English for Professional and Academic Purposes

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Current trends in English for Professional and Academic Purposes Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido, Juan C. Palmer-Silveira and Inmaculada Fortanet-Gómez 1 Introduction Specialised languages usually refer to the specific discourse used by professionals and specialists to comm unicate and transfer information and knowledge. There are as m ny specialised langua a ges as there are professions. This is what has usually been known as Languages for Specific Purposes or, when applied to English, English for Sp ecific Purposes (ESP), i.e., the special discourse used in specific settings by people sharing common purposes. It is not our aim to define the term or to carry out a historical review of the topic, as many authors have already done so in the last 50 years (e.g., Gunnarson, 1994; Dudley-Evans and St John, 1998; Engberg, 2006). Neither do we want to get involved in the debate over whether English for Academic Purposes (EAP) should be considered a subfield of ESP or if they are now two different areas of teaching and research within Applied Linguistics. That is the reason why we are continuing with the term English for Professional and Academic Purposes (EPAP) introduced by Alcaraz-Varó (2000) (the original term in Spanish beingInglé s Profesional y Académic ( oIPA)), one of the most prestigious and prolific scholars in Spain. He rested his view on the opinion of Widdowson (1998: 4), who stated that “All language use is specific in a sense”, so that language serves a specific purpose wherever it is used. Therefore, we agree with Alcaraz-Varó (2000) in the sense that the term EPAP is much clearer and more specific to cover the domain we are dealing with here. The relevance of English in academand ic professional settings began some decades ago, in th e 1960s, and it has not decreas ed. Orr (2002: 1) said that ESP “is an exciting movement in English language education that is opening up rich opportunities for English teacher s and researchers in new professional domains”. The spread of science and tech nology all over the world, together with the globalisation of the economy and the fact that the university world is becoming more international, has all helped to make the English language the current lingua franca of internationacol mmunication. Despite the research carried out so far in the field, we still believe that much more ought to be conducted. As Orr (2002: 3) also points out: 2 Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido et al. If systematic attention to actual needs con tinues to be its hallmark, ESP will clearly advance further in its study of specialized English discourse and in its development of effective methodologies to teach it. From the title of the book it can easily be inferred that our volume is concerned with two main areas: Academic Purposes and Professional Purposes. Following Ypsilandis and Kantaridou (2007: 69), EAP “refers mainly to the academic n eeds of students and of future professionals who would seek a career in the academ eicnvironment” and English for Professional Purposes (EPP) refers to “the actual needs of (future) professionals at work”. As this distinction is currently widely accepted by many scholars, it is also true that those two broad fields or categories also involve many different areas and fi elds of interest and research. EPAP can cover hundreds of research top cs as well as put i them into practice in hundreds of academic and professi onal settings. For example, Hewings (2002) showed that EAP, including EST (English for Science and Technology), was the most common field of research inESP the Journal and, at the same time, he found that text and discourse analysis was the most common topic scholars wrote about in the period of time observed. Hewings (2002) concluded by highlighting some new trends for the future, such as geographical internationalisation of authorship, analysis of more specific contexts, continued influence of genre analysis or corpus analysis, and the effect of English as an international language. A few years later, in an editorial of the ESPj, Paltridge (2009: 1) stated that: ESP research is clearly not th e property of the Englishspeaking wor - ld, nor is it taking place solely in English-speaking countries. In ESP, English is the property of its users, native and non-native speakers alike, something that was called for some years ago by Larry Smith (1987) in his discussions of the us e of English as an international language. The present volume is a clear example of this international language and the geographical variation of authorship. Contributors are currently based in Europe, America and Asia, and they are a mixture of native and non-native speakers of English (if we can still maintain such a difference). Some years earlier, DudleyE- vans and St John (1998: 19) said that “ESP is essentially a materials- and teaching-led movement” closely interlinked with Applied Linguistics and English Langua ge Teaching. When looking deeper into the research trends or approaches in ESP, they refer especially to register analysis, rhetorical and discourse an alysis, analysis of study skills, and analysis of learning needs. Similarly, and complementing Dudley-Evans and St John’s ideas, Ferguson (2007: 9) pointed out that: a key motif in ESP/EAP research has been “difference”: difference between academic disciplines, between professions, between genres and registers, between discursive practices; differences that, quite justifiably, have been