ExploitingAcademic VocabularyKatie Mansfield & Richard PatersonLexical Approach Conference – Saturday 11th May, 13:45
Overview1. AWL2. Shortfall between IELTS vocab and Academic vocab3. Specialist Language and AWL4. Practical suggestions
1. Academic Word List (AWL) (i) Compiled from corpus of 3.5 million words of writtenacademic texts 570 word families (10% of total words in academic texts) Arranged into 10 sublists Reflect word frequency & range(Coxhead 2000)
Academic Word List (AWL) (iii) Word families(Sublist 1) (Sublist 5) (Sublist 10)
Academic Word List (AWL) (iv)Advantages1. Words students need in wide range of academic texts2. Exercises incorporated into Academic English lessons3. Free online sources available (PC & Smartphone):Flashcard makerhttp://orangeorapple.com/Flashcards/Default.aspxExerciseshttp://www.englishvocabularyexercises.com/Test makerhttp://www.phonetain.com/Phonetain_Software/Products.htmAWL highlighterhttp://www.nottingham.ac.uk/alzsh3/acvocab/awlhighlighter.htm
Academic Word List (AWL) (v)Disadvantages1. Created in year 2000. Need updating?2. No focus on collocations (Durrant 2009)3. Does not address discipline-specific vocabulary (Martinezet al 2009)
2. Shortfall between IELTS & Academic vocab ‘Important’ vocabulary not necessarily of high academicvalue Descriptive rather than analytical Judgements of validity not taken into account
3. Specialist Language & AWLTypical Academic Vocab Areas Differences between formal academic language andeveryday language Phrases to refer to sources and to paraphrase or quote Vocabulary to organise texts Word building with Latin affixes Words with Greek and Latin roots
TECHNICAL academic vocabulary normally has a fieldspecific meaning Abstract academic vocabulary can be described asreferring to terms to do with meaning and thinking such asidea, concept, theory; or to non-specific concepts e.g.problem “Parts of British HIGHER EDUCATION arePEDAGOGICALLY constrained by the marketisation thathas accompanied its expansion” Acquisition of abstract academic vocabulary is a strongindicator of how well students learn subject specific content(Stahl & Nagy 2006; Marzano & Pickering 2005)
Practical suggestions (i) Problem: Does not address discipline-specific vocabulary Solution: Create a discipline – specific wordlist. What needed?Discipline-specific texts.Concordance software programme e.g. Antconc (free),Sketch engine, Wordsmith Tools.Time
Practical suggestions (ii)6 Steps1. Save discipline-specific journal articles as txt docs.2. Open the txt docs in Antconc.3. Click on create ‘Word List’.4. From top 100 most frequent words, make a list ofdiscipline-specific vocab.
Practical suggestions (iii)5. Run list through AWL Highlighterhttp://www.nottingham.ac.uk/alzsh3/acvocab/awlhighlighter.htm6. Create exercises using target language in context.
Practical suggestions (iv)Once at home, students can:1. Carry out discipline-specific exercises.2. Write definition of key words to include in Moduledictionary.3. See how words work by accessing online tools e.g.Word tree http://wordtree.coventry.ac.uk/?BAWEBNC http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/
List of references• Coxhead, A. (2000). A New Academic Word List. TESOL Quarterly , 213-238.• Durrant, P. (2009). Investigating the viability of a collocation list for students of Englishfor academic purposes. English for Specific Purposes , 157-169.• Martinez, I. A., Beck, S. C., & Panza, C. B. (2009). Academic vocabulary in agricultureresearch articles: A corpus-based study. English for Specific Purposes , 183-198.• Marzano, R., & Pickering, D. (2005). Building academic vocabulary: Teacher’s Manual.Arlington, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.• Stahl, S., & Nagy, W. (2006). Teaching word meanings. Mahwah, NJ: LawrenceErlbaum Associates.