Last Modified: Feb. 1, 2002 (downloadable version)

A Corpus-based Study of Lexical and Grammatical Features of Written Business English

Yasumasa Someya

An MA Thesis submitted to
the Graduate Department of Language and Information Sciences,
The University of Tokyo

December 1999


Vol. 1:  Main Chapters
Title Page, Abstract,  Acknowledgement and Table of Contents 
Chapter 1  Introduction  (pp. 1-23)
1.1 Background . . . 1
1.2 Purposes and scope of the study . . . 2
1.3 Working hypotheses . . . 3
1.4 Definition of "Business English" . . . 5
1.5 Review of previous research . . . 7
1.6 Corpora used in the study . . . 11
1.7 Data-analysis software and computer programs . . . 18
Chapter 2  Comparative Analysis of POS Distribution  (pp. 24-54)
2.1 The main rationale for POS distribution analysis . . . 24
2.2 Study procedure . . . 25
2.3 Relative proportions of the major POS categories in the BLC and the Reference Corpora . . . 27
2.4 Discussions . . . 29
     1) Modals . . . 31
     2) Conditional if . . . 32
     3) Pronouns . . . 33
     4) Infinitival to . . . 33
     5) Determiners . . . 35
     6) WH-particles . . . 36
     7) Existential there . . . 37
     8) Interjections . . . 42
2.5 Comparison between the Native and Learner BLCs . . . 43
2.6 Summary . . . 47
Chapter 3  The BLC Wordlists  (pp. 55-86)
3.1 Definitions of technical terms . . . 55
3.2 The BLC General Wordlists . . . 59
     1) THE COMPREHENSIVE BLC WORDLIST . . . 59
     2) THE BLC KEYWORDS LIST . . . 64
3.3 The BLC Categorical Wordlists . . . 68
     1) THE BLC VERB LIST . . . 68
     2) BLC wordlists for adverbs, adjectives and nouns . . . 75
3.4 Summary . . . 77
Chapter 4  The BLC Lexicon  (pp. 87-163)
4.1 Verifying the three hypotheses against empirical evidence . . . 87
     1) The "lexical closure" hypothesis . . . 87
     2) The "lexical ease" hypothesis . . . 93
     3) Some lexical evidence in support of the "write-as-you-talk" hypothesis . . . 97
4.2 Modals as the "key" keywords of the BLC lexicon . . . 116
     1) Distribution and frequencies of modals in the BLC . . . 117
     2) Syntactic structures of modal verb-phrases . . . 119
4.3 The BLC "Core" Vocabulary . . . 131
     1) Defining the core verbs . . . 131
     2) Defining the core adverbs, adjectives and nouns . . . 141
4.4 Summary . . . 150
Chapter 5  Conclusion  (pp. 164-170)
5.1 Summary of the thesis . . . 164
5.2 Attainment of research purposes . . . 168
5.3 Contributions of the current study . . . 169
5.4 Further research . . . 169
Appendix A1:  A detailed list of data sources of the Business Letter Corpus  . . . (pp. 171-176)
Appendix A2:  A sample excerpt from the Business Letter Corpus  . . . (p. 177)
Appendix A3:  A sample excerpt from the Learner BLC  . . . (pp. 178)
Appendix B1:  POS tag set used with the Brill Tagger  . . . (pp. 179-180)
Appendix B2:  LOB Corpus POS tag set  . . . (pp. 181-183)
Appendix B3:  Brown Corpus POS tag set . . . (pp. 184-186)
Appendix C1:  A List of AWK programs used in the study  . . . (pp. 187-189)
Appendix C2:  Program source of the wordlist compiler, mk_list.awk  . . .(pp. 190-194)
Appendix C3:  Sample Image of "Lexical Profiling" for Business Core Verbs  . . .  (pp. 195-197)
Appendix C4-1 (Table 4-40):  Business English Core Adverbs (by Usage) 
Appendix C4-2 (Table 4-41):  Business English Core Adverbs (by Keyness) 
Appendix C4-3 (Table 4-42):  Business English Core Adjectives (by Usage) 
Appendix C4-4 (Table 4-43):  Business English Core Adjectives (by Keyness) 
Appendix C4-5 (Table 4-44):  Business English Core Nouns (by Usage)  . . .   (pp. 198-206)
Bibliography  (pp. 207-216)
Summary in Japanese (6 pages)
Summary in English (5 pages)
 
Vol. 2:  Appendices D1 through F2 (WORDLISTS) 
Appendix D1:  COMPREHENSIVE BLC WORDLIST (Lemmatized List) 
Appendix D2: Alphbetical Index of the BLC Comprehensive Wordlist
Appendix D3:  Business Letter Corpus (BLC) Keywords List
Appendix E1:  Business Letter Corpus Verb List 1  (Lemmatized Usage Rank List)
Appendix E2:  Business Letter Corpus Verb List 2  (Graphic-word based frequency comparison table) 
Appendix E3:  Business Letter Corpus Verb List 4  (Graphic-word based normalized frequency comparison table) 
Appendix E4: Business Letter Corpus Adverb List 1 (Usage Rank List)
Appendix E5: Business Letter Corpus Adverb List 2 (Frequency comparison table)
Appendix E6: Business Letter Corpus Adjective List 1 (Usage Rank List)
Appendix E7: Business Letter Corpus Adjective List 2 (Frequency comparison table)
Appendix E8: Business Letter Corpus Noun List 1 (Lemmatized Frequency Comparison Table)
Appendix F1:  Learner BLC Comprehensive Wordlist 1 (Lemmatised List)
Appendix F2:  Learner BLC Verb List 1  (Frequency Ranking with reference to the Ranking of the BLC Core Verb)


(c) Yasumasa Someya, 1999