewing a video of an unmodified academic lecture. To address this gap, this study collected data from 55 EAP learners in China, following a pretest-posttest design. The experimental group ( n = 28) watched a video of an academic lecture in which 50 target single words and 19 target collocations were presented while the control group ( n = 27) received no treatment. Results show that viewing the lecture led to significant learning gains of single words at the meaning recall level and collocations at the form recognition level. Frequency of occurrence in the lecture appeared to significantly contribute to the learning of single words but not the learning of collocations. Prior knowledge of general vocabulary appeared to make no significant contribution to the learning of single words and collocations.
... Especially the last problem was also identified by Tenopir and King (2004) and Hyland and Tse (2007), when concluding that terminology is used inconsistently by scientists across different scientific disciplines. Even though words have different meanings in different disciplines (Nagy and Townsend, 2012), it is important, that scientists working on the same tasks understand each other, by meaning the same when using the same words. ...
Article
Over the last decade, research focusing on sustainability in construction has emerged. Many solution approaches were developed with the aim to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and increase their social value, while achieving economic feasibility. However, with the variety of new tools and models increased the number of specific terms to describe the upcoming approaches and developments. This leads partly to misunderstandings and confusion in the scientific community, by companies and authorities, which are involved in planning, permission and construction of buildings. So this paper gives an overview of different terms, work out their definitions - as far as possible - and interrelate the terms with one another. The literature research was conducted using the Scopus database and the systematic literature review to determine the various terms. In total 11 terms have been identified from the fields of building, construction, design, management and planning. Afterwards, a pool of articles was selected and analyzed for each of these terms in order to find an accurate definition for each of them. The findings showed that clear definitions for most of the terms are possible. Some terms currently used should not be used in the context of sustainability and buildings or construction to avoid further confusions. As a result this study helps to improve the communication between scientists from different disciplines and thus enable an efficient further development of sustainability in the building sector by building on the already existing know-how.
... Research on lexical bundles shows that different genres, registers, and disciplines draw on particular types of bundles in their discourses (e.g., Cortes, 2002Cortes, , 2004Biber and Barbieri, 2007;Hyland, 2008a,b). This challenges the widely held assumption that there is a single core vocabulary, which can be equally useful for academic students in different fields of study (Hyland and Tse, 2007). Hyland (2008b) attributes similarities and differences between registers and disciplines in the use of lexical bundles to the purposes and audience for which different discourses are written. ...
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The purpose of this corpus-based study was to investigate whether different sections in chemistry research articles, i.e., abstract, introduction, and results and discussion, rely on different sets of lexical bundles. Lexical bundles, associated with the above sections, were extracted from a corpus of 4 million words, comprising 1,185 chemistry research articles, using WordSmith Tools 5.0, and were categorized according to their functions. Altogether, 197 key bundles were identified in the three sections of chemistry research articles, 15 in the abstract, 99 in the introduction, and 83 in the results and discussion section. Two functions also emerged for lexical bundles in chemistry research articles, including purpose-oriented bundles, which refer to the aim/aims of the study; and literature-oriented bundles, which are used to refer to the literature. Altogether, the results showed that various sections in chemistry RAs are associated with specific sets of lexical bundles and, as such, deal with different rhetorical functions.
... Begreppet akademisk vokabulär har kritiserats i litteraturen. Ett problem rör ordens polysemi; akademiska ord kan ha skilda betydelser i olika ämnesdiscipliner (Hyland & Tse, 2007), eller ändra betydelse i en vardaglig kontext (Lindberg, 2006). Vissa, bl.a. ...
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Academic vocabulary is generally regarded as indispensable for academic literacy, e.g., for reading and understanding academic texts. Assessment of academic vocabulary knowledge can be relevant in a range of educational contexts. The aim of this study was to validate a multiple choice test of receptive Swedish academic vocabulary. A Swedish academic vocabulary test (SAVT) was extracted from an existing frequency-based word levels test. SAVT measures knowledge of words from a Swedish academic word list. Pilot studies were followed by minor revisions to the extracted test. Subsequently, the test, a sociolinguistic survey and a linguistic self-estimation instrument were administered to 551 students in university preparatory upper secondary education. Statistical and lexical analyses were conducted based on the results. Reliability and variance were sufficient and discriminated different proficiency levels among test-takers at group level. Positive covariance between test scores and self-reported reading ability and test score differences between groups of different gender and first languages added to the validity argument. The lexical analyses showed that word frequency, polysemy and meaning nuances between certain words could pose difficulties for some students, which is typical for a test group in the process of developing their academic literacy. Suggestions for further development of the test (and the underlying list of academic words), including the addition of more items, are discussed.
... The Academic Spoken Word List should be an essential source in English for General Academic Purposes courses. However, in English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) programs or English for Specific Purposes (ESP) programs, discipline-specific word lists may be more relevant than general academic word lists (Dang, 2018a;Hyland & Tse, 2007). Several word lists have been created such as Dang's (2018a) Hard Science Spoken Word List, Dang's (2018b) Soft Science Spoken Word List, and Dang's (2020c) Medical Spoken Word List. ...
Article
Understanding academic spoken English is an important but challenging task for many users of English as an additional language. Vocabulary knowledge plays a significant role in enhancing comprehension, but little is known about the nature of vocabulary in academic spoken English. This article reviews our current studies which are among the very few attempts to address this research gap. It focuses on (a) the number of words needed to comprehend academic spoken English, (b) English for Academic Purposes (EAP) learners’ knowledge of high-frequency words, (c) the extent to which academic written word lists cover the vocabulary in academic spoken English, (d) the most frequent and wide-ranging words in academic spoken English, and (e) how to incorporate these words in vocabulary learning programs for EAP learners. Directions for future research are also discussed in the article.