explored in ever finer detail Current trends in English for Professional and Academic Purposes 3 drawing on ethnography, corpora and well as more traditional techniques of discourse analysis. Many of the approaches used in the rese arch and teaching of EPAP are illustrated in the present volume. Altho ugh certain approaches, such as genre analysis (Swales, 1990; Swales and Feak, 1994) or contrastive rhetoric (Connor, 1996), are shown as relevant t in he volume, other aspects such as corpus linguistics, textual analysis, rh etorical analysis, interculturality/cross- culturality or the use of ethnographic tools are not neglected. As for the fields of study, the contents of this book illustrate research on discourse and the teaching/learning pr ocess in different academic genres (research articles, acknowledgements or essays), and in some professional areas, such as business, health science, or science and engineering. Concerning the pedagogical implications and applications of the research, we have devoted one section to this issue, apart from the specific references to the teaching/learning ideas included in m st of the articles o in the book. Some authors state that the application of earch res findings to teaching seems to be relatively limited (Poncini, 2006; Bocanegra et al., 2007), so we considered it necessary to include some articles d ealing exclusively with teaching and learning the language. This section includes suggestions and tips on how to create materials, how to teach the iting wr of abstracts or essays better, different genres in disciplinespecific writing, or the - description of successful practices and a programme on English for Science and Engineering. The group of researchers who lead the present project belong to the research group GRAPE (Group for Research on Ac ademic and Professional English) and have been working on different EPAP projects for more than fifteen years. The selected contributors have different geographical origins, but all of them have proved to have an unquestionable level of scholarship in the ESP academic world. The aim of this book is to offer an overview of several topics within the domain of discourse analysis applied to English for professional and academic purposes. This volume is not intended to cover all the issues within ESP but to show cut trends in the re rren search being carried out on the field and to offer new ider t as hfo e future. The chapters included in the present volume show diverse perspectives in specific English language research, from topical points of view (abstract writing, essay writing, health discourse, etc.) or from methodological standpoints (cross-cultural studies, contrastive rhetoric, corpus linguistics, etc.). English is an international language and is considered the language of communication in the academic and professional worlds, and our volume supports that idea by offering diverse cross-cultural and international perspectives on the topic. Therefore, the general aim of this volume is to show how the English language is analysed as both the discourse a ofnd for effective communication in academic and professional settings. At the same time, it also seeks to find out 4 Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido et al. ways of applying the research to the teaching and learning of the English language. We hope this new manuscript about the research a nd teaching of EPAP will be helpful for those involved or interested in the field. It is our aim that the contributions compiled in this book not only reflect different fields of current research but also disclose possible lines of work for the short-term future. 2 Contents The first section of the volume is deedvot to some topics of written academic English, from very specific language features to more generic studies based on academic genres. The second section deals with discourse in professional settings and how it may help professionals to improve their communicative skills. In the final section, we move into a more pedagogical standpoint of ESP, with examples of applications of research to the teaching of English. In the first part of the book, four chapters present an overview of academic writing as an outcome of the work of international researchers. The authors of these chapters are mainly concernwith ed the difficulties users of English as a lingua franca may have when competing for publication with native speakers of that language. The first chapter on EAP comes from Asia, from Sri Lanka, and deals with one of the most relevant topics at the moment in that part of the world, namely, the identification of peculiar characteristics of their own variety of English. In this chapter, Dushyant Me hi ndis compares the use of phrasal verbs in academic and non-academic writing in Sri Lankan and British English. In order to frame her research, Mendis provides data from a survey in which most of the speakers of Sri Lankan English identify their language as a different variety to the one spoken in other parts of the world, though they still see British English – the colonial language – as the target language to be taught in schools. Mendis’s results suggest that there is a different use of phrasal verbs in non-academic writin g in Sri Lankan ad British n English. However, no relevant differences can be found when academic written discourse is compared. For this autho , rthis indicates that although Sri Lankan English has evolved into a differentiated variety of English in more informal written genres, the hegemony of the British and American varieties of English in academic writing remains