Constructing a professional English word list for Field Service Engineers: A corpus-based study.

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This study reports on the construction of a word list which was developed out of a self-compiled corpus of professional Engineering English. This word list is intended to serve as the basis of a lexical syllabus for an English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course for Field Service Engineers (FSEs), who have expressed the need for such a word list, in their training period at Marel Boxmeer. As such, this study takes up the call for more research into local and discipline-specific language teaching and presents a concrete resource, the Professional Engineering Word List (PEWL), for the target group at focus. This study expounds the compilation of the Professional Engineering English Corpus (PEEC), a corpus of more than 70,000 tokens which is comprised of two sources: customer reports and user manuals. It was analysed quantitatively for word frequency and keyness to develop the PEWL. The PEWL was then compared to other general service word lists, such as West’s (1953) GSL and Coxhead’s (2000) AWL, as well as other Engineering English word lists, including Mudraya’s (2006) and Ward’s (2009) word lists. A qualitative analysis was conducted to assess the nature of vocabulary items in the word list, which reveals that most items are highly technical in nature. The PEWL is established as a stand-alone resource in a narrow-angled Engineering English course for the target group in question, given that other word lists do not reach high coverage over the PEWL.
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