Standard Article

Corpora in Language for Specific Purposes Research

  1. Viviana Cortes

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0225

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Cortes, V. 2012. Corpora in Language for Specific Purposes Research. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Among the various approaches that are often used to study language for specific purposes (LSP), those focusing on the analysis of the genres used by the target discourse communities have attracted a high degree of attention in the last decade. The members of different discourse communities develop specific communicative practices and conventions to communicate with one another and with other communities. Language learners who need to acculturate to a new community that uses a specific language type need to become aware of the forms of discourse used by those communities. For many decades, the description of these discourses was done by analyzing a single text or a very limited number of texts, in an attempt to provide language learners with a framework of reference for the acquisition of this specific language and to help materials designers develop materials that could be used for the teaching of LSP. With the advancements in computer technology and the collection of language corpora (large collections of machine-readable language texts) that have been taking place in the past two decades, the use of recurrent features of language that mark the tendencies of a discourse community can now be easily identified and analyzed. Technology now allows for the collection and storage of hundreds of thousands or millions of texts that provide data to describe language in detail, basing that language description on empirical findings instead of mere intuition.


  • discourse analysis;
  • corpus;
  • grammar;
  • language for academic purposes;
  • language for specific purposes;
  • vocabulary