Economics keyword lists: A comparative corpus study for ESP

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Ersin Balcı
İrem Çomoğlu


English-medium instruction (EMI) and English for specific purposes (ESP) go hand in hand in the higher education context and the demand for those has risen significantly over the last two decades. Studying in an EMI economics program requires a certain level of language proficiency and in most cases, students in these programs are provided with additional language support, in the form of an ESP program. Mastering in an EMI economics program challenges students with a number of new and often technical words. Corpus linguistics is, therefore, one of the great tools to answer the vocabulary needs of ESP students. While Coxhead’s (2000) Academic Word List (AWL) has been a satisfactory source for academic programs, its being too limited for diverse academic fields has also been criticized. In the current corpus-based study, two separate field-specific keyword lists – (1) Economics Textbook Keyword List (ETWL), (2) Economist Magazine Keyword List (EMWL) - were created and the coverage of the AWL in these lists was measured. Additionally, the correspondence ratio between the ETWL and the EMWL was also measured and reported by percentages. In the light of the results, it is argued that, the AWL on its own may not be a sufficient source for students of economics and language given in non-academic authentic materials should also be placed in corpus and curriculum design.


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Balcı, E., & Çomoğlu, İrem. (2022). Economics keyword lists: A comparative corpus study for ESP . Focus on ELT Journal, 4(3), 34–45.


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