Contrastive Study of Lexical Profiles of International and U.S. Lectures Delivered in English

  • Milica Vukovic-Stamatovic Univerzitet Crne Gore


International academic contexts where English is used as a lingua franca (ELF) have become ubiquitous. ELF lectures have been studied from a number of perspectives, but they have not been lexically profiled. We depart from the assumption that the lexical profile of academic lectures delivered in international settings may differ from that of lectures delivered in Anglophone contexts, and that these differences have pedagogical implications for the teaching and learning of academic English from an ELF-perspective. We lexically profile a corpus of fifty university lectures delivered in English in five European countries and compare them against sixty-two lectures delivered in English in the U.S. We find that 3,000 words are needed for good listening comprehension in both sets of lectures, while ideal comprehension is reached at 11,000 words for international and 7,000 words for U.S. lectures, which suggests differences between the two in terms of variation in low-frequency vocabulary. Some function words are much more frequent in international than in U.S. lectures. International lectures also feature less high-frequency and more mid-frequency academic vocabulary than U.S. lectures. These differences mostly reflect the use of ELF-specific communicative strategies in international lectures. Focusing on them and potentially making academic ELF-specific word lists may ensure the more efficient teaching of academic English from an ELF-perspective.

Author Biography

Milica Vukovic-Stamatovic, Univerzitet Crne Gore
Milica Vuković-Stamatović, PhD, is Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the Faculty of Philology, University of Montenegro. She currently teaches Discourse Analysis and English for Specific Purposes—she has taught English for Physics and English for Mathematics for almost two decades. Her main research interests lie in the field of discourse analysis, pragmatics and ESP. She has published in journals such as Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, Discourse & Society, Pragmatics & Society, Journal of Language and Politics, Gender and Language, Lexikos, among others.


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