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A comparative Corpus-Informed Study of a Structural Class of Lexical Bundles

Hassan Jalali, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran

International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching in the Islamic World (FLTJ), 5(3), 05-10.      Download Full Text


Recurrent word combinations known as lexical bundles commonly occur in different registers. The mainstream research conducted in this area reveals that these word sequences serve important functions as building blocks of coherent discourse. While a wide range of corpus-based studies have already been launched to explore and account for the possible variations in the use of these word clusters, it seems that not much rigorous analysis has yet been done to examine postgraduate genres as high-stakes and important categories of academic writing with regard to lexical bundles. Accordingly, this study zoomed on the use of it bundles (e.g., it is important to, it is interesting to, it is possible to, etc) as a particular structural group of these word combinations. So, this study addressed range, frequency and function of it lexical bundles in EFL postgraduate genres by collecting and analyzing two relatively large corpora of master theses and doctoral dissertations. Overall, the findings revealed that it bundles were not used frequently in both postgraduate genres. While there were some overlaps between the two genres, doctoral students, with a potentially higher expertise, seemed to rely more on such bundles. Functionally, it was also observed that it lexical bundles served important interpersonal and interactive functions. Finally, a more robust pedagogical focus on lexical bundles is suggested, especially in advanced writing courses.

Key words: Corpus; Genre; Postgraduate writing; Applied linguistics; Interpersonal functions; Lexical bundles


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