Academic Vocabulary in Learner Writing: From Extraction to by Magali Paquot

By Magali Paquot

An research of educational vocabulary within the foreign Corpus of Learner English. >

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Extra info for Academic Vocabulary in Learner Writing: From Extraction to Analysis (Corpus And Discourse)

Sample text

Such words are also used in general language. The words may have some restrictions of usage depending on the subject field. Examples are: chest, trunk, neck, abdomen, ribs, breast, cage, cavity, shoulder, skin, muscles, wall, heart, lungs, organs, liver, bony, abdominal, breathing. Words in this category may be technical terms in a specific field like anatomy and yet may occur with the same meaning in other fields where they are not technical terms. Step 4 Words that have a specific meaning to the field of anatomy and are not likely to be used in general language.

In biology, for example, we find words such as alleles, genotype, chromatid, cytoplasm and abiotic. These words are very unlikely to occur in texts from other disciplines or subject areas. Technical vocabulary is difficult to quantify. According to Coxhead and Nation (2001), technical dictionaries contain probably 1,000 headwords or less per subject area. Research suggests that knowledge of domain-specific or technical terms allows learners to understand an additional 5 per cent of academic texts in a specific discipline.

2004: 440) comment, ‘novice writers do not (. . ) begin by writing for publication, or for a readership of strangers. ’ The automatic selection of potential academic words for this study was therefore made on the basis of an analysis of both professional and student writing. The professional academic corpora used are the Micro-Concord Corpus Collection B (MC) and the Baby BNC Academic Corpus (B-BNC). The corpora contain about a million words of published academic prose each. The MC comprises 33 book sections and the B-BNC is made up of 30 book sections and extracts from scientific journals.

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