Technical vocabulary in specialised texts

Jun 22nd, 2015
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This article describes two studies of technical vocabulary, one using an anatomy text and the other an applied linguistics text. Technical vocabulary was found by rating the words in the texts on a four step scale. It was found that technical vocabulary made up a very substantial proportion of both the different words and the running words in the texts

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Reading in a Foreign LanguageVolume 15, Number 2, October 2003ISSN 1539-0578Technical vocabulary in specialised textsTeresa Mihwa Chung andPaul NationVictoria University of WellingtonAbstractThis article describes two studies of technical vocabulary, one using an anatomy text and the other an applied linguistics text. Technical vocabulary was found by rating the words in the texts on a four step scale. It was found that technical vocabulary made up a very substantial proportion of both the different words and the running words in the texts, with one in every three running words in the anatomy text, and one in every five in the applied linguistics text being a technical word. A considerable number of technical words were from the first 2000 words of English and the Academic Word List. The article ends with suggestions for helping learners notice and learn technical vocabulary.keywords: technical, vocabulary, academic words, specialised, terminology, terms, applied linguistics, anatomyIntroductionThere are several approaches taken to the identification of technical vocabulary. One approach is to use the intuition of a subject expert. This can be done in three ways, by using a rating scale as used in this study (Baker, 1988; Farrell, 1990), by using a technical dictionary compiled by a subject specialist or group of specialists (Nation, 2001: 201; Oh et al., 2000), and by making use of clues that the most relevant specialist, the actual writer of the text, used

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