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Receptive recognition and productive written use of technical and sub-technical vocabulary by first year undergraduate students of medicine in the UK

Receptive recognition and productive written use of technical and sub-technical vocabulary by first year undergraduate students of medicine in the UK
Receptive recognition and productive written use of technical and sub-technical vocabulary by first year undergraduate students of medicine in the UK
First-year medical students Learning and Teaching Resources (LETERs) include a
considerable amount of discipline-specific vocabulary for English for Medical
Purposes (EMP) such as the technical and the sub-technical. The former refers to the specialised vocabulary used only in a specific field (Chung and Nation, 2004, Coxhead, 2013), while the latter refers to the shared vocabulary amongst
academic disciplines (Baker, 1988; Hsu, 2013). First year medical students’
familiarization with the technical and sub-technical vocabulary typically occurs
from reading LETERs during their coursework and was cited as a contributing
factor towards their study-related stress and burnout (Sinclair, 1997; Boni et al., 2018). The density of Learning and Teaching Resources (LETERs) as part of first year medical students’ coursework in terms of technical and sub-technical vocabulary as well as the receptive and productive vocabulary of L1 and L2 medical students in their first year is an area that has been unexplored by scholars in the field of EMP. Thus, the aim of this study is to look into the technical and sub-technical vocabulary of medicine from multiple perspectives such as its density in medical texts and examine the recognition and production of technical and sub-technical vocabulary from a total sample of 115 (L1 and L2) first year medical students in the UK. In order to collect the language data, two corpora of medical language were compiled as part of this study: the Medical Receptive (MEDREC) corpus of 2,097,627 running words based on 6 types of LETERs and the Medical Productive (MEDPRO) corpus of 209,160 running words of115 written samples. Findings from lexical density analysis on LETERs suggests a propensity towards a higher degree of usage of technical vocabulary and results from the Receptive Recognition (RecRec) Task indicate a significant progress by the end of the initial semester in both technical and sub-technical vocabulary. In addition, analysis of productive vocabulary usage suggests that the sub-technical vocabulary was denser in medical students’ writings, which is inversely proportional in relation to the vocabulary that medical students were introduced to from LETERs texts with L1 or L2 English having a minimal effect on findings. The original contribution of this thesis is to fill a gap in the current literature on the complexity of disciplinary vocabulary used in LETERs and the development of the RecRec Task suitable for new medical/EMP students. In addition, it is one of the first experimental studies in medical English, which involved both L1 and L2 medical students’ receptive and productive vocabulary skills.
University of Southampton
Adams, Gkarampliana
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Adams, Gkarampliana
6c6e5289-d633-41e0-baa8-d74fdcb41aed
Zheng, Ying
abc38a5e-a4ba-460e-92e2-b766d11d2b29
Timm, Anja
3b1bfae3-4943-4ead-943e-1f389d806de6

Adams, Gkarampliana (2022) Receptive recognition and productive written use of technical and sub-technical vocabulary by first year undergraduate students of medicine in the UK. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 428pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

First-year medical students Learning and Teaching Resources (LETERs) include a
considerable amount of discipline-specific vocabulary for English for Medical
Purposes (EMP) such as the technical and the sub-technical. The former refers to the specialised vocabulary used only in a specific field (Chung and Nation, 2004, Coxhead, 2013), while the latter refers to the shared vocabulary amongst
academic disciplines (Baker, 1988; Hsu, 2013). First year medical students’
familiarization with the technical and sub-technical vocabulary typically occurs
from reading LETERs during their coursework and was cited as a contributing
factor towards their study-related stress and burnout (Sinclair, 1997; Boni et al., 2018). The density of Learning and Teaching Resources (LETERs) as part of first year medical students’ coursework in terms of technical and sub-technical vocabulary as well as the receptive and productive vocabulary of L1 and L2 medical students in their first year is an area that has been unexplored by scholars in the field of EMP. Thus, the aim of this study is to look into the technical and sub-technical vocabulary of medicine from multiple perspectives such as its density in medical texts and examine the recognition and production of technical and sub-technical vocabulary from a total sample of 115 (L1 and L2) first year medical students in the UK. In order to collect the language data, two corpora of medical language were compiled as part of this study: the Medical Receptive (MEDREC) corpus of 2,097,627 running words based on 6 types of LETERs and the Medical Productive (MEDPRO) corpus of 209,160 running words of115 written samples. Findings from lexical density analysis on LETERs suggests a propensity towards a higher degree of usage of technical vocabulary and results from the Receptive Recognition (RecRec) Task indicate a significant progress by the end of the initial semester in both technical and sub-technical vocabulary. In addition, analysis of productive vocabulary usage suggests that the sub-technical vocabulary was denser in medical students’ writings, which is inversely proportional in relation to the vocabulary that medical students were introduced to from LETERs texts with L1 or L2 English having a minimal effect on findings. The original contribution of this thesis is to fill a gap in the current literature on the complexity of disciplinary vocabulary used in LETERs and the development of the RecRec Task suitable for new medical/EMP students. In addition, it is one of the first experimental studies in medical English, which involved both L1 and L2 medical students’ receptive and productive vocabulary skills.

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Published date: September 2022

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 469196
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/469196
PURE UUID: 437bccba-3a85-4abf-8e82-233fe69ff152
ORCID for Ying Zheng: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2574-0358

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Sep 2022 17:31
Last modified: 07 Oct 2022 01:45

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Contributors

Author: Gkarampliana Adams
Thesis advisor: Ying Zheng ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Anja Timm

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