unchallenged for the moment. The second chapter, by Carmen Pérez-Llantada, is a contrastive analysis of the use of epistemic lexical verbs by an NSd NNS writers of research articles in English. She hypothesises that NNS may be at a disadvantage because they do not have a good mastery of frequency, functional and pragmatic intentions in the use of epistemic lexical verbs and this may have an influence on their acceptance rate for publication in an Eng lish-only research world. However, her results seem to prove that academEn ic glish is no longer so standardised Current trends in English for Professional and Academic Purposes 5 but is subject to culture-specific variability, which is not an obstacle for publication, since the artic les analysed were published by Spanish researchers in prestigious biomedical journals. In the third chapter, Françoise Sala ger-Meyer, María Angeles Alcaraz Ariza and Maryelis Pabón Berbesí preset an n article dealing with the acknowledgment sections of medicine research articles in four research publication contexts: Venezuela, Spn, ai France and USA. They argue the importance of these sections in medine articles and analyse the diffe ci rences that can be found when comparing the four contexts. However, acknowledgements are much less frequent and much shorter in non-English- medium journals and this seems to be due to cultural factors rather than to academic conventions. The fourth chapter in this section eals d with a contrastive analysis of academic writing. Ana I. Moreno claim the nee s d to study the differences between the rhetoric habits of efficient Spanish and English writers, which should be observed, described and explained in a comparative way. This study should be complemented by questionnaires or interviews, which would shed light on the reasons why authors choose certain rhetorical expressions in their own language and not others. The re sults of this research can be very useful for teachers of English for research purposes, whose aim is to provide researchers with the necessary skills to produce efficient samples of research writing. The second part of the book, devoted to Discourse Analysis within a professional framework, pays attention to the different genre repertoires that anyone can see when fulfilling their everyday professional duties. Thus, the most important aspect of this section is that all the contributors have based their efforts on the study of the English language that arises naturally within the professional settings analysed. In th e four chapters forming this second section of the volume, the authors pay attention to different types of discourse observed in professional settings. To start with, Philip Shaw observes how Swedish industrial doctoral students manage with writing, and how they improve their ability to do so when they are able to pay attention to its production conditions, as well as to their prospective audience. Technical reports, due to their high level of complexity, are discussed in detail by students in semi-structured interviews, in order to observe the fine nuances that take part in their creation. Shaw also pays attention to the main structural differences with classroom reports, which students are also compelled to write, thus creating an interesting writing repertoire. The concept of audience is a r ecurrent theme when observing the contribution by Ulla M. Connor, Elizabeth M. Goering, Marianne S. Matthias and Robert Mac Neill, as they try to observe how patients manage when receiving information on thtype of m e edicines they have to use. The type of 6 Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido et al. information (both oral and written) offered to these patients is analysed. The importance of this type of research goes without saying, as patients will only use certain specific medicines if they can trust the person (or laboratory) advising them to use them. The authors have observed that patients tend to rely most heavily on their physicians, whereas other sources of information are not so successful. The importance of health discourse is also the focus in Inger Askehave and Karen K. Zethsen’s contribution, where they observe that, within the professional discourse framework, this could be one of the most important areas, as it includes the analysis of rat hdierverse genres, from a very specific basis, i.e. physical and mental wellin -beg. Genres within health discourse tend to be based, in the authors’ opinion, on the intended target groups, which in turn rely on the communicative purpose that authors try to enclose within the message. In any case, legislation also plays a predominant role in order to show what can (or cannot) be said in this type of texts. Whereas health discourse tends to foc s on u the person, corporate discourse focuses mainly on corporate identity, as Pilar Garcés-Conejos Blitvich points out. The use of “we” as an indicator of who the company is has been studied furthering greater detail in her chapter. The way that companies tend to identify themselves through the use of identity markers such as “we” implies many different ideas, and Garcés-Conejo s Blitvich analyses the use of this pronoun in fifteen webpages, with a ew t vi o ascertaining how corporations construct their corporate identity by mixing human and social values with economic interests. The final section focuses on the teach ing of EPAP. ESP has always had a strong pedagogical bias, which justifies at least one section devoted to teaching perspectives. This section contai ns five chapters, three dealing with academic discourse teaching, and the