A corpus-based study of lexical bundles and moves by english l1 and l2 writers in medical journal abstracts

Eun Soo Kim, Eun Joo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many English L2 writers in the field of medicine encounter difficulties when writing English-medium journal abstracts. Previous studies have shown a need to improve the quality of medical journal abstracts when reporting randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Thus, it is important to gain sensitivity to the use of lexical bundles commonly shared by community members. However, little research has been conducted to explore the characteristics of lexical bundles between English L1 and L2 writers in medical journal abstracts. This study aims to investigate the use of lexical bundles and those with keywords between native speakers of English (NSE) writers and Korean non-native speakers of English (NNSE) writers by examining essential items connected to the moves of medical journal abstracts. The study extracted three to nine-word lexical bundles occurring at least five times across five different texts from prestigious medical journals published in English-speaking countries and Korea, respectively. Types and tokens of lexical bundles, including those with keywords, extracted at 0.0001 were examined between the corpora in accordance with each item of medical journal abstracts. It was observed that lexical bundles related to signals of research objectives, there-patterns, and hedges were frequently used by NNSE writers. On the other hand, NSE writers prominently used lexical bundles to report items related to research methodology, results with statistical markers, and negative events. The findings of the study show that NNSE writers lack awareness of discipline-specific conventions and essential items to include in medical journal abstracts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-800
Number of pages33
JournalKorean Journal of English Language and Linguistics
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

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  • A corpus-based analysis
  • English L2 writers
  • Lexical bundles
  • Medical journal abstracts
  • Randomized controlled trials (RCTs)


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