A corpus-based investigation of the lexis of the postgraduate engineering textbooks with reference to the needs of Southeast Asian students
This research is mainly concerned with establishing the vocabulary learning needs and goals of the Engineering students from Southeast Asia studying at British universities. The research was motivated by the needs to enhance the reading skills of these students. Subtechnical and technical vocabulary are the focus of this investigation. The research is based on data derived from a 536,051 word corpus of text from recommended Engineering textbooks. The relative frequency and range of lexis within the corpus was found to be a good criterion for identifying subtechnical and technical vocabulary. The students proved to have a better receptive knowledge of subtechnical than technical vocabulary. The research suggests that there is a need for collaborative work between ESP teachers and subject teachers to help the students with technical vocabulary. The thesis is divided into nine chapters. Chapter One is a review of literature to the research. It clarifies various definitions and concepts, describes the research approach, and provides a framework of the thesis. Chapter Two investigates my subjects overall vocabulary knowledge. Chapter Three introduces some preliminary data that contrasts the received opinions in ESP regarding technical and subtechnical vocabulary. For further investigation of these two types of vocabulary, Chapter Four describes the data on which empirical studies are based. Chapter Five analyses the data. Chapter Six presents the empirical studies and concludes that students receptive knowledge of subtechnical vocabulary is better than their technical vocabulary. Chapter Seven examines the reasons why technical vocabulary was problematic. Chapter Eight summarises the research findings and proposes pedagogical implications in the teaching of subtechnical and technical vocabulary to the specified group of learners. And Chapter Nine draws conclusions, discusses limitations of the research and makes recommendations for future research.