Abbreviations, acronyms and Latinate forms
The role and value of word list research for ESP
Abbreviations and Latinate forms can also occur in academic and professional corpora, and require principled decision making on whether they are included in word lists or are excluded. Keeping track of common acronyms, abbreviations and Latinate forms is important in word list research, so that the number of items appearing in the ’not found in any list’ is reduced. It also tells us more about the kinds of specialised items that appear in corpora and how they might be similar or different across a range of subjects and professions. Table 3.7 contains a list of 24 acronyms, abbreviations and Latinate forms found in a corpus of academic written texts compiled for the AWL study by Coxhead (2000). Note that et and al are separated in the table but commonly occur together in academic texts.
The items in Table 3.7 reflect academic writing conventions (for example, et al. and ibid), as well as abbreviations that reflect the content of the corpus such as Goods and Services Tax and Human Resources. Items such as CM, DR and BR need to be checked for their range and frequency in the texts, because they may stand for different things in different subject areas.
Table 3.7 Acronyms, abbreviations and Latinate forms from the written academic corpus used for the AWL (Coxhead, 2000)