heotr two with professional English tuition. The first one is related to the teaching of professional English in an academic context, but it deals especially with a general topic which can be applied to the following articles: the creation of materials. Ana Bocanegra-Valle undertakes a thorough analysis of ESP materials, describing and evaluating existing ones as well as shedding some light on material design. She complements her description by adding th e role that the teacher plays in the design, development and usage of the material (adapted, self-designed or of any other kind). She finishes by illustrating her previous explanations with some material she successfully uses in her classes of English for maritime purposes. The second chapter deals with an aca mde ic discourse genre (the abstract) and how to teach it based on a recently pu blished book (Swales and Feak, 2009). John M. Swales and Christine B. Feaexkpl ain several tasks, their purpose and suggestions about how to develop them. They show them as illustrations Current trends in English for Professional and Academic Purposes 7 of how to deal with the issue of writing abstracts, wh ich may be of interest to scholars, researchers and students wh o are not specialists in English and regardless of their geographical origin. The main purpose of the tasks is to raise rhetorical awareness about the role of resear ch article abstracts. Also in an academic context, Ruth Breeze presents a study which compares two pedagogical approaches (textual aalnysis and rhetorical analysis) to teaching essay writing in English to und ergraduates at a Spanish university. Results show that students in both groups improved, but the rhetorical analysis group made greater progress over the course of the programme, and wrote better final essays. The final outcome illustrates the complexity of teaching genre, and the author conclu des that teachers in an EFL context should bring together the linguistic and textual aspects of writing and the rhetorical dimensions of the writing task, which are arguably more important for the overall quality of the written product. In the fourth one, Julio Gimenez exam ines the teaching of writing on a discipline-specific academic course. He examines the nature and dynamics of this academic writing in three discip lines: nursing, midwifery and social work. He reports on the results of a su rvey completed by students from each discipline and the analysis of samples of authentic writing and interviews with some students and lecturers. His chapter ends with an examination of the implications for teaching discipline-specific writing that have resulted from the study. In the final chapter of this sectio n, Thomas Orr focuses on English for science and engineering. He begins by describing in specific detail the kind of English and supporting skills that ought to be taught at universities to students majoring in science and engineering. He also describes and illustrates how this kind of English can be taught, which leads him to the in- depth description of the exemplary programme he directs in Japan. Finally, he concludes with some recommendations on how the previous information can be successfully applied in other contexts. References Alcaraz-Varó, E. (2000) El Inglés Profesional y Académic, Madrid o : Alianza Editorial. Bocanegra Valle, A., M.C. Lario de Oñate and E. López Torres (2007) Preface. In Bocanegra Valle, A., M.C. Lario de Oñate and E. López Torres (eds) English for Specific Purpos es: Studies for Classroom Development and Implementation, Cádiz: Universidad de Cádiz: 7- 10. Connor, U. (1996)C ontrastive Rhetoric: Cross-cultural Aspects of Second Language Writing, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 8 Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido et al. Engberg, J. (2006) Languages for specific purposes. In Brown, K. (ed) Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics (2nd edition), Amsterdam: Elsevier: 678-684. Ferguson, G. (2007) The global spread of English, scientific communication and ESP: Questions of eity, access a qu nd domain loss, Ibérica (13): 7-38. Gunnarsson, B.-L. (1994) Historical studies in different traditions. In Brekke, M., O. Andersen, T. Dhal and J. Myking (ed Apsp) lications and Implications of Current LSP Research (vol. 2), Bergen, Norway: Fagbokforlaget: 897-887. Hewings, M. (2002) A history of ESP through ‘English for Specific Purposes’ ESP World (3) 1 http://www.esp-world.info/Articles_3/ Hewings_paper.htm. Paltridge, B. (2009) Editorial, English for Specific Purposes (28) 1: 1-3. Poncini, G. (2006) Evaluation in wr itten and spoken discourse: integrating discourse into teaching. In Palm r-Silveira, e J.C., M.F. Ruiz-Garrido and I. Fortanet-Gómez (eds) Intercultural and International Business Communication. Theory, Research and Teachi, Ber ng n: Peter Lang: 3073- 35. Smith, L. (1987)Discourse across Cultures, Hertfordshire, UK: Prentice Hall. Swales, J.M. (1990) Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, J.M. and C.B. Feak (1994) Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. A Course for Nonnative Speakers of English, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Swales, J.M. and C. B. Feak (2009)A bstracts and the Writing of Abstracts, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Widdowson, H.G. (1998) Communication and community: The pragmatics of ESP, English for Specific Purposes (17) 1: 314 - . Ypsilandis, G.S. and Z. Kantaridou (2007) English for academic purposes: Case studies in EuropeRevi , sta de Lingüística y Lenguas Aplicadas (2): 69-83. Section I Discourse analysis of English for academic purposes Formality in academic writing: The use/non-use of phrasal verbs in two varieties of English Dushyanthi Mendis Phrasal verbs are characteristic of colloquial or informal language and tend to occur more in conversational speech genres than in academic discourse. Using a single Latinate verb instead of a phrasal verb is recommended by some EAP practitioners in the West in order to achieve a more formal tone in academic writing. How universal is this prescriptive notion? Do es it apply to varieties of English that have developed their ‘own’, semantically unique, phrasal verbs? The distribution of phrasal verbs in a corpus of Sri Lankan English writing is i nvestigated and compared to a similar corpus of British English in orde r to answer this question. 