Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type

Project

Program

Master of Arts degree with a major in English, Composition Studies & Pedagogy

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Suzanne Scott

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Joseph Diémé

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

English

Abstract

This Master’s Project focuses on advanced-level English learners' acquisition of discipline-specific vocabulary as they transition from intensive English programs into English-medium university coursework. During this period, the number of discipline-specific terms students must master quickly and independently can be overwhelming. To address this problem, this M.A. Project argues that vocabulary-acquisition strategies should be foregrounded in intensive English programs, and that instructors should train students to supplement traditional vocabulary learning methods with independent concordancing strategies. Using concordancers, students can research vocabulary items by scanning a corpus (a large collection of texts) to retrieve examples of discipline-specific terms within authentic texts, revealing patterns of usage and collocation, and facilitating deeper knowledge of new lexical items that can result in more accurate production.

Although many applied linguists have promoted student concordancing, few teaching resources are available on the topic. Therefore, this project outlines an instructional unit scaffolding the process of independent student concordancing. It provides criteria for teachers to consider when selecting a corpus to suit instructional contexts and aims. It provides an overview of the Corpus of Contemporary American English, a large corpus that is freely accessible online, and it examines the features of its integrated concordancer that can help students learn to utilize corpus data for vocabulary learning. Finally, the project relates the writer’s tentative steps in introducing students to concordance data in his teaching, and it presents his experience using corpus-based tools in his own second-language academic writing.

Citation Style

MLA 8

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