Join me, Averil Coxhead (Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand), to talk about vocabulary and spoken academic English as part of the Academic ELT Online Conference, on Tuesday 29 October at 9am GMT.
I’ve chosen three studies to talk about, which came about in very different ways. The common thread to all three studies is what vocabulary learners might hear as part of their academic work. I often see vocabulary use being part of the marking scheme for student presentations, for example whether they used it from academic word lists. I started to wonder about the academic vocabulary content of teacher talk, for example in a secondary school, across subject areas. Does that vocabulary change over the course of a year? Is it different between subjects, for example, maths and science?
Vocabulary in textbooks
I also wonder about vocabulary in textbooks quite a bit. I recently published a series of textbooks which focus on the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000) with Professor Paul Nation (Reading for the Academic World, 2018). We wanted the textbook to contain plenty of examples of written academic vocabulary in context. Then I started thinking about word lists based on spoken academic vocabulary and whether word strings or lexical bundles might be in academic textbooks to help students prepare for academic speaking situations.
In this study, the focus was speaking in small groups, that is, tutorials and laboratory sessions, to see whether EAP/ESP textbooks had any suggestions for what to say in these situations. Would we find that textbooks focused on these kinds of speaking events? If yes, what kinds of word strings or vocabulary were suggested for students? And would we find these items in a corpus-based study of tutorials and laboratory sessions?
The final study is also about word lists. One of the key questions for this study was whether academic word lists based on written texts, such as the Academic Word List, would help learners with preparing for academic spoken English. If not, how might a spoken academic word list bridge this gap?
So, as you can see, plenty of questions from me. And I hope there will be plenty of questions from you. See you on October 29!
Averil Coxhead – Focus on vocabulary in speaking in English for Academic Purposes – 9am GMT, Tuesday 29 October.
Find out more and register now to join a series of free online webinars designed for teachers of academic English.