FOSTERING COMMUNICATION AND LANGUAGE COMPETENCE IN DENTAL MEDICINE
The success of professional communication nowadays depends on the unambiguous use of lexis. The present survey integrates the lexical approach and the corpus-based analysis to foster the professional use of lexis and communication competence through exposure to authentic texts and language practice. The aim of the paper is to extract and compile a collection of useful lexical patterns and collocations for students of English in the field of dental medicine and to facilitate the acquisition of these formulaic sequences in specialized contexts.
This quantitative research investigates the specific pairings of form and meaning with a terminological potential in professional English, reveals the complexity of their valency properties and the difficulties these structures pose at an upper-intermediate level of language use.
The focus is on prototypical collocations in specialized texts for dental medicine. Verb, noun and adjective patterns as sequences formed by at least two lexical units where the base and the collocate are combined in a restricted manner to form a compositional meaning are investigated in a small corpus of research articles and textbook texts. The modification and complementation types resulting from the valency properties of the head words are illustrated with concordance sentences. The function, usage and contextual limitations of these repetitive patterns are incorporated into learning tasks. Reading comprehension tasks, use of phraseological units and fixed expressions, speaking and writing activities are suggested as supplementary materials to the current English module at the Medical University of Varna. Besides common verbs such as use, make, cause topical vocabulary in the domain of dental medicine necessitates knowledge of specific high frequency verbs, describing tooth disorders, dental procedures and oral prophylaxis; nouns functioning as attributive adjectives and a variety of prepositional phrases on clinical issues. These resources, developing profession-specific and appropriate clinical vocabulary at university level would also be available for self-study. The ultimate goal is to optimize and upgrade the range of specialized vocabulary in English for Dental Medicine as well as to give the students the freedom to approach the core head words from a different perspective – in word partnerships. Thus, when writing or speaking students may rely on ready-made sequences with incorporated grammar for an improved language performance.
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