Vol. 4. No. 3 CF-1 May 2000
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Reflective Teaching in EFL: Integrating Theory and Practice

Santiago Posteguillo &
Juan C. Palmer
Universitat Jaume I
Castelló, Spain


There is a tendency--at least within Spanish Universities--to separate linguistic theory from methodology in language teaching. Our understanding is that linguistic theoretical input should not be taught independently of pedagogical considerations. This is especially the case in applied linguistics, where both discourse and genre analysis (Swales, 1990; Fairclough, 1992; Bhatia, 1993; Fortanet et al., 1998), represent an important tool for linguists in their efforts to comprehend the variation of language across different types of texts. Our aim is to overcome some of the problems based on the existing gap between theoretical input and pedagogical teacher training by means of a thorough reflective process on language teaching (Bartlett, 1990; Korthagen, 1993; Hatton & Smith, 1995; James, 1996; Farrell, 1999).


There is a tendency--at least within Spanish Universities--to separate linguistic theory from methodology in language teaching. Our understanding is that linguistic theoretical input should not systematically be taught independently of pedagogical considerations. Instead, it may be very beneficial to integrate linguistic theory within the practical methodological framework in which language teachers become involved in their professional careers. This is specially the case in applied linguistics where both discourse and genre analysis (Swales, 1990; Fairclough, 1992; Bhatia, 1993) represent an important tool for linguists in their efforts to comprehend the variation of language across different types of texts.

Our aim is to overcome some of the problems based on the existing gap between theoretical input and pedagogical teacher training. We agree with Lewis when he states:

Many non-natives have spent many years studying the language but their theoretical studies--philology, phonetics, linguistics and the like--are frequently not related to pedagogy and the classroom. Extensive theoretical knowledge which precedes classroom experience often remains too abstract for teachers to see its relevanceƒ. (1993, p. 189)

In order to overcome this gap, we are devising a graduate program for English Language Teachers at Universitat Jaume I, Castelló (Spain), placing a special emphasis on making these prospective EFL/ESL language teachers aware of the relevance of applied linguistics research tools in the development of syllabuses and course design. This awareness is raised by means of a thorough reflective process on language teaching and its implications. The relevance of this reflective approach has been attested by a series of studies (Bartlett, 1990; Korthagen, 1993; Hatton & Smith, 1995; James, 1996; Farrell, 1999). [-1-]

The sample courses in this graduate program, as presented in this paper, are based on previous investigations in the area of genre and discourse analysis in Business English, EAP/ESP and ESL by our linguistics research group financed by Bancaixa, a Spanish private banking institution which mainly operates on the Mediterranean coast (Posteguillo, 1996; Fortanet, Palmer & Posteguillo, 1997).

Universitat Jaume I

Universitat Jaume I is a new educational institution founded in 1991. The University is divided in three main schools and one institute: the School of Social Sciences, the School of Law and Economics, the School of Experimental Sciences, and the Tile Industry Institute.

There are 19 degrees offered at Universitat Jaume I. The School of Social Sciences offers courses on Psychology, Humanities, Translation and Interpretation, and English Philology, as well as four different degrees on Primary Education Teaching. The School of Law and Economics offers Law Studies, Business Studies, Business Administration and Management, Public Management and Labour Relations. Finally, the School of Experimental Sciences comprises the degrees in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Technical Engineering in Computer Science Management, Computer Science Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Technical Engineering in Industrial Design. The Tile Industry Institute remains as a research-oriented institution in coordination with the School of Experimental Sciences and most tile-related companies in the Castelló area.

