Author: Leung, Sze Ning Maggie
Title: The use of phrasal verbs in engineering English : a corpus-based study of extended units of meaning
Advisors: Warren, Martin (ENGL)
Cheng, Winnie (ENGL)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2018
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
English language -- Verb phrase
English language -- Discourse analysis
Engineering -- Terminology
Department: Department of English
Pages: x, 319 pages
Language: English
Abstract: The present study explores the use of phrasal verbs in engineering English to illustrate the implications and significance of a fuller description of meanings of phrasal verbs in specialised contexts. Phrasal verbs have attracted a considerable amount of attention over the past thirty years due to their extensive use in the English language and their syntactic and semantic characteristics. Previous studies have used different definitions of phrasal verbs. This study adopts an inclusive approach in defining phrasal verbs by including: Type I which is the combinations of a verb and an adverbial particle, Type II which comprises a verb and a prepositional particle, and Type III which is the combinations of a verb followed by an adverbial particle and a prepositional particle. All of the three types of combinations function as single units. This study adopts a genre-based approach to examine the use of phrasal verbs. The corpus analysed was the 9.2-million-word Hong Kong Engineering Corpus (HKEC) composed of 31 genres of engineering texts collected from the engineering workplaces in Hong Kong. Phrasal verbs were extracted from the corpus using Wmatrix and WordSmith Tools ConcGram is used to perform concordancing as it is able to show all possible configurations in the concordances of a single search. The most frequent phrasal verbs across the 31 genre-based sub-corpora were compared and examined. In particular, concordance analysis was carried out for the most frequent five phrasal verbs and their other inflectional forms. They were examined in terms of their frequencies, forms and co-selections in different sub-corpora using Sinclair's (1996, 2004) five categories of co-selections. The meanings and forms in which the most frequent phrasal verbs exhibit show that some meanings and forms of phrasal verbs are specific to engineering English or particular engineering genres, and some meanings are specific to particular inflectional forms. Through studying the co-selections of phrasal verbs in engineering English, the present study provides a much more thorough description of the meanings and use of phrasal verbs in specialised contexts. It has important implications for teaching and learning English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and professional communication in the workplace, and the design of grammar reference books and dictionaries. It may also make significant contribution to other studies on lexical items and phraseology in different contexts by replicating the methodology adopted in the current study.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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