Chapter
Spontaneous spoken interaction and edited academic writing are at extreme ends of language usage. They provide a helpful platform to introduce the research presented in this book. Complex noun phrases like the Linked Noun Groups (LNGs) should not be expected in spoken usage yet should be expected in edited texts. This has been evidenced even where language is more formal and content more focussed (in the British Academic Spoken Corpus—BASE—and the BNC-academic written sub-corpus). They are found to be rare in casual, informal conversation as demonstrated through investigating the recent BNC-2014 data. Yet, LNGs are high in informational content. They are, therefore, characteristically found in academic writing, where they reflect topicality to a very high degree.
Chapter
This chapter provides the overall findings as well as the summary of the book. The frequency and characteristics of LNGs in the different genres are compared, while linking the results of the investigation presented to earlier research in the field. Furthermore, this chapter looks at possible applications of this research in the areas of teaching, discourse analysis, stylistics as well as NLP tool development. A final conclusion is that Linked Noun Groups have a defined colligational structure which either displays a strong tendency to twin one noun with its antonym or can be seen as an expansion of the first noun.
Background In spite of recent gains in language development made by children with hearing loss (HL) as a result of improved auditory prostheses and earlier starts to intervention, these children continue to struggle academically at higher grade levels. We hypothesize that one reason for these incongruent outcomes for language and academics may be that the language demands of school escalate as grade level increases, outstripping the language abilities of children with HL. We tested that hypothesis by examining a higher level skill that is essential for success with academic language, the ability to access multiple interpretations for a sentence. Method 122 children participated at the end of middle school: 56 with normal hearing (NH), 15 with moderate HL who used hearing aids (HAs), and 51 with severe-to-profound HL who used cochlear implants (CIs). Children's abilities to provide more than one interpretation for an ambiguous sentence were assessed. These sentences were ambiguous due either to words having multiple meanings or to syntactic structure that could evoke more than one interpretation. Potential predictors of those abilities were evaluated, including expressive vocabulary, comprehension of syntactic structures, grammaticality judgments, forward digit span, and several audiologic factors. Results Children with NH performed best, children with CIs performed poorest, and children with HAs performed intermediately to those groups. Children in all groups achieved higher scores on the multiple meanings than on the syntactic structure items. The variables that were associated with performance varied across groups. Audiologic factors did not explain any variability in performance on the ambiguous sentences task for children with HL. Conclusions The kind of linguistic flexibility needed to consider more than one interpretation for sentences lacking immediate, real-world context is essential to processing academic language. Children with HL – especially those with severe-to-profound HL who required CIs – showed deficits in this skill, which could contribute to their ongoing academic struggles. Continued language support is needed for these children to allow them to acquire the higher level language skills necessary for success through all of their years in school.
Article
With the evidence for disciplinary variation in academic discourse constantly growing, the idea of teaching core academic thinking in writing seems to have become increasingly problematic. The paper offers a rationale for two general-academic writing assignments, each focusing on teaching one fundamental aspect of what is defined as the intellectual stance underlying academic writing in general. The two aspects are problematizing and subject position. Problematizing and assuming a new subject position in the context of academic writing prove to be troublesome tasks for many entering college students. The assignments are designed to help students cope with these problems. They are based on a reactive approach rather than on modelling academic discourse, with the teacher helping students to reflect on their rendering of familiar experiences.
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The present study explored nominalization use in a sample of research articles (RAs) of various types in physics and applied linguistics. To this end, 134 RAs from the related journals of these disciplines were carefully selected and studied to identify occurrences ofnominalization. Results indicated that the authors in applied linguistics significantly used more nominalization than their counterparts in physics. Moreover, the analysis brought out the findings that the deployment of nominalization Type Two (i.e., processes) is significantly different from the other three types of nominalization in each discipline. Further analysis showed no significant difference among various types of RAs regarding nominalization use in physics contrary to applied linguistics. In applied linguistics, one striking result emerging from the study was the frequent use of nominalization in experimental RAs. In addition, the study suggested 15 patterns of nominalization in the empirical RAs of the two disciplines. Of these, the RAs demonstrated distinct trends in using four patterns. This study has important implications in reference to academic writing teachers and course designers.
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With the rise of English as the language of global communication, English is increasingly being adopted as the Medium of Instruction (EMI) in countries where it is not the first language. When implementing EMI, a primary concern is students' lack of English proficiency and the impact this has on teaching content (Bradford, 2016; Hu & Lei, 2014; Kim, Kim & Kweon, 2018; Macaro et al., 2018). One country where EMI has been widely adopted across both secondary and higher education is Lebanon. While research has documented Lebanese EMI instructors' perceptions of their students' proficiency and their perceived role in the classroom, research into Lebanese EMI students' academic writing proficiency remains limited (Khachan & Bacha, 2012). The present study seeks to build on this research by examining the challenges Lebanese EMI students face when writing for academic purposes through an analyses of students' assignments in a discipline course and triangulating them with teachers' perceptions of students' writing challenges. This comparison revealed that the instructors' perceptions aligned with students' performance on two of the three perceived challenges noted in the interviews. These conclusions may serve to inform EMI policy and curriculum design by reconciling instructors' perceptions with the reality of their students’ linguistic proficiency and learning needs.
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This study aims at specifying cultural words in teaching Turkish as a foreign language according to their proficiency levels (A1/2, B1/2, and C1/2) and analyzing the difference between the proficiency levels of these cultural words in terms of their frequency. For this purpose, a cultural corpus of 112.350 tokens in total has been created based on written and oral cultural texts. In this cultural corpus, nouns and verbs in the first 2000 in terms of their frequency have been compared with nouns and verbs in the most common 2000 Turkish words, and nouns and verbs that are not in the most common 2000 Turkish words have been marked as cultural words. Then, the cultural words have been compared with the textbooks used in teaching Turkish as a foreign language. The proficiency levels of their English equivalents in Cambridge Learner's Dictionary and the context in which they are used in the corpus have been checked and listed according to their levels. Finally, the list has been edited according to the opinions of two experts teaching Turkish as a foreign language at university level. The differences in the frequency of cultural words according to their proficiency levels have been analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. Findings show that there is a statistically significant difference between A1 and A2; A2 and B1; B1 and B2; C1 and C2 levels of the cultural words in terms of frequency, whereas there is no significant difference between cultural words at B2 and C1 levels in terms of frequency. In these findings, it has been seen that the most cultural words are at B1 level in terms of number and concept diversity, and it has been concluded that B1 level could be a threshold in the teaching of cultural words.
