Semantic Categories of Reporting Verbs across Four Disciplines in Research Articles

  •  Sani Yantandu Uba    


This paper investigates semantic categories of reporting verbs across four disciplines: Accounting, Applied Linguistics, Engineering and Medicine in research article genre. A general corpus of one million words and sub-corpus (for each discipline) were compiled from a total of 120 articles representing 30 articles from each discipline. In this study, two levels of analysis were conducted. Firstly, I randomly selected five articles from each discipline and read and reread each article identifying what reporting verbs are used, in what context are used and why such reporting verbs are used. This process enabled me to identify semantic categories of reporting verbs. Secondly, on the basis of the identified list of semantic categories of reporting verbs, I used the list in generating concordance output for quantitative textual analysis of each sub-corpus of the four disciplines, as well as the general corpus. The results of the study show that writers from both Accounting and Applied Linguistics are having a high frequency of reporting verbs than writers from Engineering and Medicine disciplines. It also shows that there are certain commonalities and differences between the disciplines. For example, all the disciplines are having frequency of the three semantic categories of reporting verbs but with certain degree of variations. The study recommends raising awareness of students on semantic categories of reporting verbs. The results could also help EAP/ESP teachers in designing course materials for discipline specific reporting verbs. It could also be helpful for textbook course designers in developing textbooks for teaching reporting verbs.

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