Acquiring academic and disciplinary vocabulary

Authored by: Averil Coxhead

The Routledge Handbook of English for Academic Purposes

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138774711
eBook ISBN: 9781315657455
Adobe ISBN: 9781317328100


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Vocabulary in English for academic purposes (EAP) is a rich and fast moving area of endeavour, which is growing rapidly beyond the historical areas of English as a first language contexts such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, to English as a second or foreign language contexts (Evans & Morrison 2011), including Spain, Turkey, Taiwan, and China, for example. Acquiring academic and disciplinary vocabulary is an important task of both first and second language learners of EAP. This task involves learning to recognise and use vocabulary that is closely tied to the content of a particular field of study. Woodward-Kron (2008: 246) points out the close relationship between a student’s disciplinary knowledge and the specialised language of the discipline. However, as Flowerdew (2014: 6) states, there is a major gap in the EAP literature, in particular of studies that ‘go beyond simple frequency counts and also consider learnability and teachability’.

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