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Journal of Second Language Writing 16 (2007) 129147

Preparing writing teachers to teach the vocabulary and grammar of academic prose
Averil Coxhead *, Pat Byrd
School of Language Studies, Massey University Palmerston North, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Abstract Over the years, substantial shifts in theory, belief, and practice have occurred in the teaching of language, specically vocabulary, grammar, or their combination in lexicogrammatical features of a language as part of the writing class or curriculum (Paltridge, 2004; Reid, 1993, 2006). Much of the instruction in L2 writing for adult learners who are preparing for degree study in an English-medium college or university focuses on academic writing; one result of this interest in academic writing is a growing body of research data that provides insights into the language of academic discourse and the various registers that make up that discourse, demonstrating that vocabulary and associated grammar characterize particular discourse types (Biber & Conrad, 1999, 2004; Biber, Conrad, & Cortes, in press, Biber, Conrad, Reppen, Byrd, & Helt, 2002; Coxhead, 2000; Schleppegrell, 2004; Schleppegrell, Achugar, & Orteiza, 2004; Schleppegrell & Colombi, 2002). Through knowledge of that literature and the development of skill at analyzing particular examples of academic writing, teachers can learn to identify the language that their students need to become uent writers of various types of English academic prose. In this article, we review recent scholarship on the nature of the vocabulary and grammar that characterize academic writing. In addition to the discussion of published research and theory on language-in-use focused on academic prose, we also include a selected listing of web-based resources to be used for teacher development. We also suggest practical ways that teacher educators can bring the study of academic language into the preparation of writing teachers to teach the vocabulary and grammar of academic prose. # 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Applied corpus linguistics; Language-in-use; Lexicogrammatical features of academic writing; On-line resources; Teacher development

* Corresponding author. Tel.: + 64 6 356 9099x7923; fax: +64 6 350 2271. E-mail address: (A. Coxhead). 1060-3743/$ see front matter # 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.jslw.2007.07.002


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Teaching vocabulary and grammar in the EAP composition class Over the years, substantial shifts in theory, belief, and practice have occurred in the teaching of language, specically vocabulary, grammar, or their combination in lexicogrammatical1 features of a language as part of the writing class or curriculum (Paltridge, 2004; Reid, 1993, 2006). The place of language instruction in the writing classroom remains unclear for many teachers who want to teach composition skills while faced with evidence in student writing that many of their students have yet to develop the linguistic resources necessary for communicative competence as academic writers. Part of the lack of clarity about the status of language teaching in the composition class may result from limited access to information about language-in-use, the approach to language analysis used in many corpus-based and functional studies of grammar/ vocabulary where the focus is on ways that language is actually used for communication (for more information on this approach to linguistics, see Biber, Conrad, & Reppen, 1998; Stubbs, 1993). Language-in-use provides insights not simply on what is possible with grammar/ vocabulary but on what is actually done when a language is used for a particular type of communication. For example, the verb require (which is frequently found in academic writing) can be used in a number of different ways: simple present tense, simple past tense, past participle as an adjective, past participle in the passive or modied to become the noun requirement(s). Require itself is often a word that teachers assume their higher prociency students know, but the various inected2 forms of the word are not likely to be as well known as the base word itself, just as nouns and verbs are more well known by most learners than adverbs and adjectives (see Schmitt & Zimmerman, 2002 for information on student knowledge of inectional forms). In actual use in academic writing, the past participle required is overwhelmingly selected over all the other forms of require and is used for passive verbs and almost never for simple past tense statements. Additionally, required has two possible complementation3 patterns: required that + clause or required + innitive. In academic writing, the great majority of uses involve the innitive as in Every company is required to make a statement in writing (Coxhead, Bunting, Byrd, & Moran, in press). Much of the instruction in L2 writing for adult learners who are preparing for degree study in an English-medium college or university focuses on academic writing; one result of this interest in academic writing is a growing body of research data that provides insights into the language of academic discourse and the various registers that make up that discourse, demonstrating that vocabulary and associated grammar characterize particular discourse types (Biber & Conrad,

Throughout the article, denitions are given for terminology often used in corpus-based linguistic analysis of English grammar. These denitions are provided at the request of colleagues who reviewed drafts of this chapter who have not recently studied linguistics. They are offered in the spirit of help for colleagues who would like special information and with the hope that those who do not need the information will patiently skip over the information they do not need. For example, lexicogrammatical refers to frequently occurring combinations of words and grammar, where a particular word generally requires particular grammar. That is, the verb required can be followed either by an innitive or by a that-clause. However, the most commonly used combination involves required followed by an innitive. The combination of required and the innitive is a lexicogrammatical pattern. 2 Inected, inection, and inectional are used to describe the various forms of a word that are created by grammatical processes. For example, the base form of the verb is require. That verb has the following inected forms: requires, required, requiring. 3 Complement and complementation are used by linguists and grammarians to describe the kinds of words, phrases, and/or clauses that are needed to complete a word. The complements for verbs can be innitives or that-clauses or other required sets of words.

