Discourse Functions of Lexical Bundles in Pakistani Chemistry and Physics Textbooks

Gulfam Hussain, Tehseen Zahra, Akhtar Abbas


Lexical bundles (LBs) are indispensable building blocks and essential constituents of academic discourse. The appropriate utilization of the lexical bundle’s approach can effectively enhance students’ understanding of academic discourse. LBs in various academic genres have extensively been studied concerning written and spoken language. However, less research has been conducted to explore the occurrence, nature, and frequency of LBs in Pakistani academic discourse, especially in textbooks. Therefore, the present study aims to explore four-word common LBs and their functional taxonomies employed in Pakistani Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) level textbooks of Chemistry and Physics. A specialized corpus of these textbooks was built which was run on Antconc software for the identification and extraction of the LBs in the corpus. The classification of the identified LBs was then carried out utilizing Biber functional taxonomies of LBs. The study found 102 LBs occurring in the selected textbooks. In functional categories, there was a dominant use of discourse organizers and referential expressions. The findings related to frequent strings of words which can have significant educational implications for teachers, language material developers, and syllabus designers. The list of LBs with discourse functions provided by this study can significantly be used to enhance students’ academic writing and their ability to comprehend different types of scientific texts.                                                      


Academic discourse; Corpus-based study; English for academic purposes; Lexical bundles; Pakistani science textbooks

Full Text:



Allan, R. (2016). Lexical bundles in graded readers: To what extent does language restriction affect lexical patterning? System, 59, 61-72.

Allan, R. (2017). From Do You Know to I Don’t Know: An Analysis of the Frequency and Usefulness of Lexical Bundles in Five English Language Self-Study Books.

Corpus Pragmatics, 1(4), 351-372.

Beng, C. O. S., & Keong, Y. C. (2015). Functional types of lexical bundles in reading texts of Malaysian University English test: A corpus study. GEMA Online® Journal

of Language Studies, 15(1).

Biber, D. (2006). University language: A corpus-based study of spoken and written registers. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Biber, D., & Barbieri, F. (2007). Lexical bundles in university spoken and written registers. English for Specific Purposes, 26(3), 263-286.

Biber, D., & Conrad, S. (1999). Lexical bundles in conversations and academic prose. In H. Hasselgard & S. Oksefjell (Eds.), Out of corpora: Studies in honour of Stig

Johansson (pp. 181–190). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Cortes, V. (2003). Lexical bundles in speech and writing: An initial taxonomy. In A. Wilson, P. Rayson & T. McEnery (Eds.), Corpus linguistics

by the Lun : A festschrift for Geoffrey Leech (pp. 71–93). Frankfurt, Germany: Peter Lang.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Cortes, V. (2004). If you look at…: Lexical bundles in university teaching and textbooks. Applied Linguistics, 25(3), 371-405.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Reppen, R. (1998). Corpus linguistics: Investigating language structure and use. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999). The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London, UK: Longman.

Byrd, P., & Coxhead, A. (2010). On the other hand: Lexical bundles in academic writing and in the teaching of EAP. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL,5, 31-64.

Conrad, S. M., & Biber, D. (2004). The frequency and use of lexical bundles in conversation and academic prose. Lexicographica, 20, 56-71.

Cortes, V. (2004). Lexical bundles in published and student disciplinary writing: Examples from history and biology. English for Specific Purposes, 23(4), 397-423.

Cortes, V. (2006). Teaching lexical bundles in the disciplines: An example from a writing intensive history class. Linguistics and Education, 17, 391-406.

Durrant, P. (2017). Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation in university students’ writing: Mapping the territories. Applied Linguistics, 38(2), 165-193.

Farvardin, M. T., Afghari, A., & Koosha, M. (2012). Analysis of Four-Word Lexical Bundles in Physics Research. Advances in Digital Multimedia, 1(3), 2166-2916.

Granger, S. (2014). A lexical bundle approach to comparing languages: Stems in English and French. Languages in Contrast, 14(1), 58-72.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1993). The construction of knowledge and value in the grammar of scientific discourse: Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species. In M. A. K.

Halliday & J. K. Martin (Eds.), Writing science: Literacy and discourse power (pp. 86-105). Washington, London: Falmer.

Howarth, P. A. (2013). Phraseology in English academic writing: Some implications for language learning and dictionary making (Vol. 75). Walter de Gruyter.

Huntley, H. (2006). Essential academic vocabulary: Mastering the complete academic word list. The CATESOL Journal, 19(1), 210-219.

Hyland, K. (2008a). As can be seen: Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation. English for Specific Purposes, 27(1), 4-21.

