Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes Research - Averil Coxhead 2018
What kinds of specialised words might be found in a corpus and how might they be classified?
The role and value of word list research for ESP
In this section, I look at various kinds of vocabulary that might be found in specialised corpora and consider issues around their classification in relation to selection principles for word list development.
An analysis of a written Carpentry corpus (Coxhead, Demecheleer & McLaughlin, 2016) brought to light a range of specialised vocabulary which is closely related to this trade. Table 3.3 contains examples of lexical items from the corpus which could be identified as specialised. The examples in the table illustrate how wide ranging a specialised vocabulary can be.
These examples include everyday words (for example, floor and roof), abbreviations (H1 and H1.2) and proper nouns, such as Hardies. Note that jack is a possible proper noun in this list of examples, but in the Carpentry corpus, jack is not used as a proper noun. GIB in building is a type of plasterboard, but in other kinds of texts such as Medicine, this abbreviation may be an acronym which has other meanings. Let’s look now at high frequency words, highly specialised or technical words, compound nouns, proper nouns and abbreviations and Latinate forms.
Table 3.3 Some examples of potential specialised vocabulary from a written Carpentry corpus