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  1. Academic Vocabulary Louis Rogers

  2. www.macmillanskillful.com/

  3. Overview • Defining academic vocabulary • The Academic Word List • The Academic Keyword List • Beyond individual words • Vocabulary and reading

  4. Academic vocabulary • There is no exact boundary when defining academic language; it falls toward one end of a continuum (defined by formality of tone, complexity of content, and degree of impersonality of stance), with informal, casual, conversational language at the other extreme. (Snow, 2010:450) • Academic language is the specialized language, both oral and written, of academic settings that facilitates communication and thinking about disciplinary content. (Nagy and Townsend, 2012:91)

  5. Academic vocabulary • Latin and Greek vocabulary • eat/dine, right/correct • abstract, analyze, aspect • Morphologically complex words • Predisposition • Nouns, adjectives and prepositions • 4:1 Vs. 1:1 (Nagy and Townsend, 2012)

  6. Academic vocabulary • Grammatical metaphor, including nominalization • Informational density • ratio of content words to total words • Abstractness • respiration Just because people who read more can read better doesn’t mean that if you read more this will make you read better. The correlation between amount of reading and reading ability does not imply a causal relationship (Nagy and Townsend, 2012)

  7. The Academic Word List

  8. Academic Word List • The Academic Word List (Coxhead) • 4 discipline areas • 3.5 million word corpus • 570 word families • West’s 1953 General Service List

  9. General Academic Vocabulary • 75% = 2000 most frequent words • 10-15% = academic vocabulary • 10-15% = specialist vocabulary

  10. Academic Word List Job Examine Quantitative Qualitative Omission Persuasion Classification Determine

  11. Criticisms • Multi-meaning words • Volume Attribute • Is one core list possible? • Moving beyond individual words • General Service List + AWL • Address, control, means • Address-issue, control-group, by-means

  12. Too general? • www.lextutor.ca • 2000 + 570 = 85% • 10% AWL • 75% 2000

  13. The Academic Word List • Used in numerous books • Key to developing the area: Coxhead and Hirsh (2007) Science word list Wang, Liang and Ge (2008) Medical academic word list Ward (2009) Engineering word list • Brought lexis and further research to the fore

  14. Academic Keyword List

  15. Collection and purpose • Magali Paquot (2010) • Does not exclude high frequency words • 930 word list • Includes published academic texts and two student corpora

  16. Collection and purpose • 50% from first 1000 words • 97% from first 2000 + AWL • 37.5% from AWL • AWL + 2000 = 85% text • Aimed more at writing than reading

  17. Criticisms • Transferability Vs. Specificity still in question • Arguably both needed at different stages • High frequency necessary • Single item focus

  18. Beyond individual words

  19. Collocations • Hyland 2008 • Electronic Engineering • Biology • Business Studies • Applied linguistics • 4 word bundles • 50 most frequent • On the other hand, as well as the, in the case of, at the same time, the results of the • Half on one list only

  20. Collocations • Function of collocations • Research-orientated = location, procedure, quantification, description, topic At the same time, the purpose of, a wide range of, the size of the, the currency board system • Text-orientated = transition, results, structure, framing In addition to the, it was found that, in the next section, with the exception of

  21. Collocations • Participant-orientated = stance, engagement It is possible that, as can be seen

  22. Collocation • Hyland and Tse (2007) • marketing strategy • learning strategy • coping strategy • Durrant (2009) • Life Sciences, Science and Engineering, Social-Psychological, Social-administrative, Arts and Humanities • 1000 two-word collocations across all 5 areas

  23. Collocation • Three quarters grammatical • Reporting pattern ‘verb + that’ • Argue, assume, conclude, confirm, demonstrate, emphasize, hypothesize, imply, indicate, note, predict, reveal, show, speculate, suggest, suppose • Frequency and pattern combined • Transferability of use not investigated • Based on, associate with, note that, defined as, relationship between, effects on, indicate that

