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English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458


Establishment of a Medical Academic Word Listq
Jing Wang, Shao-lan Liang, Guang-chun Ge *
Department of Foreign Languages, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, China

This paper reports a corpus-based lexical study of the most frequently used medical academic
vocabulary in medical research articles (RAs). A Medical Academic Word List (MAWL), a word
list of the most frequently used medical academic words in medical RAs, was compiled from a corpus containing 1 093 011 running words of medical RAs from online resources. The established
MAWL contains 623 word families, which accounts for 12.24% of the tokens in the medical RAs
under study. The high word frequency and the wide text coverage of medical academic vocabulary
throughout medical RAs confirm that medical academic vocabulary plays an important role in medical RAs. The MAWL established in this study may serve as a guide for instructors in curriculum
preparation, especially in designing course-books of medical academic vocabulary, and for medical
English learners in setting their vocabulary learning goals of reasonable size during a particular
phase of English language learning.
Ó 2008 The American University. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The acquisition of vocabulary has long been considered to be a crucial component of
learning a language (Coady, Magoto, Hubbard, Graney, & Mokhtari, 1993; Nation,
2001) because the breadth and depth of a student’s vocabulary will have a direct influence
upon the descriptiveness, accuracy and quality of his or her writing (Read, 1998). Nagy
(1988) also claimed that vocabulary is a major prerequisite and causative factor in comprehension. The dramatically large number of English words, however, is a learning goal far

The article is co-authored equally.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 29 8477 4475; fax: +86 29 8323 4516.
E-mail address: (G.-c. Ge).

0889-4906/$34.00 Ó 2008 The American University. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Farrell (1990) reported that the lack of knowledge was partly the result of the assumption of some . Kuehn (1996) observed that knowledge of academic words differentiated academically well-prepared from under-prepared college students from all backgrounds. without sufficient knowledge of academic vocabulary. 1990. it is generally agreed that the beginners of English learning should focus on the first 2000 most frequently occurring word families of English in the General Service List (GSL) (West. not usually found in basic general English courses. Santos’ research (2000) revealed that roughly 16% of the words in his textbook samples across different disciplines were academic words. This high coverage of academic words in the academic texts has far exceeded the 5% ratio of the unknown to the known comprehension threshold suggested by Laufer (1988). which is also called sub-technical vocabulary (Cowan.7% of the tokens in economics texts. while for intermediate or advanced learners who usually study English for academic purposes. who has pointed out that a learner has to know 95% of the words in a text to ensure reasonable comprehension of the text because the ratio of unknown to known words over 5% is not sufficient to allow reasonably successful guessing of the meaning of the unknown words. as non-subject-specific semi-technical vocabulary or academic vocabulary (Li & Pemberton. Sutarsyah. p. academic vocabulary. However. ESP students do not see these technical terms as a problem because these terms are usually the focus of the discussion in the classroom or are glossed in the textbook (Strevens. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 443 beyond the reaches of second language learners and even beyond the reaches of most native speakers.J. the command of these GSL words may no longer be their major concern and the priority of their vocabulary acquisition may be shifted to lower frequency vocabulary. Academic vocabulary Academic vocabulary. context-independent words with a high frequency and/or wide range of occurrence across scientific disciplines. 1973). 1. Fortunately. in ESP jargon. Nation. Wang et al. proficient use of academic vocabulary is one of the most challenging tasks in ESP students’ word expansion. 1998). 1990). Nation’s (2001) division of vocabulary into four levels — high frequency words. and Kennedy (1994) reported that academic vocabulary accounted for 8. Anderson and Freebody (1981) found that academic words were the words most often identified as unknown by her students in academic texts. 1974) or semi-technical vocabulary (Farrell. words with high frequency across scientific disciplines” (Farrell. and for 8. 11). is viewed as ‘‘formal. technical vocabulary and low frequency words — indicates that some words deserve more attention and effort than others in different phases of language learning or for different purposes. In academic settings. In addition. The vocabulary that ESP students have most difficulty with is known.4% of the tokens in the Learned and Scientific sections of the LOB and Wellington corpora. 1994. Thurstun & Candlin. 1999). 1953).1. The high frequency occurrence of academic words in academic text has been confirmed by some researchers. Based on his study. all words are not equally important in different stages of learning. According to Nation and Waring (1997). The findings from these studies clearly indicate that EAP learners. cannot deal effectively with reading materials for various types of academic tasks they are supposed to fulfill (Laufer & Nation. Shaw. 1991. Coxhead (2000) reported that the academic vocabulary in her Academic Word List covered 10% of the tokens in her 3 500 000 running word academic corpus.

