Researching genres with multilingual corpora: A conceptual enquiry

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TitleResearching genres with multilingual corpora: A conceptual enquiry
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsPérez-Llantada, Carmen
Book TitleCorpus Analysis for Descriptive and Pedagogical Purposes: ESP Perspectives M. Gotti and D. Giannoni eds
PublisherPeter Lang
Place PublishedBern
Keywordsacademic writing, English for academic purposes, genre analysis, research genres

In the past decades, the EAP field has witnessed a growing interest in compiling multilingual corpora of various sizes. The aim has been to investigate how scholars whose first language is not English use English for academic and research communication. This flourishing field of investigation, cutting across a broad repertoire of genres, has been fuelled by the fact that the international academic and research arena has strongly favoured the role of English as the medium for communication (Lillis/Curry 2010; Mauranen 2012). However, this field of investigation has not yet become a matter of conceptual enquiry. To fill this gap, the aim of this chapter is (i) to critically review the main research trends used to analyse genres by means of multilingual corpora, (ii) to examine the reasons for the paucity of systematic contrastive analyses at the phraseological level for profiling L2 English academic texts and defining what an ‘expert’ academic L2 English user is, and (iii) to discuss the challenges that conducting large-scale empirical studies of academic English variants in the written domain would pose if codification of those variants were undertaken. Essentially, in what follows I critically assess relevant concepts in contrastive studies of EAP, address emerging methodological trends and reflect on a number of topics of current interest in relation to multilingual corpora. To do so I will draw on a combination of literature survey, bibliometric data and conceptual analysis, the purpose being two-fold. Firstly, it is of interest to the EAP scholarly community to determine how multilingual corpora can best help EAP researchers identify genre features across cultures and languages. Secondly, given its obvious practical implications, it is also of interest to show how EAP teachers can make research-informed decisions based on multilingual corpora with a view to catering to their students’ learning needs in the best possible way.