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1999, 2004; Biber, Conrad, & Cortes, 2003; Biber, Conrad, & Cortes, 2004; Biber, Conrad, Reppen, Byrd, & Helt, 2002; Coxhead, 2000; Schleppegrell, 2004; Schleppegrell, Achugar, & Orteiza, 2004; Schleppegrell & Colombi, 2002). Through knowledge of that literature and the development of skill at analyzing particular examples of academic writing, teachers can learn how to identify the language that their students need to become uent writers of various types of English academic prose. Two dangers are inherent in this aspect of teacher development: (a) native speaker and advanced L2 intuitive judgments can be unreliable guides to the language actually characteristic of academic writing (Folse, 2004; Hunston, 2002; Sinclair, 1991); (b) materials developers, curriculum designers, and teachers need to be aware of the difference between language specic to a particular sub-area of academic study or even to a particular reading passage; otherwise, the vocabulary selected for study can focus on items of limited usefulness rather than on words and word families4 that are broadly used in many different academic elds (Coxhead, 2000; Coxhead & Nation, 2001). To provide teachers with the resources needed for accurate and effective decisions about the language content of English-forAcademic Purposes (EAP) writing classes, teacher educators have access both to web-based teacher-support sites (e.g., The Compleat Lexical Tutor at hhttp:// and to a growing body in print format of empirical data and theory building on academic language and on the teaching and learning of that language (e.g., Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad, & Finegan, 1999; Byrd & Reid, 1998; Corson, 1995, 1997; Cotterall & Cohen, 2003; Coxhead, 2006; J. Flowerdew, 2003; L. Flowerdew, 2003; Jabbour, 2001).5 In this article, we review recent scholarship on the nature of the vocabulary and grammar that characterize academic writing. In addition to the discussion of published research and theory on language-in-use focused on academic prose, we also include a selected listing of web-based resources to be used for teacher development. We also suggest practical ways that teacher educators can bring the study of academic language into the preparation of writing teachers to teach the vocabulary and grammar of academic prose. The place of language instruction in the EAP writing classroom: vocabulary of academic writing Knowing a word involves many different aspects of knowledge (Nation, 2005). Additionally, native speakers of a language have varying levels of knowledge of vocabulary items, from high frequency items we recognize in reading and listening and use regularly in our everyday speaking and writing to more specialized lexical items we use only to convey particular meanings. Paradigm and notwithstanding, for example, are unlikely candidates for everyday conversation

Linguists use several different approaches to the grouping of words into sets of related words. For example, a set might be limited to the forms associated with a particular part of speech with the various forms used as verbs in one category and the various forms used as nouns in another category. These part-of-speech based categories are often labeled with the term lemma. For example, the lemma for the verb walk would include walk, walks, walked, and walking. A word family is a much more inclusive grouping that includes all of the various part of speech forms along with other closely related words that might have different afxes. For example, in the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000) the word family for require includes the inected forms of the verb and a noun: required, requires, requirements, require, requirement, requiring. In that same set of academic words, the word family for respond includes verb forms, the singular and plural of the related noun, and an adjective: respond, responded, respondent, respondents, responding, responds, response, responses, responsive. 5 Such resources are exemplied by the multiple publications and web-based materials that build on the word families in the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000, 2006; Haywood, 2007b).


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but occur reasonably often and widely in written academic English (Coxhead, 2000). Corson (1995, pp. 180 and 181) calls this academic language with its restricted use a lexical bar or barrier that students need to transcend in order to move successfully from everyday ways of expressing meaning to the specialized, high-status academic language. Just as native speakers of English have widely varying knowledge of vocabulary, especially academic vocabulary, second language users also have varying levels of knowledge of lexical items; differences are a result of both prociency level and of the natural variance in the knowledge of each individual learner (Hoey, 2002). Furthermore, knowledge needed for the use of words in listening, speaking, reading, and writing is not all the same (Nation, 2001). Knowing a word to use it in writing involves at least understanding and expressing meaning in a range of contexts, spelling (and pronunciation for some people so that they might guess how to spell a word), regular grammatical patterns of occurrence, collocations or words that commonly occur with the word, word families, formality, word parts, and synonyms and opposites. The complex learning that lies behind knowing how to use words in writing does not happen by chance but needs to be planned (Laufer, 2005) by the teacher and by the learner. Both must be aware that a single encounter with a new word will not often lead to learning to use the word in writing because the development of vocabulary knowledge requires multiple encounters so that students build up their knowledge and skill at using words over time (Nation, 2001). The Academic Word List (AWL) (Coxhead, 2000) is an example of corpus linguistics research of language-in-use focused on academic writing that was carried out with teachers and learners in mind. The AWL can guide the selection of academic words worth their limited time for learning and teaching. The AWL is a list of 570 academic word families6 that are widely used across many disciplinary areas; that is, these are not the technical, specialized words of particular elds of study. The list is divided into sublists based on frequency and covers approximately 10% of any academic text (with most of the words in any text coming from the most common 2000 words of English along with a small assortment of more technical words). That is, on average, 10 words in every 100 in an academic text may occur in the AWL. For more on how the AWL was devised, see Coxhead (2000). The nature of the AWL has at least three major implications for teacher educators in academic writing. First, the AWL contains vocabulary that is primarily academic in nature. While AWL words can also occur in newspaper writing (with a coverage of around 4.5%), these words are rare in ction (about 1.4%). Because reading and analysis of ction will not provide access to appropriate vocabulary for students who need to become academic writers, teachers of academic writing should include study of academic texts in the writing classroom. Second, over 80% of the list is Graeco-Latin in origin. This gure indicates that learners from a Romance language background will have a substantial advantage over learners with other rst languages (Coxhead, 2006, p. 6). Third, the specialized nature of academic vocabulary and its origins in Latin and Greek support Corsons (1995) idea of a lexical bar that can block the success of many students as they work to become effective academic writers, making instruction in vocabulary important in