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Keeping informed given rapid trend in data and resources about covid-19 is a new challenge. Different user groups (researchers/doctors, practitioners, public) vary in linguistic expression and vocabulary so a new retrieval framework might likewise vary to improve retrieval, expose unanticipated concepts, and establish a sustainable research stream. In this project a document collection about covid-19 was created, parsed according to ISO12620's definition of linguistic register, and retrieval sets compared. Results suggest trends from other fields parallel register-oriented criteria; project exposes unexpected concepts across groups, uses of visualization, and warrants ling-register as a sustainable IR research stream.
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The involvement load hypothesis (ILH), which predicts the lexical learning potential of tasks, assumes that writing sentences (SW) and compositions (CW) using novel target words (TWs) lead to similar lexical gains. However, research on the issue is scarce and contradictory. One possibility is that the higher cognitive load of CW hinders learning relative to SW. To verify the learning potential of SW and CW, we selected 20 English academic TWs and conducted a pretest–posttest quasi-experiment with Polish advanced learners of English. First, all participants wrote a control essay (without TWs), then SW participants wrote sentences and CW participants wrote two essays, each with 10 TWs. Generalized linear mixed models revealed higher gains in breadth and depth of knowledge for SW than for CW, which contradicts the predictions of the ILH. Furthermore, to detect signs of cognitive load, we derived three task-based performance measurements from the compositions: holistic scores, number of errors, and words per minute. The measurements found that the control essay and essays with TWs were of similar quality (holistic scores), but that the control essay was written faster and with fewer errors than the other two. Concluding, using TWs in essays probably increased learners’ cognitive load, slowing down their writing, generating more errors, and ultimately, decreasing learning of the TWs.
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The study examined the impact of a first language's summarizing skill and second language vocabulary size on summary performances in a second language. A total of 40 English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners from a Japanese university with a mixed level of English language proficiency were asked to write a summary in English (i.e., their non-native language, L2) and in Japanese (their native language, L1) from a text written English and Japanese respectively. The effect of L1 summarizing skill on L2 summary performances was examined using multiple regression analysis. L1 summary performances (i.e., summarizing skill) slightly influenced English summary performances for summary writers with lower-level English language proficiency but not L2 summary performances for those with higher-level English language proficiency. The participants' vocabulary size measured by Nation's (2007) test was positively correlated with their English summary performances. Moreover, the results showed that the vocabulary size in the highest and smallest-vocabulary size groups was correlated with scores on two rating scales (i.e., Language use and Source use) in their English summary. In contrast, the vocabulary size in the middle-level vocabulary size groups was correlated with their scores on two different rating scales (i.e., Main idea coverage and Integration) in their English summary. This study concluded that L1 summary performance had not impact on L2 summary performances because several characteristics influence of summary writers' English vocabulary size. The study made several recommendations to EFL teachers who teach summary writing and for further study.
Article
Quantitative measures of vocabulary use have added much to our understanding of first and second language writing development. This paper argues for measures of register appropriateness as a useful addition to these tools. Developing an idea proposed by Durrant and Brenchley (2019), it explores what such measures can tell us about vocabulary development in the L1 writing of school children in England and critically examines how results should be interpreted. It shows that significant patterns of discipline- and genre-specific vocabulary development can be identified for measures related to four distinct registers, though the strongest patterns are found for vocabulary associated with fiction and academic writing. Follow-up analyses showed that changes across year groups were primarily driven, not by the nature of individual words, but by the overall quantitative distribution of register-specific vocabulary, suggesting that the traditional distinction between measures of lexical diversity and lexical sophistication may not be helpful for understanding development in this context. Closer analysis of academic vocabulary showed development of distinct vocabularies in Science and English writing in response to sharply differing communicative needs in those disciplines, suggesting that development in children’s academic vocabulary should not be seen as a single coherent process.
Article
In this quasi‐experimental study, 165 learners of English for academic purposes at a university in China were randomly assigned to five experimental groups and a control group. Each experimental group encountered 19 target collocations in the same academic lecture in one of the following input modes: (a) reading, (b) listening, (c) reading while listening, (d) viewing, and (e) viewing with captions. The control group did not receive any treatment. The results revealed that reading, viewing, and viewing with captions led to learning at the form recognition level, but no significant differences were found in the learning gains across these modes. Nonverbal elaboration, type of vocabulary, and type of verbal elaboration affected learning, but frequency of occurrence, strength of association, comprehension, and prior knowledge of general vocabulary did not. This study provides further evidence supporting the use of academic lectures for incidental learning of collocations as well as expanding on the multimedia learning theory.
Article
In this article, we address the topic of language for specific purposes (LSP) through the creation and validation of a technical, corpus-based word list in Russian. We build on an existing body of research on developing lists of specialized vocabulary in English as a second language (ESL). We introduce some methodological innovations in compiling a list of Russian vocabulary for students with a professional interest in economics. This study illustrates that a corpus-based list of specialized vocabulary, which includes 507 lemmas united in 324 word families, can provide a hypothetical shortcut to the increased coverage of discipline-specific texts compared with the coverage achieved using the next 1,000-word frequency increment of general vocabulary. Therefore, such a list could facilitate LSP mastery at lower levels of proficiency, which yields important pedagogical implications for the foreign language classroom. The methodology could potentially be used to compile similar lists in other languages.