They assumed that there might be some unique features in the academic vocabulary across sub-disciplines of one discipline. Xue and Nation (1984) combined the four earlier-compiled word lists (Campion and Elley’s. law and natural science. consisting of about 800 words that were not in the first 2000 words of the GSL but that were of high frequency and of wide range in academic texts. Previous studies on academic vocabulary list development Previous studies on academic vocabulary have produced some very helpful academic word lists.2. The word families in her word list are frequently encountered in engineering textbooks compulsory for all engineering students. Wang et al. and Ghadessy’s) into the University Word List (UWL). She suggested that such lexical terms should be presented as a glossary of academic vocabulary with information of frequency of occurrences based on a specialized corpus. The AWL contains 570 word families that account for approximately 10% of the total words in her selected academic texts. The items in their list represented the vocabulary that students were likely to encounter in their university studies. Mudraya (2006) established the Student Engineering English Corpus (SEEC). Lam (2001) conducted an empirical study of academic vocabulary of Computer Science in order to find the vocabulary problems encountered by the computer science students in reading academic texts. AWL now is a widely cited academic word list across a broad range of disciplines. using a corpus of 3. Praninskas’s. regardless of their fields of specialization. the AWL contains fewer word families but provides more text coverage and more consistent word selection criteria. 1. Xue and Nation’s purpose of setting up the UWL was to create a list of high frequency words for learners with academic purposes. She argued that academic vocabulary should be given more attention in the ESP classroom. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 subject teachers that their students knew these words and as a result they seldom taught these words explicitly. More recently. Lynn’s (1973) and Ghadessy’s (1979) word lists were drawn up by counting the words for which foreign students wrote annotations in their university textbooks and the words that the students had found difficult during their reading.5 million running words. so that these words can be taught and directly studied in the same way as the words from the GSL. By analyzing 301 800 words in textbooks and lectures published in journals covering 19 academic disciplines. In addition to these discipline-crossing academic word lists. which was based on a corpus of 272 466 words from 10 university-level textbooks covering 10 academic disciplines. containing nearly 2 000 000 running words selected from engineering textbooks in 13 engineering disciplines and produced an academic word list of 1200 word families for engineering students.444 J. Coxhead (2000) developed the Academic Word List (AWL). She noted that academic vocabulary was semantically distinct from the same vocabulary when it appeared in general texts. plus Range—the software which could calculate how often a word occurred (its frequency) and in how many different texts in the corpus it occurred (its range). some researchers have focused on the academic vocabulary used in a single discipline. . Praninskas (1972) compiled the American University Word list. The texts in her corpus were selected from different academic journals and university textbooks in four main areas: arts. Quite a number of these academic word lists focused on the academic vocabulary occurring across different disciplines. Lynn’s. Compared with the UWL. commerce. Campion and Elley (1971) developed a word list containing 500 most common words and 3200 frequently used words.

Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine Clinical Neurology Line missing 17. Nephrology 19. Baker (1988) analyzed three rhetorical items in medical journal articles and she concluded that rhetorical items were in the category of academic vocabulary and that identifying academic items had some pedagogical implications. 2. Obstetrics. The database ScienceDirect Online contains over 1800 journals. because reading and writing medical RAs is the fundamental concern for most learners/users of English for Medical Purposes (EMP). Chen and Ge (2007) analyzed the occurrence and distribution of the AWL word families in medical RAs. covering almost all the fields of medical science. accessed at the library of the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU). Data collection All the written medical RAs to be adopted in the corpus were downloaded from the database ScienceDirect Online (http://www. the world’s largest electronic collection of science. Their findings confirmed that the academic vocabulary had a high text coverage and dispersion throughout a medical research article and served some important rhetorical functions. Medicine and Dentistry 18. Gynecology and Women’s Health . The samples in the corpus were chosen from the following 32 subject areas. In the discipline of Medicine and Dentistry of ScienceDirect Online. there were few detailed studies exclusively on medical academic vocabulary used in the field of medicine.sciencedirect. Methodology 2. Corpus establishment We established as the database for our study a written specialized corpus containing 1 093 011 running words from 288 written texts of a single genre—medical research articles. and is considered to be one of the most authoritative and representative databases. 2. 1.1. there were 32 subject areas at the time of our study.1. technology and medicine with full text and bibliographic information. Wang et al. 2. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 445 Despite the academic vocabulary lists across different disciplines compiled respectively by some researchers. We hope the MAWL established in this study may serve as a guide for medical English instructors in curriculum preparation.J. especially in designing course-books of medical academic vocabulary. The study reported in this paper was designed to develop a Medical Academic Word List (MAWL) of the most frequently used medical academic vocabulary across different sub-disciplines in medical science.1. and for medical English learners in setting their vocabulary learning goals of reasonable size during a particular phase of English language learning. but they argued that the AWL was far from complete in representing the frequently used medical academic vocabulary in medical RAs and called for efforts in establishing a medical academic word list. including almost every top title across 24 disciplines from natural science to social science.

15. diagrams. we selected 3 criteria-fulfilling articles from each of the 96 issues by simple random sampling. written in the internationally conventionalized IMRD (Introduction–Method–Result–Discussion) structure. Perinatology. we randomly selected one issue out of each of the 96 journals obtained in the first round. Oral Surgery and Medicine Dermatology Emergency Medicine Endocrinology. Surgery 31. Allergology and Rheumatology Infectious Diseases 20. 12. Pediatrics and Child Health 26. 16. 10. 13. A three-round selection was conducted in choosing the sample medical RAs for the corpus. 14. the shortest one containing 2923 running words and the longest one containing 10 901 running words (4939 on average). which were not able to be processed by computer analyzing programs or should not be included in the lexical analysis in the chosen medical RAs. Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation 23. 11. Transplantation 32. Orthopedics. the charts. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 Complementary and Alternative Medicine Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine Dentistry. In the second round. Urology All the sample medical RAs included in the corpus were kept at their original length. 6. Otorhinolaryngology and Facial Plastic Surgery 24. Diabetes and Metabolism Forensic Medicine Gastroenterology Health Informatics Hematology Hepatology Immunology. Data processing In this study. Public Health and Health Policy 28.2. 8. 2.446 4. After this three-round selection. Wang et al. totaling 96 journals. In the third round. data processing incorporated the standardization of the medical RAs to be stored in the corpus and the normalization of the words in the to-be-stored RAs. were removed so as to eliminate the factors unrelated to the lexical analysis and to ensure that the texts stored in the corpus be readable by the computer software. were not written by native English speaking writers or were shorter than 2000 running words or longer than 12 000. 7. In the first round. 9. The . 288 texts were chosen for the corpus. 5. Ophthalmology 22. Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine 29. From the 96 selected issues. Psychiatry and Mental Health 27.1. Radiology and Imaging 30. published in the years 2000–2006 and written by native English speaking writers by Wood’s (2001) ‘‘strict” criteria (first authors had to have names native to the country concerned and also be affiliated with an institution in countries where this language is spoken as the first language). J. the articles which were not following the IMRD format. Pathology and Medical Technology 25. we took each of the 32 subject areas as one stratum and then by stratified random sampling we selected 3 journals from each of the 32 subject areas/stratum. For the standardization of the medical RAs included in the corpus. running words were eliminated. Oncology 21. bibliographies and some components in texts.