6 Studies of vocabulary generally focus on two major issues: frequency and range. Frequency tells us which words are more commonly (or more rarely) used. Range tells us about how widely the words are used in different areas. For example, required is highly frequent in academic texts and is used widely in many different disciplinary areas, while a term like counter transference is likely to be known only by specialists in psychotherapy and not widely used outside that disciplinary area.

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EAP academic writing courses. Currently the AWL is available as a list of words only. At the time of writing, several research projects are underway to investigate formulaic sequences or lexical bundles of the AWL. Simpson and Ellis (2005) are working on an academic formulas list, and Coxhead et al. (in forthcoming) are looking at the common collocations and recurrent phrases of the AWL. As yet, more specialized word lists of academic subject areas such as economics or biology have not appeared in the literature of EAP. Writing for academic purposes involves specialized knowledge of academic genres (see Hyland, 2007) and of the academic language required by those genres. Academic writing does not exist as a task on its own but is inextricably linked to the reading of academic texts. Both skills are oriented to text (Jabbour, 2001, p. 291), with reading used by academic writers for purposes that are considerably different from those in other types of reading; that is, as part of the academic writing process, materials are read for ideas, data, and language to be used in the written product that results from the process; reading is not just for understanding or for pleasure. Additionally, in the L2 writing class, reading provides learners with language development opportunities and scaffolding as well as meaning and ideas to use in their own writing. Academic reading texts, such as journal articles and textbook chapters, tend to be long and demanding in their content and in the language used to express that content. There are two key reasons why this simple fact is important for writing teachers. Firstly, the sheer volume of reading at university is a major source of difculty for ESL/EFL students (Skyrme, personal communication). Secondly, the vocabulary in different sections of an academic text can differ (Hirsh, unpublished paper). These differences in vocabulary result both from differences in the wording of sub-sections of academic papers (abstracts versus methods versus conclusions) and also in the way that content develops over the length of an article or a textbook chapter. To develop students ability to handle the language as well as the context of academic reading, their writing classes need to include whole-text reading. By working with texts of authentic length and language, students can learn strategies for recognizing, dealing with, and then using the new words that they nd in required reading materials. Thus, the work with academic reading passages should not focus exclusively on the content of the reading but also include study of the academic language, along with work on strategies for vocabulary learning. The tradition in ESL/EFL has been to make vocabulary learning the responsibility of the reading teacher with the result that vocabulary is often approached at the recognition level rather than with the ultimate goal of having the students learn to use the academic words in their own writing. It is unrealistic to expect learners to produce newly met items, particularly difcult ones, early on in their writing. Teacher educators should encourage teachers to provide multiple opportunities to focus on these items in class, to draw attention to them while learners are reading or listening, and to produce them in writing with time for feedback and rewriting (see Ferris, this volume). The place of language instruction in the writing EAP classroom: grammar of academic writing Presentation of information about grammar in a reference book (or a pedagogical grammar textbook) generally proceeds on a category by category basis, verb tense by verb tense, noun class by noun class, and on through the parts of speech and sub-divisions of sentences. This itemby-item presentation profoundly inuences how we view a language and, as a result, how we go