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The article offers an in-depth lexical analysis of the listening sub-test of the famous International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The vocabulary profile of 239 listening transcripts from 60 IELTS official practice tests were analyzed. The results showed that, 3,000 most frequent word families in the British National Corpus/Corpus of Contemporary American English (BNC/COCA) word list were necessary to safely gain 95% coverage of all four sections in the test. Meanwhile, a vocabulary knowledge at the 5,000 level would secure the 98% coverage. The study also reveals that, with the support of 570 word families from the Academic Word List (AWL), learners only need to be familiar with 2,000 word families to achieve 95% coverage of the first, second, and third listening sections, equaling 75% of the IELTS listening test. The differences in lexical demands between listening sections were also highlighted.
Article
For a research article (RA) to be accepted, not only for publication, but also by its readers, it must display proficiency in the content, methodologies and discourse conventions of its specific discipline. While numerous studies have investigated the linguistic characteristics of different research disciplines, none have utilised Social Network Analysis techniques to identify communities prior to analysing their language use. This study aims to investigate the language use of three highly specific research communities in the fields of Psychology, Physics and Sports Medicine. We were interested in how these language features are related to the total number of citations, the eigencentrality within the community and the intra-network citations of the individual RAs. Applying Biber’s Multidimensional Analysis approach, a total of 771 RA abstracts published between 2010 and 2019 were analysed. We evaluated correlations between one of three network characteristics (citations, eigencentrality and in-degree), the corpora’s dimensions and 72 individual language features. The pattern of correlations suggest that features cited by other RAs within the discourse community network are in almost all cases different from those that are cited by RAs from outside the network. This finding highlights the challenges of writing for both a discipline-specific and a wider audience.
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Within a university setting, acquiring the skills of a proficient writer of academic texts presents a challenge for both L1 and L2 speakers of English. This paper will look how investigations in cognition and psycholinguistics in second language acquisition (SLA) can underpin a practical, Data-Driven Learning (DDL) task-based teaching approach. A number of researchers (cf. Ellis, 2011; Boers and Lindstromberg, 2012) have looked at perception, familiarization and pattern recognition during language acquisition. This paper will demonstrate how corpus-assisted classroom tasks presented by Gavioli (2005), Kirkgöz (2006), Charles (2012) can be seen as practical adaptations. The paper will conclude with an evaluation in how far a Data-Driven Learning (DDL) approach can turn research of cognitive processes in learners into a viable proposition for practical classroom applications. This paper gives a detailed literature review of the previous work which underpins the project.
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Within a university setting, acquiring the skills of a proficient writer of academic texts presents a challenge for both L1 and L2 speakers of English. Reflecting the theoretical insights and based on these classroom models, this paper will present a step-by-step model, describing how students can create their own template corpus and then employ it to assist their essay writing. After a brief introduction of the functionalities of the chosen concordancer, creating frequency lists and lists of the most frequent clusters as found in their respective reference corpus, students will be made aware of relevant terminology. A second frequency list is to be based on BNC (Written) sub-corpora, thus allowing students to create keyword lists in order to make visible the most salient concepts and wording choice currently employed when discussing the topic of their choice. Similarly, by comparing keywords in the reference corpus with non-academic texts, awareness of formulaic phrases in academic writing can be raised. Lastly, words and phrases can be checked against the relevant concordance lines to observe their typical usage patterns. This is the full-length description of the method.
Article
Research has established the critical role grammatical metaphor (GM) plays in academic discourse and argues for its explicit instruction. However, despite a growing body of research investigating students’ use of GM, there is as yet no reference tool to assist researchers or instructors examining or teaching this powerful resource. Although some automated analyses are enabled through corpus tools, these studies are limited to derivational GMs. To respond to these inefficiencies, the present study presents a profile of GMs used in a 164,925-word sample of the British Academic Written English Corpus (BAWE). Our aim in compiling this profile was to identify which GMs successful students most commonly use in the four disciplinary groupings provided in the BAWE. By doing so, we are able to provide an introductory list of 2702 experiential GMs instructors could use to inform their teaching of GM and researchers could use to inform further GM investigations in other corpora.
Article
Measuring lists of lexis across corpora is a well-established method in corpus linguistics. This article takes a novel approach and measures the frequency of occurrence of the Academic Formulas List (AFL; Simpson-Vlach & Ellis, 2010) across academic lectures (OYCLC) and an academic-adjacent corpus of TED talks (TTC). Frequency of occurrence is measured at three levels: overall inter- and intra-corpus variation; the composition of representation, to see which formulas are represented; and an investigation of the behaviour of formulas within texts. The corpora were found to be significantly different from each other in terms of overall representation with a medium effect size. The greatest difference concerned referential expressions and the smallest difference concerned stance expressions. In terms of intra-corpus variation the AFL was found to occur less often in the humanities and most often in the natural sciences for both corpora. The composition of coverage revealed Zipfian distributions for the AFL, with both corpora presenting a similar set of high frequency formulas within each group category. A combined ratio and minimum frequency measure identified salient formulas to each corpus. Concerning formula behaviour, differences were found between the corpora concerning the use of the same formulas. Pedagogic and methodological implications are discussed in the conclusion.
Article
This study investigates disciplinary variation in the relationship between syntactic complexity and rhetorical move-steps in research article (RA) introductions. Our data consisted of the introduction sections of 400 published RAs in two core social science disciplines, Anthropology and Sociology, and two core engineering disciplines, Chemical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. Each sample was manually annotated for rhetorical move-steps using an adapted version of Swales’ (2004) revised Create a Research Space model and assessed for syntactic complexity using multiple measures of global complexity, finite subordination, clausal elaboration, and phrasal complexity. Our results revealed significant disciplinary variation in terms of the syntactic complexity of sentences realizing each of six rhetorical move-steps commonly found in RA introductions. Our findings contribute to the emerging understanding of disciplinary variation in function-form mappings in RA writing and have useful implications for genre-based academic writing research and pedagogy.
