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ERIC Number: EJ820583
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1475-1585
More than Just Jargon--The Nature and Role of Specialist Language in Learning Disciplinary Knowledge
Woodward-Kron, Robyn
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, v7 n4 p234-249 Oct 2008
Teachers of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and academic language and learning advisors have long recognised the importance of developing students' academic vocabulary for successful writing and learning at university. There is little, however, in the EAP literature on the place of teaching and learning discipline specific vocabulary, despite the growing attention paid to differences in disciplinary discourses in the EAP field. This paper aims to raise awareness of the role of the specialist language of academic disciplines in learning disciplinary knowledge. It identifies the nature of specialist language in a learner discourse of one academic discipline as well as examines how students incorporate this specialist language in their writing as their disciplinary knowledge increases. The data are drawn from a longitudinal study of undergraduate Education students' writing. The students' incorporation of specialist language in their writing is explored through the concepts of technicality and abstraction as they have been developed within systemic functional linguistics. The findings from this study show that learning specialist knowledge in pre-service teacher education involves adopting technical terms as well as coming to terms with the abstract dimension of the discourse. This paper also provides an analytical tool which can be adapted for examining the ways in which language represents experience in academic discourses. This analytical tool can assist academic language researchers and teachers to investigate variation in disciplinary discourses beyond the level of text organization and purpose so as to inform the teaching of specialist language. (Contains 3 figures and 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A