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about presenting the language in curricula, materials, and lessons. Studies of the grammatical features of different communication types (e.g., Biber, 1988; Biber et al., 1999; Byrd & Reid, 1998) reveal a fundamentally different picture of how grammar works in authentic communication (rather than in reference grammars and ESL/EFL textbooks). For example, academic prose is characterized by the following grammatical features:  long complicated noun phrases with nouns more often followed by prepositional phrases than by relative clauses,  long nouns, big words, and a tendency to use words of Latin or Greek origin rather than the simpler Anglo-Saxon word base of everyday conversation,  lots of different words (especially compared to friendly conversation with its limited range of often repeated words),  simple present tense verbs in generalizations and statements of theory,  a limited range of verbs with be, have, seem often repeated,  frequent use of the passive voice (usually without a by-phrase),  use of adverbial phrases to indicate location inside the text (e.g., in the next chapter, etc.). In contrast to the verb-centered instruction often used in ESL/EFL grammar and/or grammarwriting textbooks and curricula, academic prose is noun heavy. Of course, while it is true that academic prose is noun-centric rather than verb-centric, such writing is not just made up simply of nouns but of particular kinds of nouns combined with particular kinds of verbs and used with a range of other grammatical features expected by members of that discourse community (Benz, 1996; Biber, 1988; Biber et al., 2004, 2002; Byrd, 2005; Henry & Roseberry, 2001; Swales, 1990). The major point here is that academic prose is made up of a variety of grammatical features all working together in that environment, or even more accurately, all working together to create that environment. As a result of this view of the clustering of grammar by functional purpose, the teaching point in an EAP writing class will not be how present tense differs from past tense but how academic prose requires a cluster of grammatical items all working together; students need to learn to handle the whole set of characteristic vocabulary and grammar within the context of creating appropriately worded academic prose. Attempts to understand how language instruction inuences language development are all too often undermined by a focus on generic grammar (rather than deeply situated grammar/vocabulary) or by study of single grammatical features such as verb tense (rather than the development of the cluster of grammatical features characteristic of a particular type of communication) (Bunting & Byrd, in press). The place of language instruction in the writing EAP classroom: lexicogrammatical sequences in academic prose In addition to the grammar features that cluster together as the dening linguistic features of academic prose and the individual words that are often used in academic writing, this type of English has characteristic extended sets of words that come in relatively xed sequences and that are likely to be stored in memory as sets rather than created word-by-word for each use. Examples include four-word sequences like those reported in Biber et al. (2004) in an examination of phrases such as the extent to which, as a result of, at then end of, and it is possible to. These sets of words are important for composition teachers and their students for at least three reasons: (a) the word sets are often repeated and become a part of the structural material used by

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advanced writers, making the students task easier because they work with ready-made sets of words rather than having to create each sentence word by word; (b) as a result of their frequent use, such sets become dening markers of uent writing and are important for the development of writing that ts the expectations of readers in academia; (c) these sets of words often lie at the boundary between grammar and vocabulary; they are the lexicogrammatical underpinnings of a language so often revealed in corpus studies but much harder to see through analysis of individual texts or from a linguistic point of view that does not study language-in-use. That is, teachers and students may not be aware that these important sets of words exist, or that they exist as often repeated sets rather than as individual words and need to be learned and used as sets. Wray (2002) demonstrates the problems that adult second language learners have in recognizing the existence of word sequences rather than individual words; she argues convincingly that one of the negative results of literacy development is an unfortunate tendency to start seeing vocabulary in terms of individuals words rather than the sets of words that are so characteristic of language-in-use. In their EAP writing classes, students can be helped to learn these phrases as whole sets and to experiment with such sets in their own writing. A helpful summary of the types of recurrent lexical sequences and their grammatical features is found in Biber et al. (1999) in Chapter 13, Lexical expressions in speech and writing (pp. 987 1036). Because there are so many different kinds of recurrent lexical sets, no list will be complete, and all lists will have overlapping content. However, the general patterns are similar even when scholars use different terminology to label the patterns. The study of recurrent lexical sequences is a relatively new one (Altenberg, 1998), with the result that categories are still being discovered and the naming system still being negotiated. Type #1. Multi-word combinations that are structural or semantic7 units: These are word sets like the phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs that occur together as sets and need to be regarded as a single unit, as a single word that happens to have two or more parts and that may have a more complicated grammatical patterning than simpler compounds. Examples include look up, agree to. Type #2. Multi-word combinations that are often termed idioms (on the difculty of exact denition and application of the term, see Grant, 2005; Grant & Bauer, 2004) and generally involve meaning that is difcult, if not impossible, to derive from the typical meanings of the individual words that make up the unit. Examples include red herring, shoot the breeze. Such sequences are rare in conversation and even rarer in academic writing (Figs. 1 and 2). Type #3. Collocation is the term used for the relationship between a word and other words that are likely to appear in the environment of the word.8 To take an example from the most common 2000 words in English as used in the corpus of approximately 56,000,000 words called WordBanks Online, the word mother has the collocates listed in the table. Some of these collocates are grammatical (her, his), while others indicate the semantic environment in which the word is situated (words for family relationships) as well as two-word combinations with

7 Linguists use the term semantics to refer to meaning in the traditional grammatical trilogy along with morphology (word formation) and syntax (clause structures). 8 Collocational relationships are revealed by a computer analysis of words in a corpus. The core word in the relationship is termed the node while the words that often are found with the node are called its collocates. A statistical program is used to decide if the relationship between two words that are frequently found near each other is accidental or statistically signicant. While some xed expressions can show up as a result of a collocational analysis of words in a corpus, these two-word combinations are often not xed expressions that are easily recognized in a single text. However, the relationship can be a powerful one with a word pulling other words to it on a regular, repeated basis that advanced users of a language recognize when the relationship is pointed out but might not have been anticipated.


