Profiling lexical coverage in EMI academic seminars: a corpus-based study


academic vocabulary
lexical coverage
higher education
L2 proficiency

How to Cite

Castellano-Risco, I. (2024). Profiling lexical coverage in EMI academic seminars: a corpus-based study. Ibérica, (47), 227–250.


Since the implementation of the Bologna Process, Higher Education Institutions have increasingly offered English as the Medium of Instruction (EMI) programmes to promote “internationalisation at home” (Beelen & Jones, 2018). While these programmes allow students to take content courses in English, EMI settings may also be challenging for learners due to the linguistic demands they may impose. However, current efforts to identify these demands have primarily relied on self-reported data, with limited consideration given to the linguistic features that may cause difficulties for EMI learners.

This paper aims to address this gap by exploring the lexical demands of EMI seminars. The study analyses the lexical coverage of BNC/COCA (Nation, 2012) and ASW (Dang et al., 2017) lists in MetCLIL, a corpus comprising nine EMI seminars and 110,496 tokens, and investigates the impact of contextual variables on lexical demands. The findings indicate that (1) EMI seminars show lower lexical demands on L2 learners than L1 lectures and seminars or EMI lectures but similar to L1 tutorials, (2) academic spoken vocabulary is less frequent than in other educational settings, and (3) certain contextual factors seem to play a critical role in lexical coverage.

Copyright (c) 2024 Irene Castellano-Risco

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


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