Comparative Analysis of Lexical Bundles in Dissertation Abstracts: Insights for Teaching Academic English to Chinese Students

Kai Bao


Lexical bundle research in academic abstracts has predominantly focused on research articles, with less attention given to dissertation abstracts. This is particularly relevant for Chinese graduate students who are required to provide English abstracts in their dissertations. Addressing this gap, the study compared the structural and functional distribution of lexical bundles in dissertation abstracts by linguistics students from China and the United States to inform academic instruction. Two corpora, the Chinese University Student Collection and the American University Student Collection, each with 700 abstracts, were compiled and analyzed. The findings showed that Chinese students proportionally used more noun phrase (NP) and prepositional phrase (PP)-based lexical bundles, but fewer verb phrase (VP)-based ones, compared to their American counterparts. Additionally, they used a higher proportion of research- and participant-oriented bundles, but fewer text-oriented bundles. These differences highlight distinct structural and functional preferences in lexical bundle usage between the two student groups. This study underscores the importance of adapting instructional strategies to address these differences, enhancing English academic writing skills of Chinese graduate students by acknowledging the diverse linguistic approaches of international student populations.

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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