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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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Appendix 6. Textual analysis of Wash-Post 211


Appendix 6. Textual analysis of Wash-Post All the academic words in the following text (Weiss 2003) are high- lighted in italics and the assignment of each academic word occur- rence to one of six functional categories is indicated by the appearance of the following symbols immediately before each word. Symbol Functional category Metatextual Extratextual Intratextual Scholarly process States of affairs Relations between entities # Attitudinal In a #creative use of insect genetics to solve an enduring mystery of human evolution, scientists studying the DNA of lice have concluded that early humans may have started wearing clothes just a few tens of thousands of years ago, more recently than many had presumed. The new work -- based on subtle genetic differences between human body lice, which depend on clothing for their survival, and human head lice, which do not -- suggests that early humans may have lived in Europe for tens of thousands of years after leaving Africa before availing themselves of clothes Among the work’s #controversial implications: Early humans such as Neanderthals - who lived from about 150,000 years ago until 30,000 years ago and who are typically depicted as hairless and clad in furs -- may in fact have been quite furry until surprisingly late in their evolution. “If you look at how Neanderthals are routinely depicted in books and museums, people have just thought they must have had clothing to protect against cold weather,” said study leader Mark Stoneking of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary...

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