Article
This grounded theory study explores the academic English reading practices of six EAL (English as an additional language) students from Asia in a graduate course in their first semester at a U.S. university. Academic reading is an understudied yet foundational literacy practice for graduate students. Data include classroom observations of the graduate course during one semester; individual interviews with six students and the course instructor; and the collection of documents. Drawing on the analytic lenses of agency and accountability, the findings show that while the requirements established by the instructor and syllabus explicitly or implicitly held students accountable for the work, students also responded strategically to the course’s accountability structure. They agentively made choices about how to engage with the readings in terms of the purposes for which they read and how much time they spent on the readings.
Article
This article presents the Computer Science Academic Vocabulary List (CSAVL), a pedagogical tool intended for use by English-for-specific-purpose educators and material developers. A 3.5-million-word corpus of academic computer science texts was developed in order to produce the CSAVL. The CSAVL draws from the improved methodologies used in the creation of recent lemma-based word lists such as the Academic Vocabulary List (AVL) (Gardner & Davies, 2014) and the Medical Academic Vocabulary List (MAVL) (Lei & Liu, 2016), which take into account the discipline-specific meanings of academic vocabulary. The CSAVL provides specific information for each entry, including part of speech and CS-specific meanings in order to provide users with clues as to how each item is used within the context of academic CS. Based on the analyses performed in this study, the CSAVL was found to be a more efficient tool for reaching an minimal level of academic CS reading comprehension than the Academic Word List (AWL) (Coxhead, 2000), or the combination of the AWL with the Computer Science Word List (CSWL) (Minshall, 2013).
Article
The Academic Vocabulary List (AVL) (Gardner & Davies, 2014) is a valuable resource for EAP teachers and students as it identifies potential lexical learning/teaching targets. This study enhances the AVL's pedagogical usefulness by identifying polysemous lemmas in it. Polysemous AVL lemmas are operationalised as those with more than one definition in two lexicographic resources, the Collins COBUILD Advanced Learners' Dictionary and WordNet. This study also examines a theoretical issue, the relationship between the number of meaning senses of AVL lemmas and their frequency in an academic-English corpus. To this end, correlations were calculated between the numbers of AVL lemmas' meaning definitions listed in both lexicographic resources and their frequency in the COCA-Academic corpus. 34.38% of the 2673 AVL lemmas included in both lexicographic resources, excluding homonyms, are polysemous. Most (66.05%) come from the most frequent 1000 AVL lemmas. The number of meaning definitions of AVL lemmas and their frequency are positively correlated. This correlation is non-linear, i.e., low-frequency words tend to be monosemous but beyond a frequency threshold, word definitions increase as word frequency increases. Implications for future research and teaching are discussed.
Article
The relationship of lexical sophistication to second language (L2) production quality has received much attention in the past few decades. Viewed as a multidimensional construct, lexical sophistication has been measured using indices that tap into various distributional, formal, semantic, acquisitional, and psycholinguistic properties of words and certain n-gram properties (e.g., Kyle et al., 2018). However, existing indices have not systematically accounted for the fact that polysemous words are used with distinct senses in different contexts and that those senses may not be equally sophisticated for L2 learners. The current study addresses this gap by proposing three frequency-based lexical sophistication indices that take into account the reference-corpus frequency of the senses with which polysemous words are used in learner texts and assessing their predictive power for L2 English writing quality both in comparison to and in combination with existing lexical sophistication indices. Results from the analysis of a corpus of exam scripts produced by L2 learners sitting for the Cambridge First Certificate in English (Yannakoudakis et al., 2011) show that two sense-aware indices proposed correlated more strongly with holistic scores of L2 English writing quality than existing indices. Integrating the new sense-aware indices with existing ones in a regression model resulted in higher predictive power for L2 English writing quality than models built with either set of indices alone. The implications of our findings for future L2 lexical sophistication research are discussed.
Knowledge of collocations is essential for English academic writing. However, there are few academic collocation referencing tools available and there is a pressing need to develop more. In this paper, we will introduce the ACOP (Academic Collocations and Phrases Search Engine), a newly developed corpus-based tool to search large academic corpora. Using the AntCorGen corpus crawling tool, 100,000 articles from 10 academic areas were downloaded from the PLOS One journal database. A multidisciplinary 500-million-word academic corpus was thus created. Our team further developed the ACOP to allow users to search for collocations and phrases in the academic corpus that we compiled. Additionally, this new tool will allow learners to search for not only bigrams but also for three- to five-word strings. Learners can further search using parts of speech. To validate whether the new tool can assist EFL learners in finding appropriate academic collocations, we compared this tool with BYU’s state-of-the-art COCA corpus search tool. The 35 students who participated in the study were randomly divided into two groups. One group used BYU’s COCA tool and the other used the ACOP tool. Both groups were asked to identify suitable collocates for 25 gap-fill questions. Paired t-tests and independent t-tests were used to analyze the data. The results indicated that both groups showed a significant improvement in the posttest when they had access to the collocation retrieval systems. However, statistically, the results showed no significant difference between the two tools, as they were equally useful in helping the students find appropriate collocates. According to the users’ surveys, compared with the COCA group, the participants in the ACOP group found the ACOP easier to use and the interface was clearer and simpler. The Mann-Whitney U tests of the two groups showed significant differences in the aspect of the interface. The preliminary results indicated that the ACOP can assist EFL learners in finding suitable academic collocations and phrases, and the users’ surveys showed positive results.