2. In this study. p. inducing and induction would be counted as one word by the computer software. Frequency: Members of a word family had to occur at least 30 times in the corpus of medical research articles. as defined by Bauer and Nation (1993). including all closely related affixed forms as well as the stem’s most frequent. The members of a word family to be included in the MAWL should occur in 16 subject areas. induced. In sum.2. arbitrary decisions need to be made to distinguish technical vocabulary and academic/subtechnical vocabulary. Coxhead named wide-range word families as the word families whose members occur in at least half of the 28 subject areas in her corpus. 2006). 3. half of the 32 subject areas in our corpus. In some cases. induce. for the number of the running words (1 000 000) in our corpus was only about one third of that (3 500 000) in Coxhead’s corpus. Word selection criteria The three principles (specialized occurrence. we also set 50% as the criterion for inclusion. Wang et al. According to Coxhead (2000. The least frequency of the members of a word family to be included in the MAWL was 30 times. Coxhead (2000) also reported that in her AWL word selection.J. List development 2. range was the first criterion and frequency the second because a word count based mainly on the frequency would have been biased by longer texts and topic-related words. 2. 218). induces. the words in the corpus were counted and sorted automatically by computer. two experienced professors of English for Medical Purposes from our department were consulted whenever any arbitrary decision . The computer software would read all inflections or derivations of a word as its basic form and would count the range and frequency of them as one word family.1. the division between technical vocabulary and academic/sub-technical vocabulary is not always distinct (Chung & Nation. In her study. range and frequency of a word family) used by Coxhead in developing the AWL were adopted in our study with some adjustment. while word families occurring with very high frequency but covering fewer than 16 subject areas would be excluded. ‘‘comprehending regularly inflected or derived members of a family does not require much more effort by learners if they know the base word and if they have control of basic word-building processes”. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 447 normalization of words was fulfilled automatically by the computer software. Specialized occurrence: The word families included had to be outside the first 2000 most frequently occurring words of English. 2003. As is known. Range: Members of a word family had to occur at least in 16 or more of the 32 subject areas. as represented by West’s GSL (1953). For example. suffixes and perceived transparency. Mudraya. a third of Coxhead’s 100 times. After the standardization of the sample texts and normalization of words. Word family. productive and regular prefixes. This principle was also applied in the present study. In compiling the MAWL. all the finally included word families in the MAWL met the following word selection criteria: 1. which may account for the general adoption of the word family in many word lists. Only word families covering 16 subject areas or more would be included in the MAWL.2. is the base word plus its inflected forms and transparent derivations.

MAWL development Following the standardization of the medical RAs and the normalization of the words.15%) borderline word families out of the 650 word families in the computer-screened candidate list were eliminated by expert opinion. The word families included in the GSL were eliminated first and then from the remaining word families. the word families occurring at least in 16 or more of the 32 subject areas were selected. Table 1 Twenty-seven word families eliminated by expert opinion Number Headword Frequency Range Number Headword Frequency Range 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 pathogenesis cytokine epithelial mitochondrial carcinoma ligand situ lymphoid vitro pulmonary posterior anterior lysis cardia 146 119 115 110 80 79 68 68 65 65 63 63 60 56 22 18 17 16 16 17 16 16 17 16 18 18 16 18 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 necrosis cutaneous stent vivo hepatic aortic ischemia cerebral dorsal hemorrhage pathophysiology exogenous phenotypic 55 55 52 52 51 50 50 49 46 44 44 39 33 16 16 16 17 19 18 17 17 16 18 17 16 16 . Table 1 displays the 27 word families which were eliminated by expert opinion.2. 1446 word families were left and 650 (44. By consulting the two experienced professors of English for Medical Purposes. and they made the decision on whether the word families in question should be included in or excluded from the finalized word list. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 was needed in the inclusion or the elimination of some criteria-fulfilling controversial word families in or from the computer-screened-out candidate list. The word selection criteria were then applied to locate our target word families to be included in the MAWL. 3. only those that occurred at least 30 times in the corpus of medical research articles were selected for the candidate word list. 27 (4. From the screened-out word families. as mentioned above.95%) word families of them occurred in 16 or more subject areas under study (range). 31 275 word families and 4128 pages of text in the corpus. If there was any uncertainty about any of the criteria-fulfilling word families in the computer-screened-out candidate list. 2. After the elimination of the GSL word families (1899 word families). Totally 3345 word families were found to have occurred P30 times (frequency).448 J. Wang et al. the frequency and the range of the word families in the corpus were counted and listed by computer software. Results There were 1 093 011 running words. two experienced English professors who have taught and conducted studies on English for Medical Purposes for more than 20 years were consulted. The finalized list was termed as the Medical Academic Word List (MAWL).2.

