Academic prose across countries: An investigation of the Humanities and Technology texts in the International Corpus of English

Vander Viana, John Kirk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


While academic prose has been extensively investigated, there is a dearth of analyses across different countries. The present study addresses this research gap through an exploration of academic writing in ten countries (i.e. Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Tanzania). To this end, we draw on the Humanities and Technology printed academic writing in International Corpus of English (ICE). The equivalence of texts in any category across ICE corpora has not been challenged to date, and this is the second gap – a methodological one – that is explored in the present chapter. Our study examines ten ICE corpora contrastively with a view to (1) identifying the lexical-semantic characteristics of the Humanities and Technology printed academic writing in each ICE corpus; and (2) checking the potential homogeneity of these two disciplinary domains across ICE corpora. Our research employs the key key word method: each text in one disciplinary domain in one ICE corpus was compared with all the other printed academic writing texts in the other three disciplinary domains in that same ICE corpus. The aim was to foreground the lexical indices which are specific of the focal disciplinary domain. Following their automatic identification, key key words were analysed qualitatively through concordance lines, and they were clustered into semantic groups. These groups were first considered on a country-by-country basis and then contrasted across the ten countries. The findings reveal not only what is characteristic of Humanities and Technology printed academic writing in each of the ten national ICE corpora but also whether these features are idiosyncratically found in one ICE corpus or dispersed across several of them. While, from the perspective of corpus design, there is an assumption of comparability among the texts which make up each of the four disciplinary domains in ICE corpora, our investigation shows that this does not seem to be the case. We hold that the availability of corpus documentation is therefore a must to allow for comparative studies across ICE corpora.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVariation in time and space
Subtitle of host publicationObserving the world through corpora
EditorsAnna Čermáková, Markéta Malá
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages38
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-060240-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-060192-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameDiskursmuster | Discourse Patterns
PublisherDe Gruyter


  • Academic prose
  • Key key word analysis
  • Disciplinary variation
  • International Corpus of English
  • Humanities
  • Technology
  • Corpus homogeneity

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