Article
This study investigated variation in the rhetorical and phraseological features of research article introductions among five social science disciplines. Our dataset consisted of the introduction sections of 500 published research articles from Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. All texts in the dataset were manually annotated for rhetorical moves and steps by a team of seven researchers using an extensively adapted version of Swales’ (2004) revised Create a Research Space (CARS) model. Our rhetorical and phraseological analysis of the corpus revealed substantial disciplinary variation in both the distribution of rhetorical move-steps and the associations between phrase-frames and rhetorical move-steps among the five social science disciplines. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of disciplinary variation in the rhetorical and linguistic features of research article writing and have useful implications for academic writing research and pedagogy.
Article
Despite the growth of interest in the phenomenon of shell-nounhood in academic discourse, research has been primarily concerned with published research articles. This contrasts with the limited attention that it has received in the study of disciplinary student writing. This study explores discipline specificity in student writing through an in-depth multifaceted analysis of two frequent shell nouns, problem and way, in a sample of Year 3 undergraduate native writing from the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus in three disciplines: Sociology, Business and Engineering. The lexical, syntactico-semantic and textual variables coded yield results that conform to the divide between the more experimental approach of the Physical Sciences and the more interpretive one taken in the Social Sciences. The examination of data in this paper helps identify distinctive disciplinary trends at various levels of linguistic analysis, many of which could then be further inspected through more automated pattern-driven investigations of larger datasets.
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Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have investigated the reading of English texts in the subject disciplines from the viewpoints of the native-English-speaking professor in the particular field, the teacher of English as a foreign language, and the advanced learner of English who is a student in the particular field. This paper focuses on the Israeli students' handling of specialized English discourse and discusses findings from four complementary studies conducted by a small group of investigators. The studies investigated a bio-chemistry student's experience reading a survey article on genetics, two biology students' experiences reading textbook material on genetics, an economics-international relations student's experience reading an analysis of the voting process, and three South East Asian history students' experiences reading the introduction to a basic history text. For comparison purposes the fourth study also elicited responses from native English speakers. Although the reading passages untilized in the studies reflected different disciplines and different rhetorical approaches, students across disciplines were found to have similar problems. Among those were difficulty with heavy noun phrase subjects and objects, syntactic markers of cohesion, and the role of non-technical vocabulary in technical texts.
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Review of the book: Learning vocabulary in another language. This article has been published in the journal: New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistic. Used with permission.
Book
Attempts to stress the importance of vocabulary in linguistics. This book is a series of articles which cover much of the current research activity in the applied linguistics of vocabulary description, learning and teaching. The authors include Baita Laufer and Guust Meijers.
Article
How do we teach and learn vocabulary? How do words work in literary texts? In this book, Ronald Carter provides the necessary basis for the further study of modern English vocabulary with particular reference to linguistic descriptive frameworks and educational contexts. Vocabulary: Applied Linguistic Perspectives includes an introductory account of linguistic approaches to the analysis of the modern lexicon in English and discusses key topics such as vocabulary and language teaching, dictionaries and lexicography and the literary, stylistic study of vocabulary. This Routledge Linguistics Classic includes a substantial new introductory chapter situating the book in the current digital age, covering changes and developments in related fields from lexicography and corpus linguistics to vocabulary testing and assessment as well as additional new references. Vocabulary: Applied Linguistic Perspectives has been widely praised since first publication for the breadth, depth and clarity of its approach and is a key text for postgraduate students and researchers studying vocabulary within the fields of English Language, Applied Linguistics and Education.
Article
The question addressed in this study is whether the speed with which a word is recognized depends upon the frequency of related words, and which types of related words have such an influence. For example, does the speed of recognition of the word stair depend at all on the frequency of stairs (an inflectional relative)? Is the speed with which people recognize govern influenced by their knowledge of the word government (a derivational relative)? Is the recognition of fee influenced by the simple fact that the letters overlap with the letters in familiar words such as feet, feed, and feel (nonmorphological relatives)? The authors asked 95 U. S. college students to distinguish stem words from nonwords in a lexical decision task. The stem words were matched for length and individual frequency, but differed substantially in the frequency of their inflectional, derivational, or nonmorphological relatives. The researchers found that the frequency of inflectionally and derivationally related words significantly affected speed and accuracy of recognition of stems; however, these effects were conditioned by the likely age of acquisition for each word, and by the part of speech. Extensive analyses showed that simple letter overlap did not have a significant effect on word recognition. Taken as a whole, the results support the concept of morphologically based word families, that is, the hypothesis that morphological relations between words, derivational as well as inflectional, are represented in the lexicon. /// [French] La présente recherche vise à vérifier dans quelle mesure la vitesse de reconnaissance des mots est influencée par la fréquence des mots associés et dans quelle mesure elle varie en fonction de la nature des relations entre les mots. Par exemple, est-ce que la vitesse de reconnaissance du mot escalier est influencée par la fréquence du mot escaliers (mot associé par une relation