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Single and Multi-word Unit Vocabulary in University Tutorials and Laboratories: Evidence from Corpora and Textbooks

  • 31/03/2022
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Small-group academic interactions, such as tutorials and laboratory sessions, do not often feature in vocabulary or english for academic purposes (eap) research. Yet across many disciplines in tertiary education, students are required to attend and participate in these speaking and listening events. Eap students need to be prepared for them, and their textbooks should help them prepare also. The present study included interview data from lecturers and students which identified specific issues with speaking in small groups in university; corpus-based analysis of tutorials and laboratory sessions which showed large amounts of high frequency vocabulary; and an eap/esp textbook analysis showed little focus on vocabulary in tutorials and nothing on laboratories. A total of 176 phrases were suggested in three textbooks as being useful for expressions for speaking in small groups. An analysis of these phrases in the corpus showed that three quarters of these phrases did not appear in the laboratory corpus and two thirds did not appear in the tutorial corpus. Finally, lexical patterns from the corpus were identified and categorised in the same way as existing lists of multiword units in spoken academic english. Implications for pedagogy and materials design are followed by suggestions for future research. 2017 Elsevier ltd

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