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Fig. 1. Table collocates for Mother in WordBanks online.

specialized use (Queen Mother, Mother Earth). The strong association of died and death with mother results from the inclusion of biographic information in many of the subcorpora that make up the larger corpora.9 The functions of mothers in U.S. and British society might be hinted at with the close collocational relationship of mother to words of speaking such as said and told. Finally, the inclusion of political and social commentary and news in the corpus is suggested by the relationship between single and mother for the phrase single mother with its underlying meaning of a woman with a child or children but no husband. Type #4. Word types based on complement and valency patterns: A major lexicogrammatical pattern for verbs involves two widely recognized grammatical patterns for verb phrases: (a) many

The importance of information about the death of a persons mother in a biographical prole might be worthy of intercultural and/or pragmatic investigation.

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verbs can take that-clauses or innitives as their complements. That is, a feature of a particular verb is whether or not it can take such a complement (and thus generally is used with particular grammar) and, very importantly, any register10 differences over which type of complement is used for particular types of communication; (b) Valency is the word used by many linguists for the verb pattern teachers generally discuss in terms of transitive, intransitive, and linking verbs. Again, particular words t into particular grammatical patterns, demonstrating once more the tie between vocabulary and grammar. Moreover, the connection between words and grammar can go in either direction: if we want to talk about valency patterns, we end up making lists of particular verbs that have the pattern, but if we want to talk about particular verbs, we end up explaining their valency patterns as transitive, intransitive, or linking verbs. Type #5. Lexical bundle is a term created and advanced by Douglas Biber, Susan Conrad, and their colleagues (e.g., Biber & Conrad, 1999; Biber et al., 1999; Cortes, 2004). Lexical bundles are sets of words that are repeated in exactly the same form and sequence at a frequency and over a range of different registers specied by the researcher. Other scholars have investigated the same pattern using other labels such as Altenbergs recurrent lexical sequences (Altenberg, 1998). Biber et al. (1999) provides detailed information about lexical bundles found in their corpus with the focus on recurrent sets of four words that appear at least 10 times per million words, although some information is given about longer sequences. In their corpus, lexical bundles often used in conversation include sets such as I do not want to and Do you want, while academic prose often uses sets like in order to and there is no The lexicogrammatical force of these patterns derives from the combination of particular word sets (a matter of vocabulary) that involve particular grammatical patterns (word order, subjectverb agreement, and the grammar features required to complete the sequence). The lexical bundles characteristic of academic prose t within the larger nature of such writing. That is, many of the lexical bundles reported by Biber et al. (1999) for academic prose involve noun phrase structure, passive verb phrases, or use of a simple form of be followed by a noun or adjective phrase. Examples include noun phrases followed by of (e.g., the number of); noun phrases with other types of post-modier fragments (e.g., the fact that); passive verb followed by a prepositional fragment requiring a noun phrase for completion (e.g., are shown in); and copular be followed by a noun/adjective phrase (e.g., is a matter of, is similar to). Type #6. Semi-xed sequences combining semantic requirements with grammar and vocabulary: Another, but harder to study, feature of extended text is the use of more abstract patterns that require the user to make choices hemmed in by certain semantic boundaries. For example, Biber et al. (1999) illustrates the pattern that combines a modal with a required set of words (and so, yet again, a combination of grammar and lexicon) in the pattern of possibility modal + well be. The following example (with bold added) is from an introduction to a logic textbook used in U.S. undergraduate courses (Hurley, 1994): . . . then the personal comments made by the attacker may well be relevant to the conclusion that is drawn.

10 No settled usage has yet been reached in corpus linguistics about the best way to refer to functional categories used in different communication situations. Sometimes the term genre is used to refer to particular types of linguistic communication such as business letters or academic journal articles. Sometimes genre is used for subdivisions of longer genres, the methods section of a research paper, for example. In other publications, the term register is used to refer to a more general group such as academic prose or newspaper writing or conversational English. However, scholars can use genre and register as loose synonyms for each other. In addition, terms such as discourse and discourse types are used for similar concepts.