A significant and unique feature in all the degrees above-mentioned is that English is a compulsory subject. This is not only becaause English is an international language for research in most academic disciplines, but also because of the particular need of English language skills within the Castelló industrial community. In fact, 90% of the Spanish tile-related industry is concentrated in a fairly small area (of about 300,000 inhabitants). This is a export-oriented industry for which English language is an essential tool. Additionally, this is a very important tourist area on the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. Previous research (Palmer & Posteguillo, 1996) indicates that among 59 companies interviewed, 54 confirmed that they used English language daily. Additionally, data showed that English was the foreign language most frequently used among these companies (with 58.6% of the total usage of foreign languages), followed by French (24.5%), Italian (10.2%), and German (6.3%).

The orange industry, furniture firms, and even some oil companies (viz. British Petroleum) complete an export-based society. When our University was founded, it was agreed that all students should acquire at least an intermediate level of English proficiency and, in some degrees (e.g., business, computer science, and teaching, among others) an advanced proficiency level in English. This social demand that our University agreed to satisfy transmitted a growing interest and need for English language teachers to other co-lateral teaching institutions. Those co-lateral institutions were primary and secondary public schools, private schools and other teaching centres, such as the Official School of Languages, private language academies, the Chamber of Commerce, and several other centres. [-2-]

This situation, in turn, made us take heed when designing the curriculum of our own English Philology degree, which represents the main teacher-training centre. The four-year English Philology curriculum was in fact revised, and several new courses included, all of which focused specifically on developing language teacher skills.

However, after a few years with some of our students involved in their teaching professions, and some even attending graduate courses within our own university, we noticed that our objective of integrating the language teaching courses in a previously linguistic and literature-oriented degree had not been fully satisfactory. There was a gap between linguistic theory and language teacher education, and it was our aim to find a solution.

The gap between linguistic theory and language teacher education

This gap is clearly detected at the undergraduate level at most Spanish universities. For instance, if we revise the English Studies curriculum offered at our University, a substantial gap appears between our linguistic theory courses on the one hand, and courses on language teaching skills on the other. In other words, theoretical linguistic input is systematically taught separately from practical methodology in language teaching. Accordingly, undergraduate students finish their English studies with the idea that language teaching and linguistics have nothing in common.

The curriculum for any four-year English degree at a Spanish university usually provides three main types of courses: those dealing with literature written in English, studies on linguistics, or language teaching classes. At Universitat Jaume I at Castelló this situation is reproduced with all courses falling into these three main categories. Thus, we find the first group of courses focusing on English literature studies, with two subcategories: courses on literature itself, and courses on literary criticism. Those belonging to the first subcategory are: English Literature I, II, III and IV, Introduction to American Literature, American Literature I and II and, finally, Other Literatures in English Language I and II. In relation to literary criticism, students may take Stylistics in English Literature I and II.

Theoretical Linguistics, the second main category of courses offered in an English degree at Spanish universities, is represented by a large variety of subjects: Introduction to Linguistics, English Lexicology, Theoretical Linguistics, Discourse Analysis, Applied Linguistics, Dialectology, Sociolinguistics, Computational Linguistics, Diachronic Linguistics, and Theory of Speech Acts. Courses in Language Teacher Education are represented by the following subjects: Teaching English for Specific Purposes I and II, Methodology I and II, and Teaching Skills for the Language Classroom. [-3-]

Besides the gap between theoretical linguistics courses and those focused on language teaching skills, there is also a quite unbalanced situation regarding the academic load that each of these types of courses occupy in the curriculum: there are ten courses on linguistics, and only five devoted to language teaching; literature does not suffer from this discrimination, with eleven specific courses being taught.

Integration of source disciplines to language teacher training: a reflective process

As indicated above, our aim is the integration of theoretical linguistics courses with those in methodology and language teacher training. We believe that the way to achieve this integration is through the key concept of reflection. Bartlett (1990, p. 204) states:

Improvement of teaching may be achieved through reflection. Reflection is more than "thinking" and focuses on the day-to-day classroom teaching of the individual teacher as well as the institutional structures in which teacher and students work.