82 0.25 87.63 81.69 0.00 100. 54 (54%) appeared in all the 32 subject areas and Table 2 Statistical results of the top 30 word families of the MAWL Headword Frequency Range Occurrence % Occurrence % cell data muscular significant clinic analyze respond factor method protein tissue dose gene previous demonstrate normal process similar concentrate function therapy indicate area obtain research vary activate require induce cancer 4421 2226 2049 2039 1598 1447 1427 1237 1209 1122 1097 1035 999 926 861 819 819 810 787 756 749 745 734 705 704 695 673 669 668 667 3. which appeared 133 746 times totally.19 1.00 90.50 100.50 0.00 100.01%) in the MAWL occurred in 20 or more of the 32 subject areas under study.50 90.64 0.56 0.00 100.50 32 32 23 32 32 32 32 32 32 28 29 26 28 32 32 32 32 32 27 32 29 32 32 32 32 32 31 32 30 22 100.53 0.61 0.53 1.50 0.55 0. 623 (95.92 0.56 0.75 .07 0.00 100.00 71. 104 (16. Wang et al.84 0.00 100.00 100.00 100.31 1.69%) covered all the 32 subject areas and 321 (51.08 1.75 0.00 87. Taking the list as a whole. which appeared 30 times and appeared in 20 subject areas in the corpus. The word families in the MAWL occurred in a wide range of the subject areas in our corpus.00 100. while the least frequently used one was static.00 84.52 0.77 0. the frequency and the range of the word families included in the MAWL were positively correlated (rs = 0.85% of 650) word families were ultimately chosen and formed the Medical Academic Word List (see Appendix).00 96. Totally.00 100.00 100.90 0.53 0.88 100. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 449 By our word selection criteria plus the expert opinion of our consulted experienced EMP professors. Table 2 shows the statistical results of the top 30 most frequently used word families in the MAWL.000). 486 word families (78.00 100.00 93.00 100.38 100.66 1.52 1.59 0. which appeared 4421 times and appeared in all the 32 subject areas in the corpus.00 100. Among the top 100 most frequently used word families in the list.61 0.00 100.50 0. p = 0. In the MAWL.753.J.61 0. Of the 623 word families in the list.57 0.52%) covered 25 or more subject areas (see Table 3).63 100. the most frequently used word was cell.75 68.88 100.

Pressure ulcers. The average text coverage of the MAWL was 12. Venous ulcers are the most common. 2005) in our corpus gave us a picture of the academic words used in such texts.30 Total 623 100. often resulting from dysfunction of valves in veins of the lower leg that normally prevent the backflow of venous blood. Arterial insufficiency and diabetes also contribute to the development of leg ulcers. The following passage randomly selected from a medical research article (Supp & Boyce.62 5. these wounds are estimated to affect more than 2 million people with total clinical treatment costs as high as $1 billion annually.62 6. Chronic wounds represent a different kind of challenge for wound healing. Venous congestion leads to leakage of blood and macromolecules into the dermis.65 6. and reduced response to infection. but patients hospitalized for short-term care settings are also at risk if mobility is impaired.82 5. are common among patients in long-term care settings. The most common chronic wounds include pressure ulcers and leg ulcers.98 6.14 4. inducing ulcers or necrosis.450 J. In the United States alone.10 3. poor circulation. only 1 (1%) covered 32 subject areas and 42 (42%) covered fewer than 20 subject areas.65 4. The patients with diabetes are prone to leg ulcers because of several aspects of their disease. Arterial blockage can lead to tissue ischemia. while among the bottom 100 word families in the list.13 5. but they have a high incidence in the general population and thus have enormous medical and economic impacts.33 4. Leg ulcers can have a variety of etiologies.42 5.69 4. characterized by tissue ischemia and necrosis.10 4.00 90 (90%) appeared in 25 or more subject areas. accounting for 45–70% of all lower-extremity .94 5. Diabetic foot ulcers can lead to complications that result in as many as 50. including neuropathy.000 amputations annually in the United States.24% of the total words in the medical RAs under study. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 Table 3 Subject-area coverage of word families in MAWL Subject areas covered Number of word families 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 104 31 30 37 32 27 29 31 38 22 32 35 38 29 40 35 33 % 16.53 5. The words included in the MAWL are underlined. These wounds do not usually involve a large surface area. which can act as physical barriers to diffusion of oxygen and nutrients from the vasculature into the skin. Wang et al.98 4.

