The Language in the Trades Education project - Vocabulary in the trades

Vocabulary and English for Specific Purposes Research - Averil Coxhead 2018

The Language in the Trades Education project
Vocabulary in the trades

The LATTE project is a collaboration between Weltec and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. The project leader is Dr Jean Parkinson (project contact leader), Victoria University of Wellington, and the team includes Dr Averil Coxhead, Victoria University of Wellington, Emma McLaughlin, Weltec, Dr James Mackay, Weltec, Len Matautia, Weltec and Murielle Demecheleer, Victoria University of Wellington. The project focuses on questions such as what are the discourse and lexical features of the language which is specific to a trade (for example, Coxhead, Demecheleer & McLaughlin, 2016; Coxhead & Demecheleer, under review) and how do learners go about learning that language? What are the features of language and visual elements in trades’ texts? What are the literacy practices of trades’ tutors (Parkinson & Mackay, 2016)?

The investigations include both the written and spoken language which students are exposed to in the building trades (Carpentry and Plumbing) and in Engineering trades (Automotive Technology and Fabrication). The research includes corpora of professional written texts for each of these trades, including course materials, manufacturer’s instructions, Building Codes, Standards and Specifications. This corpus reflects two levels within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, Levels 3 and 4, to gain an understanding of whether there are differences or similarities between novice and professional vocabulary in the trades, in comparison with the professional written corpus. There is also a corpus of student writing in the form of Builders’ Diaries in Carpentry (Parkinson, Demecheleer & Mackay, 2017). The spoken corpus includes classroom and on-site/workshop tutor-based language, including sessions by Automotive students where everyone in class just talks about their common passion: cars. In the following sections of this chapter, the vocabulary research in the LATTE project will be used to illustrate qualitative and quantitative research in vocabulary for ESP.