In Bartlett's opinion, this process of reflection should be aimed at becoming a critically reflective teacher. In order to do this, teachers have to transcend the methodological stage and become immersed in the wider context of actual teaching. He distinguishes between how to questions and what/why questions. How to questions would be those directly related to the methodological concerns of teaching, whereas what/why questions extend the reflective process to include issues such as the following:

What counts as knowledge in second language teaching ? [ƒ]How is what counts as knowledge transmitted ? [ƒ]What kind of multicultural society or cultural system uses this knowledge legitimately ? [ƒ] What is the nature of knowledge that guides my teaching of content ? (Bartlett, 1990, p. 206)

Bartlett does suggest that teachers should move from the how to questions towards what/why questions as the ones mentioned above; reflection should operate as the tool to achieve this shift. Figure 1 (below) illustrates this process.

In our understanding, it is possible to establish a parallelism between Bartlett's how to questions and courses on language teacher training on the one hand, and Bartlett's what/why questions and theoretical linguistic courses on the other. In other words, subjects such as methodology, teaching skills, or TESP (Teaching English for Specific Purposes) will help prospective teachers to offer guidelines on how to organise their teaching, whilst courses on sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, or theory of speech acts, to mention just a few, will answer the what and why of their teaching. The problem is that when students in an English degree (which is aimed at prospective foreign language teachers) encounter these two groups of courses (teacher training courses and linguistics courses) they perceive them as separate entities, since the reflection process that interconnects the two groups has been eliminated. Figure 2 illustrates this situation and can be compared with Figure 1. [-4-]

Our proposal then is to integrate those subjects dealing with the how of language teaching with those courses that focus on the what and why of the teaching experience, by means of maintaining the essence of the reflective process. Figure 3 shows this model of reflective integration of linguistic theoretical input in a practical methodological framework.

In this process, students registered in our graduate program courses have to become investigators, not only of the how questions or methodological issues (see Gebhard et al., 1990) but also of the what and why areas of their teaching, in other words, the linguistic content itself, which they aim to transmit.

The modification of the English degree syllabus appears as a need that will have to be solved in the long run if we wish to equip prospective language teachers with a substantial set of linguistic skills which they may apply in their practical development of their teaching profession. Unfortunately, this (in our opinion, absolutely necessary) re-design of the undergraduate curriculum will have to wait for a few years due to administration procedures within the Spanish University system.

In the meantime, we have tried to compensate the unbalanced situation presented above by a more proportional distribution of the courses involved in the graduate program. Instead of a majority of subjects dealing with theoretical linguistics or literary studies and only a few with teacher training, we offer three graduate literature courses, four linguistics, and three teacher education. The courses on literature are: The Rhetorics and Poetics of the Bible, King James (1611) authorised version, The New York School: Poetry, Music and Painting in the United States in the 50's and 60's, and Saint Vincent of Valēncia in Old and Middle English. The linguistics courses are: Theories of Second Language Acquisition: A Critical Approach, Lexical Functions on Discourse, Analysis of Technical and Scientific English Texts, and Cognitive Models: Typology and Interactions: Their Applications to English Textual Analysis. Thirdly, the teacher education courses are: Genre Analysis as a Linguistic Research Tool and Its Pedagogical Applications for EAP/ESP, Layers of Specificity in Business English Discourse, and Discursive Dimension in the Process of Learning a Second Language.

As we have already commented, the objective of these three graduate language teacher education courses is the integration of linguistic theory in a methodological framework that students (prospective EFL teachers) may apply in their profession. We will now describe in detail how teacher education courses 1 and 2 are organised in order to meet this objective.

These two courses are divided into five main sections: theoretical linguistic input, corpus selection, analysis, results and discussion, and pedagogical implications of the results for language teaching. A series of initial sessions are allocated to provide theoretical linguistic contents related to the practical research work that will follow. Next, a corpus of significant texts is selected for analysis from a linguistic point of view. A relevant group of linguistic variables is chosen for the analysis, depending on the objectives of the research work. These objectives are closely interrelated with the theoretical linguistic items explained and discussed in the initial sessions of the course. [-5-]

Students are then left to work on their own for a period of a week or two, depending on the task undertaken. After a few days, the class meets again to discuss the results obtained, first, from a purely linguistic point of view, and then, from a language teaching perspective.

