Approaches to identifying specialised vocabulary for ESP
This chapter has presented a range of options for identifying and classifying specialised vocabulary for ESP by drawing on the methodologies of researchers from different studies. In some cases, one method only is used — for example, a corpus-based study of vocabulary used by university students across disciplines (Durrant, 2016). In other cases, several types of data are used to identify vocabulary for specific purposes, for example, expert opinions, corpus research and interview data, as in the Carpentry study by Coxhead et al. (2016).
New approaches to identifying specialised vocabulary for ESP will emerge as this field of research gains ground and matures. We have already seen how corpus linguistics has made enormous changes in analysing spoken and written texts for technical vocabulary. Some disciplines and fields have been much more extensively explored than others; consider the amount of research on Aviation and Medicine or the amount of university-based research in comparison with secondary or primary-school-based research. Identifying and categorising vocabulary are important steps for research activities such as developing word lists and teaching and learning materials for specific purposes. An issue remains as to whether the technical vocabulary constitutes all the words which are closely related to a subject or only those that are unique to the subject area. The next chapter focuses on word lists in particular.