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Using key-word analysis to create LSP materials: identifying lexical layers Mike Nelson 20.3.2012 IATEFL 20.3.2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Using key-word analysis to create LSP materials: identifying lexical layers Mike Nelson 20.3.2012 IATEFL 20.3.2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using key-word analysis to create LSP materials: identifying lexical layers Mike Nelson 20.3.2012 IATEFL 20.3.2012

2 What language do we teach our LSP students? What language? How do we know? What criteria do we use?

3 IATEFL 20.3.2012 One option is to use key word analysis

4 What I will talk about today Background: register analysis and the layers of ESP Some definitions and the methodology: –key and key-key words –corpus creation and analysis Lexical layering in Greys Anatomy In the classroom: materials from research results Ideas for doing the same yourself IATEFL 20.3.2012

5 Register analysis and the layers of ESP Early ESP and register analysis Layers: –Close (1965): 3 layers of scientific English –Cowan (1974): 4 categories / sub-technical –Inman (1978): 3 categories IATEFL 20.3.2012

6 Key word analysis IATEFL 20.3.2012

7 Creating the MAC Medical Anatomy Corpus Grays Anatomy Time taken: 2.5 hours Permission to use for research purposes 556, 479 words IATEFL 20.3.2012


9 Key words Key words are those whose frequency is unusually high in comparison with some norm. IATEFL 20.3.2012 Scott (2007): WordSmith Tools 5 Manual

10 Key words Key-words provide a useful way to characterise a text or a genre. Potential applications include language teaching, forensic linguistics, stylistics, content analysis, text retrieval. IATEFL 20.3.2012 Scott (2007): WordSmith Tools 5 Manual

11 Key words The program/s compare two pre-existing word- lists. One of these is a large word-list which will act as a reference file. The other is the word-list based on one text which you want to study. The aim is to find out which words characterise your text. IATEFL 20.3.2012 Scott (2007): WordSmith Tools 5 Manual

12 Reference corpus My text/s Various statistical methods can be used to compare the relative frequency of the words in each corpus Grays Anatomy BNC SAMPLER IATEFL 20.3.2012

13 Key and key key-words Words key in several texts These were then analysed and categorised NKWTexts% Overall Fr eq. 1ANTERIOR141002096 2BACKWARD14100551 3ENLARGED141001104 4LATERAL141001950 5LOWER141001344 6MEDIAL141001245 7MEMBRANE14100870 8PORTION14100820 9POSTERIOR141002082 10SITUATED14100485 11SURFACE141001910 12TISSUE14100678 13TRANSVERSE14100751 14UPPER141001365 15ARTERIES1392589 16ARTERY13921519 17BETWEEN13921726 18EXTREMITY1392234 19FORM13921064 20FORMED1392473 IATEFL 20.3.2012

14 The layers Words of location Common anatomical terms many of which can that used in several contexts –some terms that change meaning in a medical context Sub-technical terms: words that are not medical, but often appear in a medical context Core words, combining forms, prefixes and suffixes (core latin/Greek terminology) IATEFL 20.3.2012

15 Top 500 key key-words IATEFL 20.3.2012

16 Words of location and movement Latinate Normal Movement IATEFL 20.3.2012

17 Multi-area words 1. Lexis related to either an elevation or depression of some kind, ridge, eminence, elevation and crest, in contrast to groove, notch, furrow, depression and fissure. 2. Lexis related to an opening of some kind: opening, aperture, passage, foramen, and orifice. 3. Three dimensional structures that may or may not be able to hold a liquid: duct, canal, capsule, bulb, lobe, vessel and sac. 4. Structures that give support to others: column, wall, and arch. IATEFL 20.3.2012


19 Sub-technical 1. Interrelationships between parts of the body: connected, divides, ends, attached, separates, joins. 2. Description of body parts: shaped, imbedded, enclosed, meshes. IATEFL 20.3.2012

20 Sub-technical: Distribution plot for situated IATEFL 20.3.2012

21 Overview The majority of words are nouns referring to parts of the body (membrane, tissue, arteries). The positioning of these words is then identified according to a very limited and predefined set of words of Latinate and Anglo-Saxon origin (proximal, dorsal, median). Readers are then given a further description of the core anatomical lexis according to its appearance or structure (sac, sulcus, foramen) Finally, the sub-technical terms act as linguistic cement to bind all these sections together (connect, separate, enter, divide). Layers not separate, but interlocking and mutually supportive Dispersion of words tied to specific parts of the body IATEFL 20.3.2012

22 DIY: the Web or WordSmith Tools Access texts Save as a text file Use the web … or use WordSmith Tools

23 IATEFL 20.3.2012

24 Take-home message LSP vocabulary can be seen to consist of clearly distinct layers Layers can help students create order out of chaos You can try it yourself online, quickly and for free IATEFL 20.3.2012

25 Thank you Kiitos IATEFL 20.3.2012

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