Course 1: Genre analysis as a linguistic research tool and its pedagogical applications for EAP/ESP

a) Theoretical linguistic input

This course opens with the definition of the term genre in linguistic research (Swales, 1990), the description of genre analysis in the context of language as it is used for specific situations, professions or academic disciplines (Bhatia, 1993; Fortanet, et al. 1998; Fortanet, Palmer, & Posteguillo, 1999; Posteguillo, 1999; Alcaraz, 2000), and the explanation of different approaches to genre analysis such as the comparative perspective (Nwogu, 1991). Students are given a series of readings for guidance: Swales' Genre Analysis and Bhatia's Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings, as main references, and some complementary readings (Bazerman, 1988; Bhatia, 1991a, 1991b; Biber, 1988).

Additionally, since students in the course are language teachers, mainly involved in polytechnic secondary institutions, special attention is given to the definition of scientific English discourse. A relevant bibliography is provided in the form of research articles or chapters from books (Barber, 1962; Horsella & Sinderman, 1992; Myers, 1990; Nida, 1992; Atkinson, 1993).

b) Corpus selection

Ten popularisations from Scientific American and ten articles from Byte were selected for the analysis, since these texts or similar ones were being used for teaching purposes in the specific teaching contexts of the students in the course. Additionally, ten research articles were added to the corpus for comparison purposes. All texts dealt with computer science topics: first, because this was relevant for the language teaching settings that students had to face, and second, because the objective was generic differences and not possible cross-disciplinary variations (Fortanet et al., 1996; Fortanet et al., forthcoming).

c) Analysis

All texts were to be analysed in relation to the following linguistic variables: analysis of marked themes (Halliday, 1985; Gosden, 1992) [1]; analysis of grammatical subjects (McDonald, 1992) [2] tense and voice usage (Barber, 1962; Tarone et al., 1981; Hannania & Akhtar, 1985; Gunawardena, 1989; Thomas & Hawes, 1994); and an analysis of the various types of acronyms used for which the class devised a specific typology to be applied in the study. [-6-]

d) Results and Discussion

The following is an example of the type of analysis done for the genre analysis course.

The results obtained in the analysis confirmed that each genre has different linguistic features. This is especially the case of popularisations, on the one hand, and research articles on the other: popularisations reduced the use of marked themes as sentence initial elements (38.2%) and appear less epistemically oriented as measured by the number of epistemic subjects used (69.2%); by contrast, research articles increase the use of marked themes (40.6%) instead of grammatical subjects as sentence initial elements, and also are more epistemically-oriented (88.2% of epistemic subjects). Research articles place the emphasis on describing the process of scientific investigation, while popularisations focus on the description of the phenomena that are being investigated. Also, both genres address different types of readership: research articles require a higher technical background knowledge from the reader than popularisations, as the analysis of acronyms reveals.[3]Additionally, popularisations reduce the use of passive forms (to only 10.9%), whereas these are increased in research articles (up to 22.5%).

Byte articles appear as a complex genre, since it comprises linguistic features of both research articles and popularisations--besides their own specific characteristics. For instance, Byte articles include specific characteristics representative of popularisations, such as a lower percentage of marked themes as sentence initial elements (34.4%), a reduction of passive forms (to only 10.4%), an increase of real world entity CFs (up to 25%), and an overall lower percentage of epistemic subjects (only 50.6%). These features are combined with a higher technical background knowledge required for the readers, along with a writer-reader interaction, which are common characteristics in computer science research articles. Figure 4 [4] illustrates the use of these linguistic variables in the three genres studied.