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Type #7. Frames involving highly frequent words: Highly frequent function11 words like the and of are also used in patterns that researchers sometimes refer to as frames (Altenberg, 1998; Biber et al., 1999; Renouf & Sinclair, 1991; Stubbs, 2004). A typical frame of this sort is the of the . Such frames combine the vocabulary and grammar and can lead to relatively xed sequences that might be included in other sub-categories of recurrent word sequences. However, the nouns used in the slots might not be used frequently enough for a particular combination to rise to the level of recurrent word sequence, but the underlying pattern is itself highly frequent. Type #8. Miscellaneous other subsets of recurrent lexical sequences: Researchers have found other patterned sets of words that lie at the intersection of grammar and vocabulary. For example, Biber et al. (1999) illustrates use of binominal phrases that put grammatically parallel words (noun with noun, verb with verb, etc.) in phrases such as black and white. Teacher analysis of selected samples of academic prose: resources and applications In this section, we will look rst at non-computer based ways to analyze samples of authentic and ESL student texts and then move to computer-based applications. Non-computer-based ways to analyze samples of language In training programs and courses for teachers working in these settings, training can focus on the following procedures for selecting and analyzing samples of language-in-use:  Selecting texts for analysis and study, making sure they are academic in nature. Were they written for an academic audience? Are they appropriate for the academic futures and interests of your students?  Analyzing of the selected academic texts to prepare for their use with students. Teachers can read through the texts and highlight key lexicogrammatical features. What words are repeated? What other words are used in the same environment as the target word? In addition to their reading analysis, teachers can nd valuable information about the use of words in the examples given in corpus-based dictionaries. Words and phrases that they have decided to focus on with their students can be studied in the context of the examples (even more than the denitions) in such dictionaries as the Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners or the MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners of American English. Such a dictionary will provide more than denitions by including authentic examples to illustrate the use of words in context.  Planning for teaching activities with the words. After selection and analysis, teachers can think about how they might teach or draw their students attention to the language selected as important for students to learn to use in their writing. At this point, teachers can draw upon their knowledge of language teaching to design vocabulary learning activities appropriate to their students and their programs.  Setting writing tasks that require learners to encounter and to use academic words (Coxhead, 2006). Systematic focus on lexicogrammatical features of academic texts can help the development of the knowledge needed to write these items in a new context. Steps to achieve this

11 Function words are those with grammatical function and little other meaning; their meaning is usually made clear in context. The contrast is with words with fuller meaning, which are often termed lexical words. For example, the is a function word while mother is a lexical word.

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aim could be: identify the common words and phrases that are important for their writing; isolate and analyze those common academic words and phrases and their collocates; recognize how the words work in their academic context; practice using them in controlled ways; write with them in less controlled ways; seek feedback; and work on that feedback to ll gaps in knowledge. For example, below is a short extract from a university-level accounting textbook (Needles, Powers, & Crosson, 2005) that could be the focus for developing knowledge of AWL words and their common collocations and phrases in an accounting text. The words from the AWL in the text are in bold so that they catch the attention of the reader. What AWL words occur frequently in the text? Financial and annual stand out. What regular patterns do they occur in? What other lexicogrammatical features do you notice in the text that would be worth precious teaching and learning time in the classroom?  General Mills Inc. hhttp://www.generalmills.comi The management of a corporation is judged by the companys nancial performance. Financial performance is reported to stockholders and others outside the business in the companys annual report, which includes the nancial statements and other relevant information.  Performance measures are usually based on the relationships of key data in the nancial statements. For large companies, this often means condensing a tremendous amount of information to a few numbers that management considers important. For example, what key measures does the management of General Mills Inc., a successful food products company that recently acquired its long-time rival Pillsbury and offers such well-known brands as Cheerios, Wheaties, Hamburger Helper, and Progresso Soups, choose to focus on as its goals?  In its letter to shareholders, General Mills states its nancial goals as follows: Our target is 7% compound annual sales growth between now and 2010. With this faster topline growth, . . .our Earnings Per Share (EPS) growth should accelerate, too. Our target is to deliver 1115 percent annual earnings per share growth over the balance of this decade. We believe achieving these goals will represent superior performance when benchmarked against major consumer products companies.  General Mills management has thus set forth measurable performance goals by which it can be evaluated. The graph on the opposite page shows that the company reached its growth in sales target in only one of the past 3 years. However, it reached its growth in EPS in all 3 years. Teachers might decide to look with their students at how target operates in this text. For example, one can have personal targets (our targets), sales targets, and sometimes instead of target, the word goals is used. Computer-based tools for analyzing samples Drawing attention to words in a text through highlighting can help teachers with their analysis of samples of text they might want to use with their students. The AWL Highlighter (Haywood, 2007b), a web-based tool that highlights the AWL words in a text, is available at http:// Teachers and learners can cut and paste texts of their own into this website or follow links on the page to on-line sources of texts from sites such as the BBC, New Scientist and the Economist. Traditional ESL/EFL teaching activities such as gap lls (known as ll-in-the-blanks in U.S. usage) can be adapted to help students focus on important words and interact with the words


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in part of that multiple-encounter and multiple-use pattern required for the learning of new vocabulary. The AWL Highlighter website described above has a link to the AWL Gapmaker (Haywood, 2007a)available for free at awlgapmaker.htm. The Gapmaker creates ll-in-the blank exercises using electronic texts, which is a useful way of having students focus on vocabulary in context (Folse, 2006). Here is a ll-in-the-blanks exercise on our sample text using the AWL Gapmaker.

Fig. 2. Gap le from AWL Gapmaker (Haywood, 2007a) with gaps up to Sublist 10 of the Academic Word List.

