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Phraseological Characteristics of Abstracts in the English Textile Academic Articles

Author: ShaoYanPing
Tutor: ZhaoXiaoLin
School: Donghua University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: English for Specific Purposes abstracts phraselology semantic features function
CLC: H315
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2010
Downloads: 52
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English Academic Writing, as an essential channel and carrier for researchers to release their new findings, has enjoyed a great concern in the circle of English for Specific Purpose (ESP) on its special written patterns and semantic and pragmatic features compared with other styles such as general English. The researchers both at home and abroad have carried out the corresponding investigation from various perspectives, due to the fact that abstracts serve as the essence and concentration of the whole discourse, from which the readers could learn about the basic idea and the research issues. However, the previous studies are mostly conducted from a macro point of view, genre analysis and discourse analysis in particular, whereas few studies have investigated the language features at the micro level. Phraseological characteristics have been paid less enough attention to.Phraseology has now become the major field of applied linguistics for Western linguists in recent decades. Corpus linguistics currently begins to focus much on phraseological sequences (PSs), with an aim to make a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between form, meaning and function. As for the phraseological study, there are two main research paradigms (Wei Naixing,2002). The first one is the theory-driven research represented by the works of Pawley & Syder (1983), Natinger (1988), Cowie(1988), in which phraseological sequences are termed as linguistic prefabs, chunks, and lexicalized sentence stems, lexical phrases, composites and formulae (Wei Naixing,2002:27-33); and the second one is the corpus-driven study with John Sinclair (1991), the pioneer of corpus linguists. Alternberg’s phraseological study (1998) on spoken English is regarded as the milestone of this paradigm. Compared with the former research paradigm, the latter one has its distinct advantages. The corpus-driven study is not confined to specific theoretical modal, analyzes the data based on the frequency of language forms, and is grounded in the authentic language use including some complex language forms such as the collocation, fixed or semi-fixed expressions, fragmented lexical phrases. However, few of the current studies provide a thorough analysis of phraseological features of abstracts in ESP academic writing. This study, therefore, in conformity with Altenberg’s framework, mainly focuses on phraseological characteristics of abstracts in the ESP-textile academic writing. In this study, the writer chose the sub-corpus, namely Corpus of English Abstracts of Textile Research Articles (CEATRA), with 13,309 abstracts and 1,144,022 words. Using Wordsmith, this study mainly focuses on the frequent phraseological sequences from 2-word to 5-word sequences in CEATRA. The semantic features and function of the phraseological sequences are explored. The exploration aims to answer the main research questions as following:1. Which are the most frequent phraseological sequences in the abstracts of textile academic articles? And what is their frequency distribution?2. How are these high frequent phraseological sequences classified structurally?3. What do the frequent phraseological sequences function?Based on the frequency distribution of frequent phraseological sequences, their semantic features and pragmatic functions are furtherly investigated in the abstracts of English textile academic articles. By contrast with the findings of Altenberg’s study adopted by this paper, academic articles bear special features. Firstly, the frequencies of the phraseological sequences show that the longer the sequences are, the lower their frequencies are. Secondly, the full clauses appear in a relatively lower frequency, while those multiple clause constituents and incomplete phrases occur in a high frequency. In the abstracts of English textile academic articles, they serve as the basic carrier of academic information and the experimental sequences, showing the high density of information. Thirdly, these most frequent experimental phraseological sequences function in five domains:specifying processes and actions; identifying entities, notions and activities; specifying attributes; expressing time and space; and expressing vagueness.

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