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Corpus Analysis for Descriptive and Pedagogical Purposes

ESP Perspectives


Edited By Maurizio Gotti and Davide S. Giannoni

There is hardly any aspect of verbal communication that has not been investigated using the analytical tools developed by corpus linguists. This is especially true in the case of English, which commands a vast international research community, and corpora are becoming increasingly specialised, as they account for areas of language use shaped by specific sociolectal (register, genre, variety) and speaker (gender, profession, status) variables.
Corpus analysis is driven by a common interest in ‘linguistic evidence’, viewed as a source of insights into language phenomena or of lexical, semantic and contrastive data for subsequent applications. Among the latter, pedagogical settings are highly prominent, as corpora can be used to monitor classroom output, raise learner awareness and inform teaching materials.
The eighteen chapters in this volume focus on contexts where English is employed by specialists in the professions or academia and debate some of the challenges arising from the complex relationship between linguistic theory, data-mining tools and statistical methods.
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Integrating Corpus and Genre Approaches: Phraseology and Voice across EAP Genres: Marina Bondi



Integrating Corpus and Genre Approaches: Phraseology and Voice across EAP Genres


Corpus and genre have played a key role in approaches to English for Academic Purposes (EAP) over the past 20 years. The interplay between the two notions, far from leading to contradictory methods, has proved extremely fruitful both from a descriptive and from a pedagogic point of view (Swales 2002). The integration of tools that can be related to the two notions has provided excellent means for the analysis of language variation across genres, cultures and disciplines.

Swales’s (1990) seminal book on genre analysis initiated a vast area of EAP studies combining descriptive and pedagogic interest in the role of genre-based studies (Bhatia 1993, 2004; Berkenkotter/ Huckin 1995; Johns 1997, 2002; Hyland 2000, 2006; Paltridge 2001; Swales 2004). Genre, defined as a class of communicative events with a particular purpose recognized by a discourse community (Swales 1990), rapidly became the focus of analysis and the key organizing principle of pedagogic programmes. Genres are staged, goal-oriented social processes in Hallidayan terms (cf. Halliday/Matthiesen 2004, Martin/Rose 2007). This means that they are described in terms of sequences of moves and steps (representing their generic structure) with elements of variation: there can be optional moves, a flexible order, and patterns of embedding and repetition. The fact that they are seen as social processes accounts for their dynamism (change across different contexts, in response to new media or to changes in the...

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