General spoken language and school language

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The current study uses keyness to identify the essential lexicon and lexical patterns of history textbooks and match them to the out-of-school input to which a young learner might be exposed. Two frequency-ordered lists have been compared using the KeyWords component of WordSmith Tools v. 5.0 (Scott 2008). The first, compiled from a corpus of history textbooks used in lower secondary schools in Italy, named CoMaS (Corpus di Manuali di Storia), ascertains words needed to study history at school. The other, compiled from a published corpus of Italian spoken language, called LIP (Lessico di Frequenza dell’Italiano Parlato), specifies words frequent in daily communication. Results show discoursal, lexical, semantic, and morphological features which may be unfamiliar to the learner, and which should therefore be considered in a syllabus designed to develop students’ ability to interpret and express historical discourse.


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