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The Compleat Lexical Tutor (Cobb, 2007), a web site that provides teachers and students with a wide range of tools focused on vocabulary development, is available at http:// Using the Vocabprole tools, teachers and learners can analyze the vocabulary in a text in terms of the GSL, AWL, and more specialized words. Compleat Lexical Tutor also has a concordancing tool that operates on texts that instructors or students insert themselves, or analysis on target words can be carried out using small bodies of texts provided by the website.12 The concordancer will nd all uses of a particular word in a text and then create a concordance list to show the lines of the text where the word is used. Concordancing is not a new tool to language teachers (Bernadini, 2004; Hunston, 2002; Hyland, 2003; Tribble & Jones, 1990). A number of studies investigate academic writing and the use of concordancing13: hedging in scientic articles (Hyland, 1998); the behaviour of common academic words in texts and their functions, such as issue and factor to refer to the literature (Thurstun & Candlin, 1998); using interactive concordancing for academic writing and the use of quotations and citations (Garton, 1996); the use of concordancers to inform post-graduate L2 writers (Stareld, 2004); and exploring differences in citations by L1 academic writers in the sciences with samples from EAP student writing (Thompson & Tribble, 2001). Hoon and Hirvelas (2004) award-winning article on the attitude of ESL students working to the use of a corpus in L2 writing classes reported that the participants felt overall that corpus use was helpful to their second language writing, particularly if work with the corpus was hands on (p. 277). Bunting (2005) illustrates use of concordance lines in EAP vocabulary teaching materials. A concordance for a particular word can be examined by asking questions such as these: 1. If the word is a noun, what verbs and adjectives commonly occur with it? 2. If the word is a verb, what nouns and adverbs commonly occur with it? 3. Are there any lexicogrammatical patterns of the word that stand out in the data? For example, if the word is a verb, what follows it: an innitive, a that-clause, or some particular selection of prepositions? Below is a small sample concordance of the word widespread from a 3,500,000 word corpus of written academic texts. The basic question for teachers to learn to use through practice analysis is What patterns can you see in these concordance lines? First of all, because of the alphabetical sorting, the rst word to the right in each example, except for Number 1 because of the percentage (80%), has been sorted into initial position. Briey, in this data set at the word level, widespread is followed most often by adoption, then acceptance, and nally agreement. Even more important is that most of these instances are of a noun phrase followed by another noun phrase, as in widespread something of something. 1. The same studies also reported widespread (80%) improvement in cash management and credit control (p. 78)

12 One note of caution: a small body of texts limits the opportunity for words to appear, particularly lower-frequency ones. The bigger the corpus, the more opportunities for a word or phrase to recur. 13 Concordances are useful because they are based on real language and provide learners with exposure to words in a range of contexts (Nation, 2001, p. 111). Concordance lists also focus attention directly onto the target words, collocations, and lexicogrammatical features by showing the words that surround the target word.


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2. Isolated rumours that he had suffered a nervous breakdown. Now the rumours were widespread about Hitlers ts and 3. restrictions on the employees right to refuse unsafe work would prompt its widespread abuse, because workers would 4. and sound relationship. Throughout the Asia-Pacic region there is a widespread acceptance of the view that third-party 5. left by the implied contract rationale is one of the factors that led to the widespread acceptance of unjust enrichment. 6. Twenty years ago. Though a statement of Catholic doctrine, it has received widespread acceptance. In his famous 7. Anatoki River Go Ahead Creek. Other minerals Zircon and apatite are widespread accessories. The apatite contains 8. activity of Al, and the presence of boron, whereas the widespread accessory uorapatite points to 9. from just one resident, can unsettle the whole House and make for widespread acting out. It is like one re 10. The previous chapter were the exception rather than the rule in so far as their widespread adoption was concerned 11. undermine the working conditions of those in conventional employment. The widespread adoption of non-standard work 12. and economy will importantly depend on which has the greater strength. The widespread adoption of exporting strategies has 13. 1990s, and is now delivering strong performance results. There has also been widespread adoption of a range of other 14. outcomes are exceedingly difcult to assess, there appears to be at present widespread advocacy for replacing 15. behind them. It is hardly possible that this could be so without widespread agreement on which 16. a device has been chosen to reduce the amplitude of uctuations. There is widespread agreement that instability of 17. through war as honourable and singularly justied. To a degree it is widespread among many not just in the 18. and listening to their objections. As we have seen, these practices are widespread among BERLs respondents Concordancing has also been used for comparisons of L1 and L2 writing (see Granger & Tribble, 1998). It is hoped that soon the British Academic Written English Corpus (BAWE), a corpus of procient student writing for degree programmes at UK tertiary institutions (Nesi & Thompson, 2007), will be available online also, to mirror in some ways the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE), available at A business letter corpus is available at, coupled with an online concordancing programme. Another useful computer-based tool for text analysis is Range (Nation & Heatley, 2007), available as a free downloadable zip le at nation.aspx. Range can help teachers analyze vocabulary in a large number of texts. Teachers can use this tool with electronic forms of several texts to nd out what vocabulary items are shared across the texts, their frequency (word family and individually), and whether

