A corpus-based study of the specificity adjectives specific and particular in academic written English : evidence from the BAWE corpus

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2019, vol. 45, iss. 2, pp. [175]-199
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
The article presents an exploratory study on the use of two specificity adjectives: specific and particular in the corpus of British Academic Written English, with supplementary frequency data obtained from the British National Corpus and a corpus of English Research Articles. The Sketch Engine and WordSmith Tools 6.0 are employed to find out to what extent the two near-synonyms are interchangeable by exploring their overall and discipline frequency, potential synonyms and lexico-grammatical behaviour, including lexical bundles. The results reveal that despite certain similarities in the use of specific and particular in academic written English, such as sharing some of the synonyms or lexicogrammatical patterns, it is definitely specific that is more frequent in hard science prose, has a more diverse lexico-grammatical profile and denotes a specificity that is scalar in its nature and context-specific rather than universal.
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