In other words, as expected, this analysis finds that research articles display a higher linguistic register with a higher technical content, whereas popular science articles are written in a lower linguistic register with a lower technical content (see Fig. 5). [-7-]

e) Pedagogical implications for language teaching

Several pedagogical implications were drawn from the linguistic research described above. First, scientific English discourse is not homogeneous, and generic variation exists. Second, these generic variations should not be overlooked when selecting texts to be used in class: for instance, a popularisation should not be presented as representative of the academic discourse in one specific discipline. This does not mean that we have to disregard popularisations for foreign language teaching. Popular science can be very appealing for a group of students with an intermediate or advanced proficiency in English, but with a lower technical knowledge of the subject matter of the text in question. Something similar can be said of Byte-type articles: they may also be interesting texts for the students, but should not be used to illustrate academic English as such.

In sum, the course as a whole, from the description of the various linguistic items to be considered up to the results obtained from the empirical analysis, served to illustrate how the application of linguistic theory may go hand in hand with curriculum and syllabus design for language teaching. Additionally, it shows the value of asking students to draw connections between analysis on the one hand, and pedagogy, on the other.

Course 2: Layers of specificity in Business English discourse

a) Theoretical linguistic input

Students are introduced into the concept of journalese, or the language used in newspapers, which has commonly been recognised as having its own characteristics. Nevertheless, the use of punctuation, grammar (tenses, clauses, contextualising frames, and other linguistic devices), and vocabulary differs from other types of discourse (Van Dijk, 1988; Fowler, 1991). Because journalese has enough features to warrant its use as a specific genre, it is studied by prospective journalists.

Students are also given a description of the divisions of journalese into the sub-genres which journalists take into account when writing their articles. However, no consistent classification of these sub-genres is to be found. According to González Reina (1991), genres in the press can be divided into the following categories: informative note, interview, chronicle, report, editorial, leading article and column. García Núñez (1985) proposes a different classification. The author separates the informative genres (informative notes, reports, long or special reports and chronicles) from the interpretative genres (editorials, commentaries, or columns, critiques and collaboration articles).

However, the application of the status of genre in the area of Business English press articles is, to a certain extent, complex due to what St. John defines as: [-8-]

[T]he absence of an established "common-core" of business language in the way that there is a relatively well-agreed core of semi-technical lexis and grammar that is widely used in academic scientific and technological subjects. (1996, p. 5)

In our understanding, this absence is directly related to the variation of business English discourse across a set of different layers of specificity that account for the distinct use of grammar, style and technical content within this specific discourse. Students are set to work in order to either corroborate or modify this assumption.

Students are then given further references on recent studies in discourse and genre analysis of Business English, such as the recent works by Buchholz (1989), Jones (1991, 1992), Rasanen (1991), Bhatia (1993), Mauranen (1993), and St. John (1996) show. Still, as Ellis and Johnson report:

Business English is an area of ESP that is relatively poorly researched. Rigorous linguistic analysis is fragmented, and is more frequently based on ... correspondence, annual reports and articles on business journals. (1994, p. 7)

This is why we are concerned with other forms of business English, such as the use of this type of discourse in the daily press.

b) Corpus

Considering the above-mentioned theoretical linguistic approach and students' interest in business English texts for both in-company and secondary education settings, the corpus selected was made up of series of business press articles: six Business News Reports in the Press (BNPs) and six Business Press Articles (BPAs). BNPs are business news reports which appear in the general press, that is, articles to be read by a general audience, whereas BPAs are specific business press articles targeted to a more specialised audience of business professionals.

c) Analysis

Students are then introduced into the concept of intertextuality, defined by Fairclough (1992, pp. 101-136), as an appropriate analytic framework for discourse analysis of press articles. The variables considered in both groups of articles were:

