Verb patterns in English for Academic Purposes: Towards a Corpus Pattern Analysis

Lecture Room 3 - Arts Building
Arts and Law
Tuesday 15th January 2013 (16:15-17:30)
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ABSTRACT: English for Academic Purposes (EAP) vocabulary teaching has been the subject of much debate as some authors defend the idea of a general academic vocabulary that cuts across disciplines (e.g. Coxhead, 2000; Granger & Paquot, 2009) while others, such as Hyland and Tse (2007), highlight the specificity inherent in each discipline. The aim of my doctoral research is to take this debate a step further by answering the following general research question: Are the differences in the use of language across academic disciplines so marked that general EAP teaching is bound to be unsuccessful?

To answer this question I will carry out a corpus-based cross-disciplinary analysis of the lexico-grammatical patterning of a set of potential English for General Academic Purposes (EGAP) verbs, i.e. the academic verbs found across the different academic disciplines in a corpus of academic English, with the aim of distinguishing the patterns of use that are typical of general academic English from those that are discipline-specific. On the basis of this cross-disciplinary pattern analysis, I intend to propose a way of presenting academic verbs to learners of general EAP based on Corpus Pattern Analysis (CPA, Hanks, 2008), an approach that consists in creating verb patterns by mapping meaning onto patterns of use and not onto words in isolation.

In this presentation, I will describe the potential EGAP verb list I extracted thanks to the combination of the keyness and traditional frequency analyses. Thanks to this combined methodology, my study takes into account a number of highly frequent potential EGAP verbs, such as find and observe, that have been largely overlooked in previous studies. I will then present the results of my preliminary phraseological analyses, which explore co-occurrence and recurrence patterns of my list of EGAP verbs.

  • Coxhead, A. (2000). A New Academic Word List. In TESOL Quarterly, 34(2): 213-238.
  • Granger, S. and Paquot, M. (2009). In search of a General Academic vocabulary: A corpus-driven study. In Katsampoxaki-Hodgetts, K. (ed.) Options and Practices of LSP Practitioners. University of Crete Publications: 94-108.
  • Hanks, P. (2008). Mapping meaning onto use: a Pattern Dictionary of English Verbs. AACL 2008, Utah.
  • Hyland, K. and Tse, P. (2007). Is there an "Academic vocabulary"? In Tesol Quarterly, 41(2): 235-253.
  • Paquot, M. (2010). Academic Vocabulary in Learner Writing: From Extraction to Analysis. London: Continuum.

About the English Language Research seminars

The ELR seminars are a long-running weekly research seminar series within the Department of English, English Language and Applied Linguistics Division. The seminars are aimed primarily at staff, postgraduate students, and academic visitors in the department, but everyone with an interest in language research is welcome! Seminars are usually held on Tuesdays during term time, starting at 4:15 and finishing around 5:30.