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A Lexical Description of English for Architecture

A Corpus-based Approach


Begoña Soneira

This book offers a thorough lexical description of an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) variety, English for Architecture, by means of a selfmade corpus. As other knowledge communities, Architecture practitioners have a distinctive discourse and a linguistic identity of their own. Both are conveyed through specific linguistic realizations, and are of considerable interest in the field of ESP. The corpus used was designed for the purpose of describing and analyzing the main lexical features of Architecture Discourse from three different perspectives: word-formation, loanword neology and semantic neology, which are the three main foundations of lexis. In order to analyze all materials a database of almost three thousand entries was produced, including a description and classification of every word from the corpus considered relevant for the analysis. Thanks to this methodology the lexical character of Architecture language is ultimately revealed in connection with the linguistic identity of its practitioners.
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2. Background of the study


2.  Background of the study

2.1 Professional and academic languages

According to Alcaraz Varó (2007: 5), the circumstances surrounding the so-called “society of knowledge” have brought about the term “knowledge communities”, that is, the communities that bring together the knowledge of a given discipline thanks to their history and spreading activities; they have acquired certain identifying features and at the same time are responsible for the creation of a distinct way of expression. According to Douglas (2000: 7), there are lexical, semantic, syntactic and even phonological features of language which are intrinsic to a given field, and they allow for specialists to handle language in a more precise way in that given discipline which is not available to outsiders. They also display the capacity to coin new technical terms, this is precisely the area of interest of the current study: how words are coined in the field of Architecture and what builds its lexical identity with respect to other specific languages since, as pointed out by Fox (1999: 262), language is a vital aspect of social identity of any group, in this case a professional group, and it is undoubtedly used for the purpose of self-identification.

One of the most salient characteristics regarding these epistemological communities once established is the observance of their orthodoxy; Alcaraz Varó (2007: 5) mentions the term gatekeeping to refer to such a control, a tendency where he would include the standardization of the language used by the community as...

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