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Semantic patterning of grammatical keywords in undergraduate academic writing from two close disciplines

Whiteside, K. ORCID: and Wharton, S. (2019) Semantic patterning of grammatical keywords in undergraduate academic writing from two close disciplines. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 39. pp. 1-20. ISSN 1475-1585

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jeap.2019.03.005


Contributing to the growing body of research on student texts, and the construct of disciplinarity at undergraduate level, this study involves a lexico-grammatical analysis of successful third-year student writing in two UK HE institutions from the disciplines of History and of Politics and International Relations. We use an inductive corpus approach in which the phraseological patterning around five grammatical keywords (of, and, that, as and this) is categorised according to semantic purpose. More similarities than variations were found across the four disciplinary/institutional sub-corpora, and, to a large extent, these similarities can be explained in terms of the shared foci of student Humanities and Social Sciences writing. From a practitioner perspective, we argue that the approach uncovers meaning-focused lexico-grammatical features of very high value due to their extremely regular occurrence within student texts. With regard to the EGAP versus ESAP debate, we suggest that an argument can be made for the teaching of ‘meta-disciplinary’ literacy skills.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > International Study and Language Institute (ISLI)
ID Code:116028

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