even though derivative forms are sometimes more frequent than the base forms. 1984). The MAWL can also help learners study EMP academic vocabulary in a more conscious and manageable way. The word families included in the MAWL are medical academic vocabulary common across various sub-disciplines of medicine but not within one single sub-discipline of medicine. This frequency priority in listing illustrates the relative usefulness of these words in medical English. Words like lesion and vein. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 451 amputations performed. Skin grafts can provide timely wound coverage. though they tend to be considered as technical terms by people outside medical field.90%) of the 623 word families in the MAWL overlapped with the 570 word families in the AWL. because in most cases learning the derived form requires very little extra work once the base form is known and if learners have control of basic word-building processes (Xue & Nation. We have included only 623 base words of the word families in the MAWL. The MAWL can provide some guidelines concerning vocabulary in curriculum preparation. are included in the MAWL as medical academic vocabulary because they are general purpose medical words frequently used across different medical subject disciplines. providing learners with some more specific approach to learning medical academic vocabulary and facilitating instructors’ setting of their medical academic vocabulary teaching goals in different stages. which was consistent with the results of our study. the word families in the MAWL are worth special attention in designing some English for Medical Purposes (EMP) courses. the words in the MAWL are listed according to the frequency of their occurrence in the corpus in a descending order. As the frequently and widely used medical academic vocabulary in medical RAs. Historically. the more frequently used word families are listed prior to those appearing less frequently in the corpus. 37 belonged to the MAWL. In the Appendix. Academic vocabulary or semi-technical vocabulary is a class of words between technical and non-technical words and usually with technical as well as non-technical implications. but may lead to painful donor sites which are slow to heal and may be unsuccessful because of underlying deficiencies in wound healing (p. The MAWL text coverage in the passage was 12. Only 342 (54.13%. The pedagogical implications The MAWL can serve as reference for a Medical English lexical syllabus.J. and grafting of split. Well-timed and repeated exposure to the word families of the MAWL in a variety of contexts may significantly contribute to the acquisition of the deep-going properties of this important set of medical academic words.or full-thickness skin. treatment of the relatively small chronic wounds has included the use of topical agents and occlusive dressings. which undermines the usefulness of general academic word lists across different disciplines. The MAWL provides a clear and direct access to the most . The MAWL can help learners/instructors center on essential medical academic words. that is. 4. 403). particularly in designing EMP course-books for learning medical academic vocabulary and in selecting relevant teaching/learning materials. Among the 305 words in the above passage. Wang et al. The marked difference between the MAWL and the AWL argues for itself that different practices and discourses of disciplinary communities require a more restricted discipline-based lexical repertoire. which is one of the major objectives of the present study.

a medical academic word list based on a Medical RAs Corpus with 1 093 011 running words. such as medical textbooks or spoken medical academic English. Appendix Medical Academic Word List (submitted by frequency of word families) Number Headword Number Headword Number Headword 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 cell data muscular significant clinic analyze respond factor method protein tissue dose gene previous demonstrate 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 normal process similar concentrate function therapy indicate area obtain research vary activate require induce cancer 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 occur role evident range identify period outcome phase specific liver infect culture mediate score affect . It would be of special significance for EMP students/instructors and medical professionals in learning or using medical academic vocabulary in medical reading and writing. we hope to inspire enough attention of instructors and learners/users to this type of vocabulary. our MAWL has been so far the only list of academic words targeted exclusively on medical science. the MAWL needs to be rechecked in larger corpora or in other genres of medicine. Wang et al. We hope the availability of exercises and tests based on the MAWL will promote effective and efficient teaching and learning of medical academic vocabulary. Our research is only a preliminary study on the medical academic vocabulary used in medical RAs. Although a number of word lists of academic words in other disciplines have been reported. the learners will consolidate the vocabulary knowledge acquired from the MAWL.452 J. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 frequently used medical vocabulary for EMP learners and enables them to conduct explicit learning of vocabulary when these words are first introduced to the learners. If possible. With more exposure to medical texts. 5. By developing a list of the frequently used medical academic words in medicine. This pattern of learning academic vocabulary in medical context may also exemplify a compromise for a long-running debate about explicit learning versus guessing from context. Conclusion The MAWL. has been compiled for the better learning and application of medical academic words in the discipline of medicine.

