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Academic Vocabulary in Context


David Hirsh

Academic texts present subject-specific ideas within a subject-independent framework. This book accounts for the presence of academic words in academic writing by exploring recurring patterns of function in texts representing different subject areas. The book presents a framework which describes academic word use at the ideational, textual and interpersonal levels. Functional categories are presented and illustrated which explain the role of academic words alongside general purpose and technical terms. The author examines biomedical research articles, and journal articles from arts, commerce and law. A comparable analysis focuses on university textbook chapters. Case studies investigate patterns of functionality within the main sections of research articles, compare word use in academic and non-academic texts reporting on the same research, and explore the carrier word function of academic vocabulary. The study concludes by looking at historical and contemporary processes which have shaped the presence of academic vocabulary in the English lexicon.


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Acknowledgements 9


Acknowledgements The text in Figures 1, 2 and 3 was reprinted from Tan, D. (ed.). 2007. Handbook 2007, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, University of Sydney. Appendix 1 was reprinted from Coxhead, A. 2000. A New Academic Word List, TESOL Quarterly 34/2, 213-238 with permission from TESOL Quarterly. Appendix 2 was reprinted from Emerson, P. et al. 1999. Effect of Fly Control on Trachoma and Diarrhoea. The Lancet 353, 1401-1403 with permission from Elsevier. Appendix 3 was reprinted from Wiktor, S. et al. 1999. Efficacy of Trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole Prophylaxis to Decrease Morbidity and Mortality in HIV-1-infected Patients with Tuberculosis in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire: A Randomised Controlled Trial. The Lancet 353, 1469-1475 with permission from Elsevier. Appendix 4 was reprinted from Van der Stuyft, P. et al. 1999. Urbanisation of Yellow Fever in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The Lancet 353, 1558-1562 with permission from Elsevier. Appendix 5 was reprinted from Kittler, R. / Kayser, M. / Stoneking, M. 2003. Molecular Evolution of Pediculus Humanus and the Origin of Clothing. Current Biology 13/16, 1414- 1417. with permission from Elsevier. Appendix 6 was reprinted from Weiss, R. 2003. Creative Search for Naked Truth: Study Uses Lice DNA to Find When Clothing First Appeared. Washington Post 19/8/03, p. A01 with permission from PARS International. I am grateful for permission to use these references.

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