  1. Average sentence length in words.
  2. Verb density as measured by the average number of finite verb forms per sentence.
  3. Percentage of sentences whose first syntactical element coincides with the grammatical subject.
  4. Percentage of sentences whose first syntactical element is different from the grammatical subjects (i.e., sentences which open with a contextualising frame, as defined by Gosden, 1992).
  5. Types of contextualising frames used.
  6. Use of relative clauses.
  7. Voice usage: active and passive verb forms.
  8. Tense usage.
  9. Modality: use of modal verbs.
  10. Use of numerical data.
  11. Technical density as measured by the number of business technical terms introduced. [-9-]
  12. Use of business technical acronyms.
  13. Use of non-business related acronyms.
  14. Type of graphical input displayed.
d) Results and Discussion

Again, we present a sample of the type of analysis done in this course. A series of these variables indicated the linguistic similarities between the two groups of articles, whereas a second group of these articles illustrated the significantly linguistic differences that separate BNPs and BPAs. Tables 1 and 2 illustrate these linguistic similarities and differences respectively.

Table 1. Linguistic similarities between BNPs and BPAs.

News in the
Press (BNPs)
Total number of words25092734
Average sentence length in words used23.2320.71
Verb density as measured by average
number of finite verb forms per sentence
% of grammatical subjects81.4883.33
% of contextualising frames (CFs)18.5216.67
% of contrast/concession CFs42.8640.92
% of location in time, real word entity markers19.0422.73
% of condition-real CFs14.2913.64
% of active verb forms91.1592.31
% of passive verb forms8.857.69
% of modal verb forms9.728.50

Table 2. Linguistic differences between BNPs and BPAs.

News in the
Press (BNPs)
Frequency of use of numerical data1 per
1 per
Average number of business terms per article
(terms repeated count as one)
Average number of relative clauses per article2.519.35
% of business technical acronyms53.8464.70
% of non-business related acronyms46.1635.30
% of simple present active verb forms28.7642.91
% of simple past active verb forms33.6220.64

Business News in the Press (BNPs) and the more specific Business Press Articles (BPAs) share a common set of linguistic features, especially in relation to form and style. This original common ground can be accounted for by the fact that both types of texts belong to journalese, which represents in itself a particular type of discourse. [-10-]

Further analysis, however, reveals a series of linguistic differences between BNPs and BPAs. These differences are especially marked in relation to content, as the use of technical acronyms and specific business terms indicates. But variations are also detected regarding relative clauses and the use of tenses. All these distinctions can be related to the existence of two different types of audiences: a specific readership of business people in the case of BPAs, and a wider less-business knowledgeable audience in the case of BNPs.

These linguistic differences, both in form and content, along with the existence of a distinct audience, support our initial contention of a gradation in specificity in Business English discourse: from general business reports in the press (BNPs) to the highly academic business and economics research articles, with the genre of business specific reports in specialised sections in the press (BPAs) coming somewhere in between the other two.

e) Pedagogical implications for language teaching

Results of the analysis of the two sets of articles indicate that each group of texts may be linguistically differentiated. In other words, although all articles share a common core of linguistic features which allow the linguist to speak of business English discourse, the differences that have been detected suggest that BPAs and BNPs are addressed to two distinct types of audience: BPAs are written for a far more business knowledgeable readership (i.e., business professionals), whereas BNPs are texts designed for a more general and wider readership, less familiar with business issues.

If each group of articles addresses a distinct audience, it naturally follows that not all of these texts may be equally relevant for different learners: BPAs appear as an appropriate type of texts as for in-company teaching settings, where learners aim at reading these articles regularly since they need the information they contain for their daily work. BNPs, however, with their more general description of business content, seem a more appropriate type of text for business English students, who are likely to be less knowledgeable in the discipline.

An altogether different pedagogical perspective may be to use both types of texts for all language teaching settings, instead of selecting one type or the other depending on the learner. If we do make use of the two types of texts, the pedagogical implications to be drawn from the linguistic analysis of our research is that each text may be applied to measure reading skills comprehension: BNPs can be used as introductory texts to develop reading comprehension skills in business English; whereas BPAs could be used to test the development of these reading comprehension skills towards the end of the language course, since these appear as more complex readings.