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they occur in the rst 2000 words, the AWL or not in any list. By using the frequency and range information, teachers and learners can decide which items to focus on rst in class. The same program can be used by students to analyze the vocabulary they use in their own writing. Teachers can check the use of these words in a corpus-based dictionary, either paper-based or online, paying special attention to the examples given for each denition to see how the words are used in context. They could answer questions such as the following: What grammatical patterns do these words occur in? Given the patterns that occur, how might composition students work with such information about the grammar and vocabulary of academic English? Questions such as these encourage focus on the words and phrases in use, thereby raising awareness of their form and meaning. Moving from the analysis of samples to teaching of academic vocabulary and grammar The line between analyzing text for lexical, grammatical, and lexicogrammatical features and knowing what to do with that analysis in the classroom can be more of a gully for many teachers, especially inexperienced ones: What can be done with such information about academic language to help students become better readers and writers as they handle the academic tasks required in their degree study? Generally, students need to do at least the following:  Expand their academic vocabulary, especially the AWL words used across many disciplinary areas. Here students and teachers need to see vocabulary in the context of writing and not just reading. Academic success requires learning how to use academic vocabulary in writing as well as recognize it in reading.  Be aware of the effect the L1 has on L2 writing (Jiang, 2004a,b).  Become aware of the differences between academic vocabulary and the words that they use in conversation with friends. Students need to realize that it matters for academic success to present themselves in a style appropriate for the academic setting.  Because academic study involves being in contact with tremendous numbers of words, students need to learn how to sort through words in a textbook or other assigned reading passage or in an instructors lecture to select the words important for their success in academic tasks.  Understand that learning a new academic word means more than memorizing a synonym or dictionary denition. Learning a new word includes knowing how to use the word in lexicogrammatically expected ways.  Understand that learning a new academic word means learning signicant collocates or recurrent lexical sequences in which the new word is embedded. This step is more difcult than it might appear on rst thought for highly literate adult second language learners who have learned through their schooling to think of a language as made up of single words (Wray, 2002). Here is an example sentence from an L2 students writing from an essay on the use of the Internet for banking: However, the disadvantages of I-banking cannot be omitted, since people have strict perceptions about what this thing is going on. If we focus on the use of the word perception, for example, we could search for the collocating word the student used (strict) in a corpus of academic writing and nd that there were no concordance entries for strict perception in a corpus of 3,500,000 running words developed during the creation of the Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000). Instead of strict,


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the student might nd data such as the perception of and the perception that, as in the sample concordance lines below, from the corpus of academic written English mentioned above. The student might also nd these frequent collocationsour, public, personal, knowledge, and visual and may revisit his or her use of the collocation strict with the noun perceptions. (A search of shows only eight uses of the combination of strict with perceptions, with several examples seemingly written by non-native speakers of English. Google searches provide a more easily available reality check that can be made by students and teachers without ready access to an academic corpus.)
N 1 N 2 N 3 N 7 N 70 N 75 Concordance Framework: the impetus for the development of the NQF stems from the perception of successive governments that educational reform should enhance New Concordance the ways in which public and private school teachers and principals share a perception of autonomy, where they are different, and how they experience const Concordance nt. Although size of the institution plays a primary role in the perception of quality, the role it plays in the autonomy felt by public and pri Concordance s a general belief that private schools equate with academic excellence. The perception of academic excellence in private schools may stem from a bel Concordance ree to, and is inseparable from the three angles of a triangle. Sometimes the perception of connection between two ideas is direct, we perceive it Concordance circle has its characteristic properties. Given that knowledge is the perception of connections between ideas, and that where this perception is lack

 Be skillful at taking words and their associated grammar from their reading to use in their writing. Academic writing proceeds to a great extent on the basis of skillful use of other peoples words and of the corporate wording that has developed as the signature of academic writing generally and in disciplinary subelds particularly (Macdonald, 1994). To help students reach the skill and knowledge needed to become effective learners of new words and their associated grammar, teachers must provide them with information about academic language but also, of course, practice with task-appropriate activities along with the scaffolding (Cotterall & Cohen, 2003) necessary for initiates to become more skillful at the common but demanding task of academic writing. Practical teaching activities along with information about academic vocabulary can be found in chapters 16 and 17 in Coxhead (2006); information about assessment of student skills as academic writers is given in Weigle (2002). Conclusion Writing teachers need support and tools to prepare to teach the vocabulary and grammar of academic prose. The support includes clarication of the purposes of language instruction in a writing class and, for many teachers, a giving of permission to make what they will perceive as a fundamental philosophical change in their approach to teaching writing (see Doughty & Varela, 1998). The tools should include new ideas about English grammar, vocabulary, and the links between the two as well as books, software, and websites that help with language analysis and present language data in accessible forms for use by teachers.

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