Exploring Word Associations in Academic Engineering Texts

Noorli binti Khamis, Imran Ho Abdullah


Given the importance of lexis in language description, this study attempts to integrate the lexical approach to describe a specialised language for teaching and learning. In addition, this paper demonstrates the use of the correspondence analysis (CA), one of the multivariate techniques, as a useful tool to describe a language. As such, this is a corpus-based study of verbs among academic engineering text types. A larger engineering corpus (E2C) was constructed by combining two specialised corpora, consisting of two text types, namely reference books (RBC) and journal articles (EJC). The Wordsmith 6 program was used to extract 30 key-key-verbs from E2C. The British National Corpus (BNC) was used as the reference corpus. The CA was conducted with these key-key-verbs by computing the frequency values of the verbs generated for each corpus: E2C, RBC, EJC and BNC. The findings include the visual display of the complex inter-relationship of the verbs among the corpora, thus, demonstrating the potential use of the CA as a tool for specialised language description. The empirical observations of the verbs may lead to significant findings on the features of the academic engineering texts types; thus, this study promises more well-informed future investigations into other linguistic features, rhetorical functions, and pedagogical implications involving the academic engineering texts.

Keywords:  correspondence analysis; academic engineering texts; verbs; corpus-based study; specialised corpora

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/3L-2015-2101-11


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