Teaching Specialized Vocabulary by Integrating a Corpus-Based Approach: Implications for ESP Course Design at the University Level

  •  Hsiao-I Hou    


The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how to integrate two in-house specialized corpora into a university-level English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course for nonnative speakers of English. The ESP course was an introductory level of wine tasting for Applied English Department students at a university specializing in hospitality in Taiwan. Two corpora of wine tasting notes selected from the official website of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) in Canada, one for red wine and one for white wine, were compiled. Lexical density and vocabulary compositions were analyzed. The results show that the lexical density and the percentages of specialized vocabulary of the wine corpora were higher than in other disciplines. In addition, wine reviewers used different vocabulary to describe the characteristics of white wine and red wine. From the keyword analysis, terms related to cooking methods and food names appeared in high frequencies. Based on the corpora analysis results, vocabulary lists, the LCBO website, and the in-house corpora were introduced to the students as supplementary materials. The pre- and posttest results for vocabulary indicate that the students enrolled in this program gained significant progress in both content and language knowledge. Based on the study results, recommendations for ESP teaching and materials development are discussed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.