1 Introduction English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is now accepted as a broad term that covers many types of academic commicative practices in pre-terti un ary, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, from designing materials and constructing classroom tasks to participating in classroom interactions including teacher feedback, tutorials, and seminar discussions, also writing journal articles, conference papers and grant proposals, as well as student essays, examination answers, and grauatde theses (Hyland, 2006: 1). Of these, the texts that are subject to the closest scrutiny and evaluation are those that are written, not only because it is through such public discourses that disciplines “authenticate knowledge, establish their hierarchies and reward systems, and maintain their cultural authority” (Hyland, 2000: 1), but also because unpublished texts such as ex amination answers, undergraduate and postgraduate theses and dissertations are a rite of passage for gaining membership in different hierarchical levels of the academy. In addition, written texts have more permanency than their spoken counterparts (e.g., a lecture or a theses defense) as part of the growing corpus of academic discourse around the world. The results of such scrutiny and evaluation can be seen in several areas, one of which is the identification of several common generic conventions in different types of academic writing. This has helped to develop new directions and more effective methodologies in EAP pedagogy, as evidenced by several textbooks aimed at deve loping and improving academic writing skills. (See, for instance, Swales and Feak, 2000, 2004; Bailey, 2003; etc.). However, this scrutiny has also served to reinforce and establish as standard the norms, conventions and rhetorical pr actices of certain academic discourse communities, especially those situated in the UK and the US. This in turn has served to disadvantage writers who do not belong to these ‘privileged’ 12 Dushyanthi Mendis communities, and helped to marginalize their disciplinary contributions if seen as not maintaining the established standards mentioned above. This situation has not escaped the notice of EAP theorists and practitioners. Hyland (2006), for instance, quoting Gosden (1992) and Flowerdew (2001) draws attention to the challengeface s d by academics who are not native speakers/users of British or American English, and whose contributions are vetted by editors, referees and other gatekeepers who frequently reject non- standard varieties of English (as they see them to be). While such gatekeeping mechanisms might have gone unchallenged in the past, several developments in resear, scholars ch hip and the academy, as we know it, now demand a rethinking of these standards and practices, and most of all, of the hegemony of Britishd anAmerican English as the universal language varieties of research and publishing. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, graduate student populations in the West are becoming increasingly diverse, with economic constraints pushing many universities and other research institutions to actively canvass and recruit international students who are required to pay higher tuition fees than their local counterparts. On the other hand, in creasing competitiveness among the more prestigious research universities of the West and a perceived need for diversity in both critical thinking and scholarship has resulted in the recruitment of teaching and research staff who are not necessarily from contexts where English is used as a first or dominant language. Thus, as observed by Swales and Feak, “thead tr itional distinction between native and non-native speakers of English is becoming less and less clear-cut. In the research world, in partic ular, there are today incr easing numbers of ‘expert users’ of English who are not traditional native speakers of that language” (2004: introduction). In addition, other varieties of English such as Indian English and Sri Lankan English have gained increased recognition and legitimacy through the field of study and research centered on World Englishes, and it can be argued that t ere is no h reason why such varieties should be excluded from consideration in EAP. This brings us to the central question of this paper: will we see a change in the traditional written discourse practices of the academy as a result of the infusion of ‘new’ and diverse voices and discourses, or will these voices accommodate to established traditions and rhetorical practices in fear of marginalisation? After all, as Swales (1997) observes in an article provocatively titled “Lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus Rex?”, “there is a well- attested tendency of off-center scholars to try and publish