inflexionnelle)? Est-ce que la vitesse de reconnaissance du mot gouverner est fonction de la fréquence du mot gouvernement (mot associé par une relation dérivative)? Est-ce que la reconnaissance du mot amertume est lié à la fréquence du mot amerrissage (mot associé seulement par une relation graphique)? La recherche impliquait 95 étudiants de niveau collégial. La tâche de décision lexicale consistait à distinguer entre des mots racines et des non-mots. Les mots racines étaient pairés en fonction de leur longueur et de leur fréquence, mais différaient de façon substantielle quant à la fréquence des mots associés soit par des relations inflexionnelles, dérivatives ou graphiques. Les résultats confirmèrent l'influence de la fréquence des mots associés inflexionnellement ou dérivativement sur la vitesse de reconnaissance des mots racines. Cependant, ces effets sont fonction de l'âge probable d'acquisition des mots et de la catégorie de mots. Le simple recouvrement de lettres (relation graphique) n'a aucun effet. Dans l'ensemble ces résultats confirment le concept de familles de mots constituées autour de relations morphologiques, soit inflexionnelles ou dérivatives, et la conception selon laquelle le lexique mental est ainsi constitué. /// [Spanish] El problema en cuestión en este estudio es averiguar si la velocidad a la que una palabra es reconocida depende de la frecuencia de palabras relacionadas, y qué tipos de las palabras relacionadas tienen esa influencia. Por ejemplo, ¿la velocidad de reconocimiento de la palabra escalera depende de alguna manera de la frecuencia de escaleras (relacionada de forma infleccional)? ¿La velocidad a la que la gente reconoce la palabra gobernar está influída por su conocimiento de la palabra gobierno (relacionada por derivación)? ¿Está el reconocimiento de paje influído por el simple hecho que las letras son las mismas que en otras palabras familiares tales como paja y pájara (relacionadas de forma no morfológica)? Los autores pidieron a 95 estudiantes universitarios estadounidenses que distinguieran palabras raíz de palabras sin sentido en una tarea que implicaba decisión léxica. Las palabras raíz fueron apareadas tanto en longitud como en frecuencia individual, pero difiriendo substancialmente en la frecuencia de las palabras relacionadas de forma infleccional, derivacional y no morfológica. Se encontró que la frecuencia de palabras relacionadas de manera infleccional y derivacional afectó significativamente la velocidad y exactitud en el reconocimiento de las palabras raíz; sin embargo, estos efectos fueron condicionados por la probable edad de adquisición de cada palabra y por su posición gramatical. La similitud en la escritura (relación de forma no morfológica) no tuvo efecto alguno. Considerados en su totalidad, los resultados apoyan el concepto de familias de palabras con base morfológica, esto es, la hipótesis que las relaciones morfológicas entre las palabras, tanto de tipo derivacional como infleccional, están representadas en el lexicón. /// [German] In dieser studie werden die Fragen untersucht, ob die Geschwindigkeit, mit der ein Wort erkannt wird, von der Häufigkeit verwandter Wörter abhängt, und welche Arten verwandter Wörter einen solchen Einfluß ausüben. Hängt z.B. die Geschwindigkeit, mit der das Wort Treppe erkannt wird, prinzipiell von der Häufigkeit des Wortes Treppen ab (eine Flexionsverwandtschaft)? Ist die Geschwindigkeit, mit der Menschen das Wort regieren erkennen, davon abhängig, daß sie das Wort Regierung kennen (eine Derivationsverwandtschaft)? Wird das Erkennen von Bau durch die einfache Tatsache beeinflußt, daß die Buchstaben sich mit denen in bekannten Wörten wie z.B. Baum, Bauch und Bausch decken (nicht-morphologische Verwandtschaft)? Die Verfasser forderten 95 Studenten in einem Experiment auf, Stammwörter von Nicht-Wörten in lexikalischer Hinsicht zu unterscheiden. Die Stammwörter wurden in ihrer Länge und jeweiligen Häufigkeit zueinander geordnet, sie untershieden sich jedoch erheblich in der Häufigkeit ihrer Flexions-, Derivations- und nicht-morphologischen Verwandtschaft. Die Resultate zeigten, daß die Häufigkeit der flexions- und derivationsverwandten Wörter die Geschwindigkeit und Genauigkeit, mit der die Stämme erkannt wurden, beträchtlich beeinflußte; diese Auswirkungen waren jedoch bedingt durch den Zeitpunkt, zu dem jedes einzelne Wort gelernt wurde, und durch die Art des Satzgliedes, die sie darstellten. Das einfache Uebereinstimmen von Buchstaben hatte keinerlei Effekt. Insgesamt unterstützen die Resultate das Konzept morphologisch-verwandter Wortfamilien, d.h. die Hypothese, daß morphologische Beziehungen zwischen Wörten, ob nun derivativer oder flektierender Art, im Lexikon dargestellt sind.
Article
The idea of a word family is important for a systematic approach to vocabulary teaching and for deciding the vocabulary load of texts. Inclusion of a related form of a word within a word family depends on criteria involving frequency, regularity, productivity and predictability. These criteria are applied to English affixes so that the inflectional affixes and the most useful derivational affixes are arranged into a graded set of seven levels. This set of levels and others like it have value in guiding teaching and learning, in standardising vocabulary load and vocabulary size research, in investigating lexical development and lexical storage, and in guiding dictionary making.
Article
This article describes the development and evaluation of a new academic word list (Coxhead, 1998), which was compiled from a corpus of 3.5 million running words of written academic text by examining the range and frequency of words outside the first 2,000 most frequently occurring words of English, as described by West (1953). The AWL contains 570 word families that account for approximately 10.0% of the total words (tokens) in academic texts but only 1.4% of the total words in a fiction collection of the same size. This difference in coverage provides evidence that the list contains predominantly academic words. By highlighting the words that university students meet in a wide range of academic texts, the AWL shows learners with academic goals which words are most worth studying. The list also provides a useful basis for further research into the nature of academic vocabulary.
Article
This paper examines the feasibility of allowing the texts that are used in a course to sequence the target vocabulary of a course, in this paper the vocabulary of academic study as represented by the University Word List. It was found that such an approach would only allow the learners to meet a little over half of the 836 word vocabulary and that a three-step sequencing procedure would be needed to effectively meet all of the wanted vocabulary. The three steps would involve (1) using adapted texts to gradually introduce the very common academic words, (2) using unsimplified texts to meet the next 200-300 words, and (3) relying on extensive reading and planned decontextualised learning to meet the remaining lower frequency items.
