Designing a model for a corpus-driven dictionary of academic English

  • Iztok Kosem

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    University students encounter difficulties with academic English because of its vocabulary, phraseology, and variability, and also because academic English differs in many respects from general English, the language which they have experienced before starting their university studies. Although students have been provided with many dictionaries that contain some helpful information on words used in academic English, these dictionaries remain focused on the uses of words in general English. There is therefore a gap in the dictionary market for a dictionary for university students, and this thesis provides a proposal for such a dictionary (called the Dictionary of Academic English; DOAE) in the form of a model which depicts how the dictionary should be designed, compiled, and offered to students. The model draws on state-of-the-art techniques in lexicography, dictionary-use research, and corpus linguistics. The model demanded the creation of a completely new corpus of academic language (Corpus of Academic Journal Articles; CAJA). The main advantages of the corpus are its large size (83.5 million words) and balance. Having access to a large corpus of academic language was essential for a corpus-driven approach to data analysis. A good corpus balance in terms of domains enabled a detailed domain-labelling of senses, patterns, collocates, etc. in the dictionary database, which was then used to tailor the output according to the needs of different types of student. The model proposes an online dictionary that is designed as an online dictionary from the outset. The proposed dictionary is revolutionary in the way it addresses the needs of different types of student. It presents students with a dynamic dictionary whose contents can be customised according to the user's native language, subject of study, variant spelling preferences, and/or visual preferences (e.g. black and white).
    Date of AwardApr 2010
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRamesh Krishnamurthy (Supervisor)


    • student
    • lexicography
    • EAP
    • online
    • dictionary use

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