their ‘best in the West’” (cited in Hyland, 2006: 126), pr obably because they are all too aware that English is acknowledged as the world’s predominant language of research and scholarship, and that the most prestigious and cited journals are published in English. Therefore, if the only way to succeed in gaining recognition of their work at an international level is to adhere to the rhetorical Formality in academic writing 13 practices and language use demanded by the gatekeepers of Western academic publishing, scholars and academs are faced ic with no choice but to do so. Proponents of World Englishes would argue for the promotion of and development of other varieties of English, and for the acceptance and legitimization of creative new structures emerging from such varieties. However, a scholarly movement or discipline which advocates equality and recognizes more than one variety of English as legitimate may not be sufficient to initiate a paradigm shift in the traditional norms and conventions of academic writing, or a change in the ideology underlying the gatekeeping mechanisms mentioned by Swales (1997). For such a paradigm shift to occur, writers – whether junior or senior rese archers or academics, or graduate or undergraduate students – must be willing to take a risk in using localized varieties and forms of English and to continue to do so even in the face of possible rejection. 2 EAP in Sri Lanka This paper will focus on an analysis of academic writing in Sri Lanka, a country where English was introduced in the early nineteenth century as a result of British colonisation. Although th e input variety was British English, the English used in Sri Lanka today, re ferred to as Lankan English (Kandiah, 1981) or Sri Lankan English (SLE), hfeat as ures distinct from British English in terms of grammar, syntax and lexis as several descriptive as well as corpus-based studies have argued (Kandiah, 1981; Fernando, 2003; Meyler, 2007; Mendis and Rambukwelle, 2010). This is not surprising, given that English has been used as a vehicle of creative expression in Sri Lanka for many years, as demonstrated by a substantial body of literature in English produced by Sri Lankan authors from the beginning of the twentieth century; English is also the vehicle for research and scholarship in a variety of disciplines, with several academic journals of repute being published in English within Sri Lanka. The question, however, is what type or style of English is used for academic writing. Does the fact that Sri Lanka does provide opportunities for publishing in English (albeit not on the scale of India, Malaysia, etc.) empower writers t use a localized o variety (i.e., SLE), or do they feel the need to avoid localized forms and adopt a medium of expression that is perceived as more ‘international’ or ‘standardized’, and which approximates the prescriptive norms of EAP? This question will be investigated by focusing on a lexico-grammatical feature which according to Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman (1999) is ubiquitous in informal registers of English, but which, according to Swales and Feak (2004: 18) is not very frequen tly found in academic writing as it is seen as a marker of informality: 14 Dushyanthi Mendis English often has two (or more) choices to express an action or occurrence. The choice is often between a phrasal verb (verb + particle) or a single ver e lat b,ter thwith Latinate origins. Often in lectures or other instances of everyday spoken language, the verb + particle is used. However, in written acade ic st m yle, there is a tendency for academic writers to use a single verb whenever possible. This is one of the most dramatic stylistic shifts from informal to formal style. Phrasal verbs are, as indicated in th e excerpt above, two or three-part structures which consist of a verb followed by what looks like a preposition, but which is commonly described as a ‘particle’, as it cannot be separated from the main verb. A unique semantic feature of phrasal verbs is that the verb + particle combination creates a meaning that is often non- compositional – i.e., it is not the meaning that would be derived by taking the individual meanings of the two parts and putting them together. This has led to the argument that phrasal verbs are metaphorical in nature, and are similar to other idiomatic formulaic expressions in English. Phrasal verbs are interesting to this stud y for another reason: as is the case of other varieties of English, they are uubito iqus in SLE as well, especially in informal and colloquial registers. Howe ver, in addition to those that are readily recognizable, SLE also has several phrasal verbs which in British English have a metaphorical meaning not found in SLE, as well as a number of phrasal verbs which in British English would occur not as a phrasal verb but as a single verb without a particle (Meyler, 2007). A recently published dictionary of Sri Lankan English illustrates these two cases by means of the following examples. The first one is the SLE phrasal put verb o n meaning ‘to gain weight’, and the second case is the phrasal verb bring down, used with the meaning ‘to obtain’ or ‘to import’ in SLE, which in British English would simply be ‘bring’ (Meyler, 2007: xvii): 1 You’ve put on quite a bit since I last saw you 2 They’re planning to bring down a specialist from the UK. The existence of such localized or lauang ge-variety specific phrasal verbs in SLE has caused concern among some EA P practitioners and teachers of English as a second language who have noticed their infusion in some written academic genres. For instance, the fo llowing excerpts, tken from a student responses to a question asked in an MA in English Language Teaching end- of-semester examination conducted by a tertiary level institution in Sri Lanka show the use of phrasal verb-type structures which would be labeled ‘non- standard’ or too informal for academEnglish from ic a prescriptive point of view. Formality in academic writing 15 3 It does not mean that the teacher sho not uld give the opportunity to the young children to come out with their problems, but adolescents mapy reffere (sic) more if the teacher gives opportunity to come out with their problems in a friendly manner. 