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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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4. A functional framework for classifying academic word use 45


4. A functional framework for classifying academic word use 4.1. The framework A framework is presented in this chapter to classify the various functions performed by academic words in academic texts. The framework maps seven functional categories onto Halliday’s (1976) three metafunctional layers: textual, ideational, interpersonal, as illustrated in Figure 7. Textual metatextual, extratextual, intratextual Ideational scholarly process, states of affairs, relations between entities Interpersonal authoritative Figure 7. Framework for functional analysis of academic words. The framework displayed in Figure 7 describes in broad terms the involvement of academic words in academic writing. At the textual level, academic words provide coherence (metatextual), situate the text within the wider research community (extratextual) and help to hold the text together as a cohesive unit (intratextual). 46 Categories Examples AWL item(s) in italics and source text in brackets Te xt ua l M et at ex tu al Headings Methods We studied two pairs of villages. (Med1) In-text cues In this section, we will consider some more complicated cases. (Econtext1) Ex tra te xt ua l Previous research Unfortunately, most previous work on integration has focused on the distribution of race within schools. (Soc1) Other bodies After discussions with the Cote d’Ivoire Ministry of Health, enrolment was stopped. (Med2) Borrowed methods Our statistical analyses used EpiInfo (version 6) and SPSS (version 6.1). (Med1) Ethical consent After obtaining informed consent, we recorded the yellow fever vaccination status. (Med3) Further research We leave this puzzle to further research. (Econ1) In tra te xt ua...

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