Lexical Bundles in Applied Linguistics: Variations across Postgraduate Genres

Document Type: Original Article

Author

Isfahan University of Technology

Abstract

As building blocks of coherent discourse, lexical bundles, frequent word combinations that commonly occur in different registers, have attracted the attention of researchers in corpus linguistics in the last decade. The importance of these word clusters lies in their often necessary functional contribution to the development of evolving discourse. While most previous studies of bundles have been mainly concerned with variations in the use of these word sequences across different registers (e.g., conversation, classroom teaching, and lectures) and a number of disciplines (e.g., history and biology), postgraduate genres have not been the subject of adequate rigorous analysis. This corpus-based study explored possible differences and\or similarities between two students' genres in terms of the variety, structure, and function of lexical bundles. Through two corpora of master theses and doctoral dissertations in one single discipline of applied linguistics, the study showed that not only was there a large intradisciplinary difference between the two genres in the range of bundles employed, but also there were some striking differences in the total frequency and function of these word combinations. Some implications for academic writing instruction have also been discussed.

Keywords

Anthony, L. (2007). Antconc 3.2.1: Freeware corpus analysis toolkit. Retrieved from http://www.antlab.sci.waseda.ac.jp/

Biber, D. (2006a). University language: A corpus-based study of spoken and written registers. Amsterdam: Benjamin.

Biber, D. (2006b). Stance in spoken and written university registers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 5 (2), 97-116.

Biber, D., & Barbieri, F. (2007). Lexical bundles in university spoken and written registers. English for Specific Purposes, 26 (3), 263-286.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Cortes, V. (2003). Lexical bundles in speech and writing: An initial taxonomy. In A. Wilson, P. Rayson, & T. McEnery (Eds.), Corpus linguistics by the lune: A festschrift for Geoffrey Leech (pp. 71-92). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Cortes, V. (2004). If you look at …: lexical bundles in university teaching and textbooks. Applied Linguistics,  25 (3), 371–405.

Biber, D.,  Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E. (1999).  Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Harlow: Pearson.

Byrd, P., & Coxhead, A. (2010). On the other hand: Lexical bundles in academic writing and in the teaching of EAP. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 5 (5), 31-64.

Cortes, V. (2001). Lexical bundles in context: A new taxonomy (Unpublished manuscript). Northern Arizona University, Arizona.

Cortes, V. (2002). Lexical bundles in academic writing in history and biology (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Northern Arizona University, Arizona.

Cortes, V. (2004). Lexical bundles in published and student disciplinary writing: Examples from history and biology. English for Specific Purposes, 23 (4), 397–423.

Cortes, V. (2006). Teaching lexical bundles in the disciplines: An example form a writing intensive history class. Linguistics and Education, 17 (4), 391-406.

Cortes, V. (2008). A comparative analysis of lexical bundles in academic history writing in English and Spanish. Corpora, 3 (1), 43-57.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1994). Functions of language (2nd Ed.). London: Arnold.

Haswell, R. (1991). Gaining ground in college writing: Tales of development and interpretation. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press.

Hyland, K. (1996). Writing without conviction? Hedging in scientific research articles. Applied Linguistics, 17 (4), 433-454.

Hyland, K. (1999). Talking to students: Metadiscourse in introductory coursebooks. English for Specific Purposes, 18 (1), 3-26.

Hyland, K. (2000). Disciplinary discourses: Social interaction in academic writing. London: Longman.

Hyland, K. (2004). Disciplinary interactions: Metadiscourse in L2 postgraduate writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13 (2), 133–151.

Hyland, K. (2005). Stance and engagement: A model of interaction in academic discourse. Discourse Studies, 7 (2), 173–192.

Hyland, K. (2008a). As can be seen: Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation.  English for Specific Purposes, 27, 4-21.

Hyland, K. (2008b). Academic clusters: Text patterning in published and postgraduate writing. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 18 (1), 41-62.

Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2004). Disciplinary interactions: A reappraisal. Applied linguistics, 25 (2), 156-177.

Jalali, H. (2009). Lexical bundles in applied linguistics: Variations within a single discipline (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Isfahan University, Isfahan.

Jalali, H., Eslami Rasekh, A., & Tavangar Rizi, M. (2008). Lexical bundles and intradisciplinary variation: The case of applied linguistics. Iranian Journal of Language Studies, 2 (4), 447-484.

Jalali, H., Eslami Rasekh, A., Tavangar Rizi, M. (2009). Anticipatory ‘it’ lexical bundles: A comparative study of student and published writing in applied linguistics. Iranian Journal of Language Studies,   3 (2), 177-194.

Jalali, H., & Ghayoomi, S. (2010). A comparative qualitative study of lexical bundles in three academic genres of applied linguistics. Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2 (4), 323-333.

Jeblonaki, R. (2009). “IN THE LIGHT OF”: A corpus-based analysis of lexical bundles in two EU-related registers. WoPaLP, 3,1-27.

Jeblonaki, R. (2010). English in the context of European integration: A          corpus-driven analysis of lexical bundles in English EU documents.         English for Specific Purposes, 29 (4), 253–267.    

Lewis, M. (1997). Implementing the lexical approach. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Lewis, M. (2000a). Learning in the lexical approach. In M. Lewis (Ed.), Teaching collocation: Further developments in the lexical approach (pp. 155-185). Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Lewis, M. (2000b). Materials and resources for teaching collocation. In M. Lewis (Ed.), Teaching collocation: Further developments in the lexical approach (pp. 186-204). Hove:Language Teaching Publications.

Milton, J. (1999). Lexical Thickets and electronic gateways: Making text accessible by novice writers. In C. N. Candlin & K. Hyland (Eds.), Writing: Texts, processes, and practices (pp. 221-243). London: Longman.

Nattinger, J., & DeCarrico, J. (1992). Lexical phrases and language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Neely, E., & Cortes, V. (2009). A little bit about:Analysing and teaching lexical bundles in academic lectures. Language Value, 1 (1), 17-38.

Pang, W. (2010). Lexical bundles and the construction of an academic voice: A pedagogical perspective. Asian EFL Journal, 47, 1-13.

Ruiying, Y., & Allison, D. (2003). Research articles in applied linguistics: Moving from results to conclusions. English for Specific Purposes, 22 (4), 365-385.

Schmidt, R. W. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11 (2), 129-158.

Scott, M. (2008). Wordsmith Tools 5. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thompson, G. (2001). Interaction in academic writing: Learning to argue with the reader. Applied Linguistics, 22 (1), 58-78.

Willis, D. (2003). Rules, patterns, and words: Grammar and lexis in English language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yorio, C. (1989). Idomaticity as an indicator of second language proficiency. In K. Hyltenstam & K. Obler (Eds.), Bilingualism across the lifespan (pp. 55–72). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.