Do We Need Discipline-Specific Academic Word Lists? Linguistics Academic Word List (LAWL)

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

University of Kashan

Abstract

This corpus-based study aimed at exploring the most frequently-used academic words in linguistics and compare the wordlist with the distribution of high frequency words in Coxhead’s Academic Word List (AWL) and West’s General Service List (GSL) to examine their coverage within the linguistics corpus. To this end, a corpus of 700 linguistics research articles (LRAC), consisting of approximately 4 million words from four main linguistics sub-disciplines (phonology, morphology, semantics and syntax) was compiled and analyzed based on two criteria; frequency and range. Based on the analysis, a list consisting of 1263 academic word families was produced to provide a useful linguistics academic word list for native and non- native English speakers. Results showed that AWL words account for 10.18 % of the entire LRAC, and GSL words account for 72.48% of the entire LRAC. The findings suggested that of 570 word families in Coxhead’s AWL, 381 (66.84%) word families correspond with the word selections criteria which provide 29.88% of the word families in Linguistics Academic Word List (LAWL). Furthermore, 224 word families that were frequently used in linguistic research article corpus (LRAC) were not listed in GSL and AWL. They accounted for 18.51% of the word families in LAWL with coverage of 5.07% over LRAC, and compared with the 2000 GSL, 658 word families were identified. The results have pedagogical implications for linguistics practitioners and EAP practitioners, researchers, and material designers.

Keywords


Baur, L. & Nation, I. S. P. (1993). Word families. International journal of lexicography, 6(3),          1-27.
Billuroglu, A., & Neufeld, S. (2005). The bare necessities in lexis: A new           perspective in   vocabulary profiling. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://lextutor.ca/vp/BNL_Rational.doc on December 13, 2008.
Billuroglu, A., & Neufeld, S. (2007). BNL 2709: The essence of English (4th ed).        Nicosia: Rustem Kitabevi.
Campion, M., & Elley, W. (1971). An academic vocabulary list. Wellington: New Zealand     Council for Educational Research.
Chen, Q. & Ge, G. (2007). A corpus-based lexical study on frequency and distribution of         Coxhead’s AWL word families in medical research articles (RAs). English for       Specific Purposes, 26, 502-514.
Chung, T. & Nation, I. S. P. (2003). Technical vocabulary in specialized texts. Reading in a     Foreign Language, 15(2),103-116.
Chung, T., & Nation, I. S. P. (2004). Identifying technical vocabulary, System, 32, 251-263.
Cobb, T., & Horst, M. (2004). Is there room for an Academic Word List in French? In P. Boggards, & B. Laufer (Eds.), Vocabulary in a second language (pp.15-38)    . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2), 213-238.
Engels, L., K. (1968). The fallacy of word counts. International Review of Applied Linguistics,         6, 213-231.
Farrell, P. (1990). A lexical analysis of the English of electronics and a study of semi-     technical vocabulary. CLCS Occasional Paper No.25 Trinity College.
Ghadessy, P. (1979). Frequency counts, word lists, and materials preparation: A new    approach. English Teaching Forum, 17, 24-27.
Heatly,A., Nation, I. S. P., Coxhead, A. (2002). Range and Frequency Programs.
          Retrieved from: http://www.vuw.ac.nz/lals/staff/Paul_Nation.
Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2007). Is there an "academic Vocabulary"? TESOL Quarterly, 41(2),   235-253.
Khani, R., & Tazik, K. (2013). Towards the development of an academic word list for applied linguistics research articles. RELC journal. 44(2), 195-214.
Lam, J (2001). A study of semi-technical vocabulary in computer science texts, with special       reference to ESP teaching and lexicography. Research reports, Vol.3. Language    Center. Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.
Li, Y., Qian, D.D. (2010). Profiling the academic word list (AWL) in a financial corpus.            System 38, 402-411.
Li, S.-L., & Pemberton, R. (1994). An investigation of students’ knowledge of academic and    Sub-technical vocabulary. In L. Flowerdew & A. K. K.Tong (Eds.), Entering text (pp.           183-196). Hong Kong: The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Liu, J. & Han, L. (2015). A corpus-based environmental academic word list building and          its validity test. English for Specific Purposes, 39, 1-11.
Lynn, R. W. (1973). Preparing word lists: a suggested method. RELC Journal, 4(1), 25-32.
Martinez, I. A. Beck, S., & Panza, C.B (2009). Academic vocabulary in Agriculture: A             corpus-based study. English for specific purposes, 28, 183-198.
Mudraya, O. (2006). Engineering English. A lexical frequency instruction model. English for     Specific Purposes, 25, 235-256.
Mungra, P. & Canziani, T. (2013). Lexicographic studies in medicine: Academic Word List       for clinical case. Lberica, 25, 39-62.
Nation, I., S., P. (1990). Teaching and learning vocabulary. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle    Publishers.
Nation, P.  & Hwang, K. (1995). Where would general service vocabulary stop and special      purposes vocabulary begin? System 23(1), 35-41.
Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.
Nation, I. S. P. (2016). Making and using word lists for language learning and testing. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Paquot, M. (2007). Towards a productively-oriented academic wordlist. In J. Walinski, K. Kredens, & S. Gozdz-Roszkowski        (Eds.), PALC Proceedings (pp. 127- 140).Frankfurt: Peter    Lang.
Praninskas, J. (1972). American university word list. London: Longman.
Shaw, P. (1991). Science research students’ composing process. English for Specific Purposes, 10, 189-206.
Swales,J. M. (1990). Genre analysis.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Thurstun, J., & Candlin, C. N. (1998). Concording and the teaching of the vocabulary   academic English. English for Specific Purposes, 17(3), 267-280.
Valipoori, L., & Nassaji, H. (2013). A corpus-based study of academic Vocabulary in chemistry research articles. English for Academic Purposes, 12, 248-263.
Vongpumivitich, V., Huang, J., & Chung, Y. (2008). Frequency analysis of the words in the      Academic Word List (AWL) and non-AWL content words in applied linguistics           papers. English for Specific Purposes, 28(1), 33-41.
Wang, J., Liang, S., & Ge, G. (2008). Establishment of a medical Academic wordlist. English  for Specific Purposes, 27(4), 442–458.
Ward, J. (1999). How large a vocabulary do EAP engineering students need? Reading in a      foreign language, 12(2), 309-324.
Ward, J. & Chuenjundaeng, J. (2009). Suffix knowledge: Acquisition and applications.  System, 37(3), 461-469.
West, M. (1953). A General Service List of English Words. London:  Longman, Green & Co.
Xue, G., & Nation, I. S. P. (1984). A University word list. Language   learning and    communication, 3, 215-229.
Yang, M. N. (2015). A nursing academic word list. English for Specific Purposes, 37, 27-38.