Lexical bundles and discourse signalling in academic lectures

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This paper discusses some approaches to the categorisation of cohesive devices with reference to spoken academic discourse, multi-word units, and strings of frequently co-occurring words (lexical bundles). It goes on to investigate the cohesive role of lexical bundles in a corpus of 160 university lectures (120 from the BASE corpus and 40 from MICASE). Like the bundles from the T2K SWAL teaching subcorpus, investigated by Biber, Conrad and Cortes (2004), the bundles in the lecture corpus included both ‘oral’ and ‘literate’ elements. The majority of frequently occurring bundles were found to be used to signal discourse relations, although their cohesive function was not necessarily obvious when listed out of context.


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