Hyland, K. (2008b). Academic clusters: Text patterning in published and postgraduate writing. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 18(1), 41-62.

Jalali, H. (2014). A Comparative Study of Anticipatory it Lexical Bundles in Applied Linguistics and Analytical Chemistry Research Articles. Journal of Foreign Language

Teaching and Translation Studies, 3(1), 24-42.

Johns, T. (2002). Data-driven learning: The perpetual challenge. In Kettemann, B., & Marko, G. (Eds.), Teaching and learning by doing corpus analysis (pp. 105-117).

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Brill Rodopi.

Jones, M., & Haywood, S. (2004). Facilitating the acquisition of formulaic sequences: An exploratory study in an EAP context. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), Formulaic sequences

(pp. 269-291). Amsterdam, Netherland: John Benjamins.

Kashiha, H., & Chan, S. H. (2015). A little bit about: Differences in native and non-native speakers’ use of formulaic language. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 35(4),


Kashiha, H., & Heng, C. S. (2014a). Discourse functions of formulaic sequences in academic speech across two disciplines. GEMA Online® Journal of Language Studies,


Kashiha, H., & Heng, C. S. (2014b). Structural analysis of lexical bundles in university lectures of politics and chemistry. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and

English Literature, 3(1), 224-230.

Khan, M. I, Majoka, M. I, & Fazal, S. (2015). Post/graduate academic writing problems: A Pakistan case. In Badenhorst, C., & Guerin, C. (Eds.), Research literacies and

writing pedagogies for masters and doctoral writers (pp. 389-406). Netherlands: Brill.

Major, M. (2006). Longman exams dictionary. Harlow, London, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

Manan, S. A. (2019). Myth of English teaching and learning: A study of practices in the low-cost schools in Pakistan. Asian Englishes, 21(2), 172-189.

Manan, S. A., Dumanig, F. P., & David, M. K. (2017). The English-medium fever in Pakistan: Analyzing policy, perceptions and practices through additive bi/multilingual

education lens. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 20(6), 736-752.

McCarthy, M., McCarten, J., & Sandiford, H. (2005). Touchstone: Student’s book 1. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Millar, N. (2011). The processing of malformed formulaic language. Applied Linguistics, 32(2), 129-148.

Moon, R. (1998). Fixed idioms and expressions in English. Clarendon, London, UK: Oxford University Press.

Nattinger, J. R., & DeCarrico, J. S. (1992). Lexical phrases and language teaching. Clarendon, London, UK: Oxford University Press.

Neely, E., & Cortes, V. (2009). A little bit about: Analyzing and teaching lexical bundles in academic lectures. Language Value, 1(1), 17-38.

O’Keeffe, A., McCarthy, M., & Carter, R. (2007). From corpus to classroom: Language use and language teaching. England, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Olson, D. R. (1989). On the language and authority of textbooks. In S. de Castell, A. Luke, & C. Luke (Eds.), Language, authority, and criticism: readings on the school

textbook (pp. 233-244). London, UK: The Falmer Press.

Rundell, M. (2007). Macmillan English dictionary: for advanced learners (2nd ed.). Oxford, London, UK: Macmillan Education.

Schmitt, N., & Carter, R. (2004). Formulaic sequences in action: An introduction. In N. Schmitt (Eds.), Formulaic sequences: Acquisition, processing, and use (pp. 1–

Amsterdam, Netherland: John Benjamins.

Simpson-Vlach, R., & Ellis, N. C. (2010). An academic formulas list: New methods in phraseology research. Applied Linguistics, 31(4), 487-512.

Siyanova-Chanturia, A., & Martinez, R. (2014). The idiom principle revisited. Applied Linguistics, 36(5), 549-569.

Stubbs, M., & Barth, I. (2003). Using recurrent phrases as text-type discriminators: A quantitative method and some findings. Functions of Language, 10(1), 61–104.

Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2004). Academic writing for graduate students: Essential tasks and skills. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

To, V. T., & Mahboob, A. (2018). Complexity of English textbook language: A systemic functional analysis. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 13(3), 264-293. DOI:


Tomankova, V. (2016). Lexical bundles in legal texts corpora–selection, classification and pedagogical implications. Discourse and Interaction, 9(2), 75.

Wray, A. (2002). Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Yousaf, M & Shehzad, W. (2018) Prevalence of prefabricated structures in academic discourse: A corpus-based study. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(5),


Zahra, T., & Abbas, A. (2018). Pedagogical Implications of Corpus-Based Approaches to ELT in Pakistan. Journal of Education and Educational Development, 5(2), 259-

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17576/gema-2021-2101-13


  • There are currently no refbacks.




eISSN : 2550-2131

ISSN : 1675-8021