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Professional English in the European Context: The EHEA Challenge

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Edited By Angeles Linde López and Rosalia Crespo Jiménez

More than ever, professional English is now cruising towards an enormous challenge in the European university context due to the extremely significant moment we are living in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The European convergence process is demanding immediate reflections, serious analyses, and profound reforms in specialized language teaching that lead to reach Bologna standards by 2010.
This book aims to present an overview of professional English in the current academic landscape in Europe. It intends to shed light on a range of issues, both theoretical and practical, related to ESP, focusing on discourse analysis, corpus analysis, information and communication technologies, methodological approaches, curriculum design, and empirical research into language learning in broad terms. Because teachers need to be researchers and inquirers, this overview thus makes a contribution to the professional English field with the purpose of highlighting several important questions in the entire ESP academic mainstream. Scholars from different European universities explore specialized languages and document ESP teaching methodologies at university levels from a multidimensional perspective.

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Section I Issues in ESP Approaches

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SILVIA BERNARDINI, ADRIANO FERRARESI, FEDERICO GASPARI Institutional academic English in the European context: a web-as-corpus approach to comparing native and non-native language 1. Introduction and overview In this contribution we present a corpus-based analysis of institu- tional English as used in the Italian academic context. In order to make this multi-faceted object of study more manageable and fo- cused, the investigation is limited to academic websites. These are viewed as particularly relevant inasmuch as they provide a powerful means of making contents available to a vast audience, including, crucially, international students. Producing appropriate and effective web texts of an institutional nature in English is a must for institu- tions in non-English speaking countries in order to favour EU-wide student mobility and to attract prospective students from outside the EHEA. From a descriptive / theoretical point of view, studies of aca- demic discourse conducted so far have mainly focused on discipli- nary academic English, and especially on scientific writing. Institu- tional English produced within academia has received much less attention, with the exception of a few landmark publications (notably Fairclough 1993 and Biber 2006). Hence the relevance of the present investigation. The contribution has a double focus. In the first part the poten- tial and limitations of the “web-as-corpus” methodology for special- ised comparable corpus construction are illustrated. We describe the semi-automatic process through which we collected English-language texts published on the web by Italian universities; a similar approach was adopted to build a matching sub-corpus of UK and Irish websites,...

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