4 Task Based Language Teaching is one of the contemporary teaching methods that draws up the attention of the linguists and teaching practitioners at present. The phrasal verb in excerpt 3 above ( come out wit) is recognizable as a h structure found in SLE, but if one adheres to Bailey (2003), Swales and Feak (2004), etc., it should be avoided in academic writing because it has more formal equivalents – i.e., ‘express’ or ‘articulate’. Excerpt 4 contains a phrasal verb (draws up) which in British English would simply be expressed by ‘draws’ to convey the intended meaning, and eve n in SLE would be considered non-standard. 3 Method: Research corpus These data beg the question: does Sri La nkan academic writing in English flout certain generic and stylistic conventions in terms of the use of phrasal verbs, or is this use confined to unpublished academic genres written/composed with minimal preparation (e.g., student examination answers/essays) and which may perhaps be considered to be products of novice or non-expert writers? To investigate this question further, data from a pilot corpus of contemporary written SLE, compiled as part of the International Corpus of English (ICE) project, was analysed. Referred to as IC E-SL (International Corpus of English – Sri Lanka), the corpus will consist of 400,000 words of written SLE and 600,000 words of spoken SLE when completed. At present, six of the eight categories in the written component are available for analysis, totaling 300,000 words. These categories, with the numr of words in each, appear in Table 1 be 1 below. The categories not yet completed are non-professional writing and correspondence, which are not within the scope of this study. ICE-SL Text category Words W2A – Academic writing 80,000 W2B – Non-academic writing (popular) 80,000 W2C – Reportage (news reports) 40,000 W2D – Instructional writing (for hobbies and skills) 40,000 W2E – Persuasive writing (press editorials) 20,000 W2F – Creative writing (novels and short stories) 40,000 Total 300,000 Table 1. Research sub-corpora 1 As reported for ICEGB, and which is followed by - all subsequently compiled ICE corpora. See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/english-us age/projects/ice-gb/design.htm 16 Dushyanthi Mendis Of the published texts, W2A is the most formal written genre in the corpus, as it contains texts taken from academjournals coveri ic ng the four areas of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and technology. Texts in W2B are somewhat less formal in tone anyle alth d st ough similar in content. These texts are taken from magazines, newsletters and monthly publications with titles like Business Today. W2C and W2E are journalistic texts extracted from daily and weekly newspapers; W2D contains texts of an instructional nature, on how to learn a skill or adopt a new hobby. The final category, W2F, represents creative writing, d i an ncludes excerpts from Sri Lankan novels and short stories. All texts in the corpus are published after 1990. For the purpose of this study, only the published texts were considered. Thus the primary research sub-corpus for this study is the texts in the categories W2A, W2B, W2C, W2D, W2E and W2F. In addition, the same text categories in ICE-GB, a corpus of contemporary British English, were searched for purposes of comparison with another variety of English. ICE- GB, which was released in 1998, is one of the earliest completed ICE corpora. It contains one million words of written and spoken British English, recorded between 1990 and 1993. 4 Results The first step of analysis was to sear ch the corpus for phrasal verbs using AntConc (version 3.2.1w). Since the nuer o mb f phrasal verbs in English is considerable, some means had to be devised to construct an initial list for the search. This was done in two ways. First, a list was culled from Swales and Feak (2004), who identify phrasal verbs that have semantic equivalents which are single verbs, often of Latinate origin. Swales and Feak recommend that these single verbs are more suited to academic writing as they convey a more formal tone. This list appears in Table 2 below along with their frequencies of occurrence in the ICE-SL research sub-corpus. Seven phrasal verbs mentioned by Swales and Feak were not found in ICE-SL. These are bring on (to cause), figure out (to determine), go down (to decrease), keep up (to maintain), look over (to review), run into (to encounter) and show up (to appear). Formality in academic writing 17 Phrasal Single-verb equivalent Freq/1000 ICE-SL text file/s verb 2 3 look at consider 0.04 (14) W2A.012, W2B.001, W2B.012 (5), W2C.004 (2), W2C.007 (2), W2E.010, W2B.031, W2F.010 go up increase 0.03 (8) W2B.012, W2B.031, W2C.004, W2C.013 (3), W2E.006, W2E.007 look investigate 0.013 (4) W2C.014, W2D.002, into W2E.005 (2) make up constitute 0.007 (2) W2C.018, W2E.009 get rid eliminate 0.007 (2) W2D.013, W2F.013 of find out