Article
The Academic Word List (Coxhead 2000) consists of 570 word families that are frequent and wide ranging in academic texts. It was created by counting the frequency, range, and evenness of spread of word forms in a specially constructed academic corpus. This study examines the words in the Academic Word List (AWL) to see if the existence of unrelated meanings for the same word form (homographs) has resulted in the inclusion of words in the list which would not be there if their clearly different meanings were distinguished. The study shows that only a small proportion of the word families contain homographs, and in almost all cases, one of the members of a pair or group of homographs is much more frequent and widely used than the others. Only three word families (intelligence, offset, and panel) drop out of the list because none of their homographs separately meet the criteria for inclusion in the list. A list of homographs in the AWL is provided, with frequencies for those where each of the members of a homograph pair are reasonably frequent.
Article
This report aims to show how an emphasis on vocabulary can contribute to courses in English for Specific Purposes (ESP), using the data from two lexical studies. The first study attempts to discover to what extent there may be a general language of science, or semi-technical vocabulary. This type of vocabulary would seem to offer a useful organizing principle for a lexical syllabus in common core ESP courses, and a role for the ESP teacher who finds difficulty in dealing with technical material. The study is concerned with elaborating a definition of the term semi-technical vocabulary using a combination of subjective and objective data, and by applying these criteria to the word list from the LOB Corpus study of a number of scientific disciplines. The second study examines lexical characteristics of one special language, electronics English. It is a lexical needs analysis, attempting to give a group of special interest learners words they need. The study is a count of the frequency items in 20,000 words of electronics English in ten 2,000-word samples. The entire corpus is examined, but the study also focuses on the semi-technical vocabulary of electronics, comparing it with the list developed from the first study. (JL)
Article
This paper outlines the principles of vocabulary learning and corpus linguistics which guided the development of the Academic Word List (AWL) (Coxhead 1998) (see Appendix One) based on a corpus of approximately 3,500,000 running words of written academic text. The list was developed in response to the needs of learners preparing for academic study and their teachers for a well-principled, corpus-based study to determine which academic vocabulary items occur with wide range and reasonable frequency in academic texts outside of the first 2,000 words of English (West 1953). The principles which underpin the study are that teachers should teach materials which are relevant to the learners, that teachers should teach the most useful vocabulary no matter what subject area the students will study in future, and that teachers should deal with the most important words first. The AWL is an example of the close relationship between corpus linguistics and language teaching.
Article
ESP has become central to the teaching of English in university contexts and there can be little doubt of its success as an approach to understanding language use. This success is largely due to ESP's distinctive approach to language teaching based on identification of the specific language features, discourse practices and communicative skills of target groups, and on teaching practices that recognize the particular subject-matter needs and expertise of learners. Unfortunately, however, this strength is increasingly threatened by conceptions of ESP which move it towards more general views of literacy, emphasizing the idea of ‘generic’ skills and features which are transferable across different disciplines or occupations. In this paper I argue the case for specificity: that ESP must involve teaching the literacy skills which are appropriate to the purposes and understandings of particular academic and professional communities. The paper traces the arguments for a specific view, outlines some supporting research, and advocates the need to reaffirm our commitment to research-based language education.
Article
Computerized text analysis programs (concordancers) are now available for use on personal computers. Drawing upon experimental work done at Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman, this paper shows how such programs can be used as a tool in course design. The starting point is a corpus of written and/or spoken text from the target communicative situation. From this data-base computer text-processing can provide criteria for: (a) the selection and grading of items for the syllabus, and (b) the authentic contextualization of these items in learning materials.
Article
Student Writing presents an accessible and thought-provoking study of academic writing practices. Informed by 'composition' research from the US and 'academic literacies studies'from the UK, the book challenges current official discourse on writing as a 'skill'. Lillis argues for an approach which sees student writing as social practice. The book draws extensively on a three-year study with ten non-traditional students in higher education and their experience of academic writing. Using case-study material - including literacy history interviews, extended discussions with students about their writing of discipline specific essays, and extracts from essays - Lillis identifies the following as three significant dimensions to academic writing: Access to higher education and to its language and literacy representational resources Regulation of meaning making in academic writing rrent Desire for participation in higher education and for choices over ways of meaning in academic writing. Student Writing: access, regulation, desire raises questions about why academics write as they do, who benefits from such writing, which meanings are valued and how, on what terms 'outsiders' get to be 'insiders' and at what costs. Theresa M. Lillis is Lecturer in language and education at the Centre for Language and Communications at the Open University.
Article
A new technique is described in the paper for identifying scientific/technical terms It can also be used to characterize text types At the speed at which science and technology develops today, there appear every year a great number of scientific/technical terms As type-setting tapes and other machine-readable texts are becoming readily available, it becomes attractive to consider the possibility of automatic term collection There are broadly two basic types of terms single-worded terms (e g ‘hardware’, ‘software’, ‘terminal’, etc) and multi-worded terms (e g. ‘programming language’, ‘radio wave transmitter’, ‘hydraulic power transmission system’, etc) Since terms are highly subject matter specific, it is possible to identify single-worded terms on the basis of their frequencies of occurrence and distribution Multi-worded terms are identified on the basis of their collocational behaviour An algorithm is given for the identification procedure. The 2-word combinations recovered from the texts have shown remarkable difference between science texts and general English texts such as a novel, which can be used to characterize text types. The possibility is also discussed to develop a long term automatic monitoring and collecting system of scientific/technical terms so that the term bank can be updated on a yearly basis Another possible use of the present technique is automatic abstracting or indexing of science texts
Article
Introduction Since its publication in 1985, the outstanding 1,800-page Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik, has been the definitive description of the grammar of English and an in-. dispensable reference for any research in the analysis or generation of English that attempts serious coverage of the syntactic phenomena of the language. The new Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, by Douglas Biber, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad, and Edward Finegan, is an important complement to the earlier work, extending and sometimes revising the descriptions of Quirk et al., by means of an extensive corpus analysis by the five authors and their research assistants. Now, the bookshelf of any researcher in English linguistics is incomplete without both volumes. Like Quirk et al. (hereafter CGEL), Biber and his colleagues attempt a detailed description of all the syntactic phenomena of English. But
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