An exploratory study of NNS medical writers’ awareness of the collocational patterning of abstract nouns in medical discourse

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  • University of Barcelona


Research has demonstrated that it is challenging for non-native speaker (NNS) writers to acquire phraseological competence in academic English and develop a good working knowledge of domain-specific collocational patterns. This paper aims to investigate if NNS writers, in our case Spanish doctors, who are required to publish in medical journals, are aware of the common collocational patterns of abstract nouns that occur in published health science discourse. Twenty-four Spanish doctors completed a worksheet based on the collocational patterning of four abstract nouns (conclusion, comparison, agreement and decision). The analysis of the collocation exercises in the worksheet highlights that the participants were aware of some of the common collocational patterns that occur but still would need support for some others. The paper concludes with a brief reflection on the teaching and learning of collocations and the implications of publishing in English.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-331
Number of pages26
JournalRESLA - Spanish Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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