  24. Students Vs. Published Materials

  25. Learner English Vs. native speaker academic English • 50% of AKL underused • Basis, extent, assume, appropriate • 21.4% overused • Aim, fact, main, also, often • Amplify high frequency and diminish low ones • idea/problem Vs. hypothesis/conversely • Many high frequency words under used • Argument, significant, particularly • Between, in, by of = avoidance of noun modification (Paquot, 2010)

  26. Learner English Vs. native speaker academic English • Lack of register awareness • Clusters or sequences • For example, more and more, the problem is that • In particular, in terms of, a considerable degree • Semantic misuse • On the contrary • Chains of connective devices (Paquot, 2010)

  27. Vocabulary and Reading

  28. Skills and strategies • Do they exist? Are they needed? • skimming, scanning, predicting • Used by weak learners to cope • Used by good learners to enrich meaning • Critical thinking perhaps only possible if text processing is automatized

  29. Impact of accessibility • Poor word recognition > poor comprehension > practice is avoided Cunningham and Stanovich (1998) • Skills develop and word recognition improve • Vocabulary • Background knowledge • Complex structures (Chall, 1983)

  30. Vocabulary growth • Bulk of growth • Indirect exposure Vs. direct teaching • Reading Vs. Oral language

  31. Reading and Vocabulary

  32. Reading and vocabulary (Stanovich and Cunningham, 1998)

  33. Reading and vocabulary • Speech lexically impoverished • Children’s books considerably rarer than most spoken forms • Adult books twice as prolific as speech • Rare words (outside 10,000) • 128/1000 scientific abstracts • 20-30/1000 in all forms of speech

  34. How many words do learners need? • 3000 words (Laufer, 1992) • 10,000 words (Hazenberg and Hulstijn, 1996) • 1000 – 2000 (Laufer, 2000) • AWL + 2000 – is it enough? • 98% text coverage (Nation)

  35. Conclusion • Select list carefully to match aims • Pitch the level carefully • Balance skills and language carefully

  36. www.macmillanskillful.com/

  37. Bibliography • Anthony, L. (2011). Products, processes and practitioners: A critical look at the importance of specificity in ESP. Taiwan International ESP Journal. Vol 3:2 1-8 • Bennett, K. (2009). English academic style manuals: A survey. English for specific purposes. 8 p43-54. • Biber, D, Conrad, S and Leech, G. (2002). Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Longman: Harlow. • Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34: 213-238. • Coxhead, A. (2011). The Academic Word List 10 Years On: Research and Teaching Implications. TESOL Quarterly, 45: 355-361

  38. Bibliography • Dovey, T. (2006). What purposes specifically? Re-thinking purposes and specificity in the context of the ‘new vocationalism’, English for Specific Purposes, 25(4), 387-402. • Durrant, P. (2009). Investigating the viability of a collocation list for students of English for academic purposes. English for specific purposes. 28 p157-169. • Eldridge, J. (2008). “No, There Isn’t an ‘Academic Vocabulary’ but…” TESOL Quarterly, 42: 109 – 113 • Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2007). Is there an “Academic Vocabulary”?. TESOL Quarterly, 41: 235 – 253.

  39. Bibliography • Hyland, K. (2008). As can be seen: Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation. English for specific purposes. 27 p4-21. • James, M.A. (2009). “Far” transfer of learning outcomes from an ESL writing course: Can the gap be bridged? English for Specific Purposes. 18 69-84 • Jordan, R, R. (1998). English for Academic Purposes: A guide and resource book for teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Nagy, W, and Townsend, D. (2012). Words as Tools: Learning Academic Vocabulary as Language Acquisition. Reading Research Quarterly. 47(1). pp91-108.

  40. Bibliography • Paquot, M. (2010). Academic Vocabulary in Learner Writing: from extraction to analysis. London: Continuum. • Ramoroka, B, T. (2012). Teaching Academic Writing for the Disciplines: How far can we be specific in an EAP writing course? English Linguistics Research. 1:2 available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/elr.vln2p33 • Snow, C.E. (2010). Academic language and the challenge of reading for learning about science. Science. 450-452.