/ English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 453 Appendix (continued) Number Headword Number Headword Number 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 potential individual expose involve survive target respective intervene site per design primary approach estimate component acid baseline procedure overall pathway inflammation region participate lesion technique volume serum define evaluate prior assay injury section task achieve symptom detect molecular error incubate donor intense chronic 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 fraction insulin contrast react source available disorder positive structure multiple generate conclude medium inhibit complex distribute major tumor initial channel receptor membrane stress strain nuclear ratio approximate release transplant surgery assess impact versus drug laboratory minimize onset reveal scan monitor criterion visual duration 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 Headword cycle investigate acute sequence select maximize whereas peak elevation image enzyme parameter isolate mutation enhance calcium glucose appropriate incidence conduct protocol background stimulate algorithm establish efficacy hypothesis feature interval mortality array derive series buffer specimen focus display plasma abstract grade secondary strategy (continued on next page) . Wang et al.J.

Wang et al.454 J. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 Appendix (continued) Number Headword Number Headword Number Headword 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 graft undergo peripheral transcription despite consist status furthermore immune reverse infuse author interact issue negative throughout goal vein chamber independent proliferation formation subsequent predict correspond correlate regulate exclude metabolic device recruit final impair inject percent publish remove syndrome exhibit blot defect biopsy index 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 diameter cognitive followup fluid lipid magnetic margin energy locate survey software profile attribute convention synthesis recover objective filter segment compound link guideline extract proportion regression questionnaire discharge respiratory gender summary promote tract toxic relevant episode acquire communicate internal dimension layer microscope adverse recipient 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 density virus interpret document instruct oral theory illustrate probe diagnose consequence version create dilute skeletal novel threshold technology element dynamic challenge typical transfer aspect diet cohort external vector antibiotic domain temporary linear plus digit accurate concept transport rotate input absorb replicate distinct radical .

J. Wang et al. / English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 455 Appendix (continued) Number Headword Number Headword Number 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 superior contact ensure stable prevalence capture degrade anesthesia optimal kit bias proximal constant incorporate sufficient sustain label barrier zone chart implement trauma fund context hence community lateral facilitate trim prolong quantify perception accumulate expert grant amplification random construct mount renal environment couple 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 laser magnitude formula deficit alter access supplement eliminate graph shift capacity qualitative simulate globe modulate output attenuate statistic prescribe differentiate equivalent orient practitioner substantial chemical thereby consent intake stance trend overnight contribute enable spectrum assign option implicate aid tag portion electron cope decline 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 Headword species unique overlap adjacent node transform modify manual colleague core entry deficient cascade benefit identical parallel migrate reagent exceed comprise highlight evolution schedule organism predominant cumulative purchase plot seek emerge affinity valid code sterile compute prospect utilize deposit column contract scar axis (continued on next page) .

/ English for Specific Purposes 27 (2008) 442–458 Appendix (continued) Number Headword Number Headword Number Headword 430 431 432 433 434 435 436 437 438 439 440 441 442 443 444 445 446 447 448 449 450 451 452 453 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 468 469 470 471 472 473 inferior deviate trigger loop precursor perceive preliminary undertake substitute whilst scenario adapt adult expand cord fundamental feedback sum elicit circulation tolerance team sex candidate assume imply terminal vascular hormone minor panel aggressive comprehensive residual perspective brief trace equip accelerate template mode diminish consecutive foundation 474 475 476 477 478 479 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490 491 492 493 494 495 496 497 498 499 500 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514 515 516 517 emphasize physiology oxide restore conflict phenomenon invade restrict attach longitude technical nevertheless append infiltrate bacterium agonist rely capable manipulate histology pharmacology saline persist integrity precede rear mental demographic pathology prominent apparatus paradigm adjust crucial nervous gradient disrupt encounter nitrogen format robust spontaneous principal transmit 518 519 520 521 522 523 524 525 526 527 528 529 530 531 532 533 534 535 536 537 538 539 540 541 542 543 544 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 559 560 561 audit decade compromise cue gland assist inner intrinsic consume suppress fragment hypertension placebo dominant text susceptible spinal corporate principle relapse numerical resolve mature uniform diverse retain abdominal lane vital suspend voluntary diffuse rationale simultaneous transient secrete methanol confer constitute accomplish enroll embryo logistic project . Wang et al.456 J.

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