Limitations of this research on specialised vocabulary in the trades - Vocabulary in the trades

Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes Research - Averil Coxhead 2018

Limitations of this research on specialised vocabulary in the trades
Vocabulary in the trades

It is clear from this chapter that there is little research into specialised vocabulary in the trades, so in essence one limitation of the research in this field is that there is so much more to be done. The LATTE project, reported in this chapter, is limited to four trades for practical reasons. Extending to more trades would be time consuming and outside the brief of the project. That said, much more needs to be done on different trades in education and the LATTE project provides some support for extending the research. Furthermore, in trades-based research, like other educational research, it is important to recognise that government, educational institutions and industry play major roles in the organisation of learning and the content of courses. This means that replication studies in vocabulary research in the trades might not be easily achievable, depending on the levels and focus of courses on offer. These limitations mean that it is not particularly easy to generalise from localised research, such as the LATTE project.

This chapter reports on a range of elements of vocabulary for trades, reporting mostly on single words. Much more research needs to be carried out on multi-word units, including collocations, frames, lexical bundles and metaphor, for example. Another important point is that it is clear from the LATTE project that a great deal of learning in the trades is based on spoken communication, but much of the research presented in this chapter is based on written sources. As mentioned, the LATTE project includes spoken corpora which at the time of writing have yet to be fully analysed.

Another area of limitation and therefore a gap for further research is trades-based vocabulary and different first languages. In the Aotearoa/New Zealand context, as we have seen in this chapter, some students in the trades come from Pacific islands (for example, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and others) and bring with them cultural and linguistic learning experiences. More research is needed to consider the needs of ESP learners from different backgrounds and what vocabulary is needed in these contexts for learning in the trades. Furthermore, the impact of the research findings on materials and course development needs to be investigated fully.

Finally, trades-based education incorporates apprenticeship models of education, where learning on the job or in the workplace is a key element of a programme of study. The LATTE project focuses on language in the classrooms and on the building sites belonging to the institution, but some students are more heavily involved in apprenticeships or workplace learning. This workplace LATTE element is clearly an area for more research.