Academic Vocabulary in Use, McCarthy M., O’Dell F., 2008

Academic Vocabulary in Use, McCarthy M., O’Dell F., 2008.

   The book presents and practises the kind of vocabulary that is used in academic speech and writing regardless of which discipline you are concerned with. So it considers words and expressions like concept, cast doubt on, put forward a theory and come to a conclusion. It does not deal with the specialist vocabulary of any particular subject such as medicine or physics. Such specialist terms are often relatively easy to master - they will be explained and taught as you study the subject and these words may indeed sometimes be similar in English and your own language. However, it is the more general words used for discussing ideas and research and for talking and writing about academic work that you need to be fully familiar with in order to feel comfortable in an academic environment. Despite the fact that they are much more frequent than specialist words, these more general words are often felt to be more difficult to learn. It is, therefore, extremely useful to approach them in the systematic way suggested by this book.

Academic Vocabulary in Use, McCarthy M., O’Dell F., 2008

Words with several meanings.
Many words in English have more than one meaning. The word set, for example, is one word with a particularly large number of distinctly different meanings. As our focus is academic English, some key uses of set are illustrated by these examples.
a) Set the instruments to zero, [get something ready so it can be operated]
b) I would like to set some ground rules for the course, [establish]
c) The decision set a number of changes in motion, [caused to be in a stated condition]
d) We must set a time for our next meeting, [arrange]
e) Concrete sets as it cools, [becomes solid]
f) The students entered the room and immediately set to work, [started work]
g) The condition is associated with a particular set of symptoms, [group]
h) We have a number of set books to study in our literature class, [that must be studied].

Words with several different academic meanings.
Many academic words have specific meanings according to their discipline. Channel, for example, has specific meanings in electronics, linguistics, biology, physics and geography. So you will, of course, need a specialist dictionary for your own subject.
Other words, e.g. issue and point have several generally important academic meanings. The writer takes issue with Kwame’s interpretation, [raises arguments against]
In your essay you should address a number of key issues, [topics]
Have you seen the latest issue of the Malaysian Medical Journal? [edition]
Jackson raises some interesting points in his article, [opinions, ideas, information]
The writer takes a long time to get to the point, [most significant part].

To the student and the teacher.
Working with academic vocabulary.
1 What is special about academic English?.
2 Key nouns.
3 Key verbs.
4 Key adjectives.
5 Key adverbs.
6 Phrasal verbs in academic English.
7 Key quantifying expressions.
8 Words with several meanings.
9 Metaphors and idioms.
Word combinations.
10 Nouns and the words they combine with.
11 Adjective and noun combinations.
12 Verbs and the words they combine with.
13 Prepositional phrases.
14 Verbs and prepositions.
15 Nouns and prepositions.
16 Fixed expressions.
At academic institutions.
17 Applications and application forms.
18 College and university: the UK system.
19 Systems compared: the US and the UK.
20 Academic courses.
21 Study habits and skills.
22 Online learning.
Ways of talking about.
23 Sources.
24 Facts, evidence and data.
25 Numbers.
26 Statistics.
27 Graphs and diagrams.
28 Money and education.
29 Time.
30 Cause and effect.
Opinions and ideas.
31 Talking about ideas.
32 Reporting what others say.
33 Analysis of results.
34 Talking about meaning.
35 Research and study aims.
36 Talking about points of view.
37 Degrees of certainty.
38 Presenting an argument.
39 Organising your writing.
40 Making a presentation.
41 Describing research methods.
42 Classifying.
43 Making connections.
44 Comparing and contrasting.
45 Describing problems.
46 Describing situations.
47 Processes and procedures.
48 Describing change.
49 Evaluation and emphasis.
50 Summary and conclusion.
Reading and vocabulary.
1 Good friends.
2 Australia.
3 The World Wide Web.
4 The human brain.
5 Nanotechnology.
6 International law: an overview.
1 Formal and informal academic words and expressions.
2 Numbers, units of measurement and common symbols.
3 British and North American academic vocabulary.
4 Spelling variations.
5 Word formation.
6 Abbreviations.
List of phonemic symbols.

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