In sum, the linguistic analysis of the set of texts selected reveals that business English texts should not be selected or ordered in a language course without taking into account their specific linguistic and content features.


Traditionally, there has been a gap between linguistic theoretical input and methodological language teacher education in English philology degrees in Spain. There have been attempts to design more balanced syllabi by a more proportional distribution of courses on linguistics and courses on methodology. However, the gap between these two types of disciplines has remained throughout the last years. [-11-]

We believe that linguistics as a source discipline should be integrated with language teacher education. This integration process should be reflective: prospective teachers should be informed as to how to incorporate their own linguistic background knowledge into their specific teaching contexts. Without this reflective integration of theory and practice, the initial gap above mentioned shall remain, and language teaching in general will suffer of this unfortunate dichotomy.

The two graduate courses described here are a sample of a language teacher education approach now in progress at Universitat Jaume I - Castelló (Spain) to generate active reflective teachers. It is still too early to assess results, but initial indicators (attendance to courses, students' attitude and interest, materials being designed, etc.) suggest that this attempt of reflective integration of theory and practice in language teaching may not be in vain. We look forward to providing further results in the near future.


[1]These sentence initial elements--SIEs, using Gosden's (1992) terminology--can be unmarked or marked. An unmarked theme would coincide with the grammatical subject, that is, we would have a sentence following the general syntactical pattern of subject-verb-complements. On the other hand, a writer can resort to marked themes as sentence initial elements, thus opening the sentence with what Davies (1988) labels as contextualising frames(CFs). These CFs convey different rhetorical functions, such as contrast (but, however, although), validation (generally, as figure 4 shows, evidently), space or time location (first, then, finally, here), addition (that is, for example, furthermore), viewpoint (apparently, unfortunately), means (in this way, by further studies, by pressing this key), and so forth.

[2] MacDonald divides all subjects in two main categories: phenomenal and epistemic. Phenomenal subjects are those related to "the material that the researcher studies", and epistemic are those "consisting of the methods, conceptual tools, and previous research that the researcher brings to bear on the material" (MacDonald, 1992, p. 543). Each of these main categories is divided in turn into several subcategories: particulars (all proper names), groups (emulators, software, products), attributes (helpful software, good hardware), reasons (most technical terminology), research (reference to scholars, scientists or institutions), -isms (subjects referring to schools of thought), and audience (words addressing the reader).

[3] The study of acronyms corroborates the highly technical input of research articles in computer science, which the previous analyses of contextualising frames and grammatical subjects suggested: only 5.6% of all acronyms are non-technical, for 94.4% of specifically technical abbreviations. This is a good indicator of the type of audience computer investigators have in mind when they produce their research articles, and contrasts with the reduction of technical acronyms to 67.5% found in popular science articles; there, the epistemic input is substantially reduced in favour of a less technically knowledgeable readership. [-12-]

[4]Abbreviations in Figure 13: GSs (grammatical subjects), CFs (contextualising frames), DE CFs (discourse entity contextualising frames), RWE CFs (real world entity contextualising frames).


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About the Authors

Dr. Santiago Posteguillo teaches linguistics and English for Specific Purposes at Universitat Jaume I at Castelló (Spain). He has recently published in Hermes, Journal of Linguistics and English for Specific Purposes, among other international journals. His main research interests are sociolinguistics, pragmatics, functional grammar, lexicography and English for Specific Purposes.

Dr. Juan Carlos Palmer teaches Business English and English for specific purposes at Universitat Jaume I, Casteló (Spain). He has recently published in the RELC Journal and Hermes, Journal of Linguistics, among other international journals. His main research interests are summarization techniques in developing writing skills, Business English, Academic English and English for specific purposes.

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