Vol. 4 No. 1 (2017): Interdisciplinary and interlinguistic perspectives on Academic Discourse: the mode variable

Competing influences: the impact of mode and language on verb type and density in French and English scientific discourse

Published May 29, 2017


This paper proposes a contrastive analysis of lexical verbs in English and French academic discourse. The EIIDA corpus enables us to adopt a doubly contrastive viewpoint, comparing the frequency and types of verbs used both in research articles and oral presentations in the two languages. The results indicate that mode differences are less distinct in French and that overall lexical and verbal density is higher in English (46% the English oral mode and 61% in the written mode, whereas it is 42% and 47% in the French oral and written mode). In contrast, the French articles and presentations sub-corpora display greater lexical variation, suggesting that information is densely packed in English and the same lexical items are often reused, whereas information is less dense in French but is accompanied by greater lexical diversity and less reuse.

Keywords: written and oral academic discourse, lexical density, lexical variation, verbal density