Lexical bundle distribution in university classroom talk

Csomay, Eniko; Cortes, Viviana
June 2010
Language & Computers;2010, Vol. 71 Issue 1, p153
Academic Journal
The present study investigates the relationship between the discourse functions of lexical bundles found in classroom teaching and their position. Eighty-four lexical bundles, frequently occurring four-word combinations identified earlier in university classroom talk (Biber, Conrad, and Cortes, 2004), are tracked in the first six Vocabulary-Based Discourse Units (VBDUs) also identified previously (Biber, Csomay, Jones, and Keck, 2004) of 176 university lectures. Among others, expressions such as you might want to, I would like to, if you look at, and in the case of are traced in tandem with their previously identified classification of discourse functions. While earlier studies reported on the relationship between the bundles' discourse functions and their position in the first three discourse units (Cortes and Csomay, 2007), there are no studies yet on how the frequency patterns may change in the second set of three discourse units. The findings of this study show a sharp increase in the use of referential bundles and those discourse organizers with a topic elaboration that focuses in the second set of discourse units. At the same time, the use of bundles expressing stance, especially those referring to personal ability and personal intention and those discourse organizers with a topic introduction, drop in the second set of discourse units. These findings provide further, lexical evidence for the claim that a strong relationship exists between intratextual linguistic variation and the corresponding shift in discourse functions in university classes (Csomay, 2005, 2007).


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