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Presentation on A productive academic vocabulary list

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A significant direction of work in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) has been to identify a core academic vocabulary. Such lists have both research and pedagogical utility. The most recent generation of academic word lists are the product of corpus investigations. The corpora used are generally composed of published academic writing, such as research articles. In other words, the texts on which most academic word lists are based are the sorts of texts which EAP learners must be able to read, rather than the ones which they (usually) are required to write. It is however well established that meaningful differences exist among the various academic genres and that there are distinct genres of student assessment writing. It is therefore possible that existing academic vocabulary lists are primarily relevant for the development of students' receptive vocabulary, and less so in terms of productive skills. This paper presents the results of a corpus investigation which aimed at understanding whether and to what extent students' productive academic vocabulary overlaps with existing lists with a receptive focus. The study adapted the approach used by Gardner and Davies (2014) For the present investigation two corpora were used: the British Academic Writing (BAWE) corpus, consisting of student assessment writing, and a corpus of writing produced by university students in the UK not related to assessment or other formal academic purposes. An analysis of the relative frequencies of vocabulary in the two corpora resulted in what can be considered a students' productive academic vocabulary list. This paper will describe the characteristics of this list, how it compares to the Academic Word List (Gardner & Davies, 2014), and present pedagogical implications of the results. Gardner, D., & Davies, M. (2014). A new Academic Vocabulary List. Applied Linguistics, 35, 305–327.

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NameBAAL, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge