Epistemic Lexical Bundles in Applied Linguistics Literature Reviews: A Corpus-Based Study of Expert and Student Writing

Muna Liyana Mohamad Tarmizi, Anealka Aziz Hussin


Lexical bundles, recurring multiword sequences, are often regarded as the foundational elements of discourse, serving crucial functions in language. Acknowledged as integral to fluent linguistic expression, these bundles play a pivotal role in conveying evaluations, opinions, and attitudes in both spoken and written communication. Despite their significance in articulating personal and professional assessments, the utilization of lexical bundles in the review genre remains a relatively unexplored area of study. This paper aims to explore the use of epistemic lexical bundles within the context of applied linguistics literature reviews, comparing two distinct groups of writers: experts and student writers. Through a corpus-based contrastive analysis conducted on the Expert Literature Review Corpus (ELRC) and the Malaysian Literature Review Corpus (MLRC), four-word lexical bundles were automatically generated using Wordsmith Tools 6.0 (Scott, 2012). The identification of Epistemic Personal and Impersonal lexical bundles followed the categorizations of Epistemic Stance Bundles proposed by Biber et al. (2004). The findings reveal noticeable differences in the preferences of experts and student writers regarding the use of Epistemic bundles, particularly the absence of subcategory Personal bundles in the learner corpus. However, some shared bundles suggest a certain degree of alignment in writing style, vocabulary, and expression of epistemic stance between the two groups when reviewing existing literature. These insights carry implications for academic writing, emphasizing the necessity for further exploration in this domain.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v16i3.21835

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