discover/investigate 0.007 (2) W2B.031, W2F.010 Table 2. Frequencies of phrasal verbs listed by Swales and Feak ( ) 2004 Secondly, a further list of phrasal verbs was culled fA Di rom ctionary of Sri Lankan English (Meyler, 2007). Some of the p eshrasal verbs are distinctive to SLE in terms of structure (e.g cop ., e up with) while others are distinctive in terms of meaning (e.g., make out). The meaning of each phrasal verb as conveyed by their use in SLE, corroborated by Meyler (2007) as well as by corpus concordance data, is provided in the table below. Once again, seven phrasal verbs mentioned by Meyler as being distinctive to SLE were not found in the research sub-corpus. These were bring down (meaning to import), bear up (to endure), finish up (to complete), fall onto (to join),go behind (to chase after someone) ago nd down (to lose weight). Phrasal Meaning in SLE Freq/1000 ICE-SL text file/s verb put on gain weight 0.007 (2) W2D.015, W2F.017 cope up with endure 0.007 (2) W2B.031, W2E.008 caught up involved in 0.007 (2) W2C.009, W2D.002 come out express/articulate 0.007 (2) W2C.019, W2C.020 with get back return 0.007 (2) W2F.008, W2F.016 pass out graduate 0.003 (1) W2C.015 2 A wild card search was done to ensure that all lemmas such as looks at/looking at etc. would be counted. Phrasal verbs with irregular past tense forms (brought on e.g., /went up) that would have escaped a wild card search we re searched for individually. 3 Number of occurrences is given in brackets 18 Dushyanthi Mendis make out pretend 0.003 (1) W2F.013 catch up reach a 0.003 (1) W2F.016 target/improve go through read/examine/peruse 0.003 (1) W2B.012 Table 3. Frequencies of phrasal verbs listed by Meyler (2007) 4.1 Analysis Overall, the phrasal verbs in Tables 2 and 3 above have very low frequencies of occurrence in ICE-SL, except for look at and go up. The low frequencies may be due to the number of word t s in he research sub-corpus, which is admittedly small. Another possibility is that SLE phrasal verbs are more frequently found in genres of speech rather than in genres of writing; an assumption which cannot be corroborated at the present moment due to a lack of comparable corpus speech data. Next, since the corpora of the ICE proj ect are specifically designed to offer the possibility of comparing lexico-grammatical features across language varieties, an equivalent sub-corpus of British English (ICE-GB) was searched for occurrences of all the phrasal verbs considered in this study. The purpose of this search was to discover if the patterns of use found for phrasal verbs in written texts of ICE-SL are in any way similar to patterns in ICE-GB, since British English is the input variety of SLE, and also a variety which is considered an international standard for academic writing, along with American English. The results of sear ching the text categories W2A, W2B, W2C, W2D, W2E and W2F in ICE-GB are given below. It will be noticed that the list of phrasal verbs in Table 4 is slightly different from the lists in Tables 2 and 3. This is because a total of 28 phrasal verbs were searched for in ICE-SL, culled from Swales and Feak (2000) and Meyler (2007). Of these, 13 were not found in ICE-SL and therefore do not appear in Table 2. Similarly, six of the phrasal verbs culled from Meyler were not found in ICE-SL, and thus do not appear in Table 3. To maintain consistency in the comparison, ICE-GB was also searched for the original list of 28 phrasal verbs. At this point, four that do not occur in ICE-SL were found to occur in ICE-GB. Thus Table 4 includes keep up , show up, bring on and run into, which do not appear in Tables 2 and 3. Phrasal verb Freq/1000 ICE-GB Freq/1000 ICE-SL look at 0.07 (21) 0.04 (12) find out 0.0666 (20) 0.007 (2) make up 0.023 (7) 0.007 (2) keep up 0.023 (7) 0.00 Formality in academic writing 19 get back 0.023 (7) 0.007 (2) get rid of 0.0166 (5) 0.007 (2) look into 0.013 (4) 0.013 (4) go up 0.01 (3) 0.03 (8) show up 0.01 (3) 0.00 bring on 0.0066 (2) 0.00 run into 0.0066 (2) 0.00 come out with 0.0066 (2) 0.007 (2) put on 0.0033 (1) 0.007 (2) catch up 0.0033 (1) 0.003 (1) Table 4. Frequencies of occurrence of phrasal verbs in ICE-GB and ICE-SL The only similarity in the data is th look at at , meaning “to consider”, is the most frequently occurring phrasal verb in both ICEGB - and ICE-SL. Beyond this, the frequency patterns are quite different. Find out (discover/investigate) has a much higher frequency of occurrence in ICE-GB (0.07/1000) when compared to ICE-SL (0.01/1000). Make up (constitute), keep up (maintain) and get back (return) are also more frequently found in ICE-GB than in ICE- SL. Overall, almost twice as many (84) tokens of phrasal verbs were found in the ICE-GB research sub-corpus as in ICE-SL (44). While this search is by no means exhaustive or complete, it seems safe to conclude at this point that phrasal verbs appear to have a higher frequency of use in contemporary British English than in contemporary SLE, as represented by the texts in ICE- GB and ICE-SL. Since the focus of the present study is academic writing, a further tabulation was done of the distribution of phrasal verbs in each of the six text categories of ICE-SL considered here, so that the number of tokens in category W2A could be compared with the number of tokens in each of the other written categories. The results appear in Table 5 below. Text category ICE-SL ICE-GB W2A 1 10 W2B 17 29 W2C 14 14 W2D 4 13 W2E 7 3 W2F 7 15 Total 44 84 Table 5. Distribution of phrasal verbs (tokens) in ICE-SL and ICE-GB

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