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TitleThe Academic Vocabulary List
TagsStrategic Management Psychology & Cognitive Science Cognitive Science Vocabulary Part Of Speech
File Size1.8 MB
Total Pages826
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The Academic Vocabulary List

Mark Davies and Dee Gardner
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah, USA
August 9, 2013

For more details on the construction of the vocabulary list, see:

To be listed as a “core” word, the word must:

[ ]

Gardner, Dee and Mark Davies. (2013) “A New Academic Vocabulary List”. In Applied Linguistics.
[ ]

We believe that our Academic Vocabulary List improves significantly on the traditional Academic Word List (Coxhead, 2000) in a number of ways.
First, while the traditional AWL is based on just 3.5 million words from the 1990s, our new list is based on the 120 million words (in 13,000 academic
texts) in the 425 million word Corpus of Contemporary American English, with texts as recent as 2011.

Second, our “word families” version of the list -- shown in these spreadsheets -- contains a great deal of information that is not available in the
traditional AWL:

We list the words (lemmas actually; see below) in order of frequency. In a traditional word families list, there is no indication of which words are
frequent and which are not. As a result, you cannot maximize your time in learning the words that you will most likely see again. With our list, you

We separate lemmas by part of speech and we list the frequency of each lemma and part of speech. For example, in the word family [effect], we
show effect as a noun (60,078 tokens) and effect as a verb (1,581; i.e. much less common). Knowing the part of speech of a word helps immensely
in knowing the meaning of a word and how it is used.

As noted, we group words by lemma, e.g. [apply] = {apply, applies, applies, applying}. You probably don’t want or need to see the frequency of
each individual form of a noun or verb – it usually doesn’t help much with learning the words.

We format the words so that you know whether they are part of the general Academic Vocabulary List (yellow), whether they are more technical
and occur mainly in one domain (such as Law or Medicine) (red), or whether they are not really an academic word, but are just a member of the
word family (white and blue). For the technical words, we indicate in which sub-genre(s) they are most frequent.

The following explanation is based on word #2 in the list (develop) and it shows how the list is organized.

The word family [develop] is the second most frequent word family (#2) in COCA academic texts. (The rank order is based on the cumulative total
of just the yellow “core academic” words.) The nine “core academic” words occur a total of 128,974 times in COCA academic. The frequency of the
word in academic texts is listed after each word, and the words/lemmas are listed in order of frequency; e.g. the word development occurs 63,509

Note that because lemmas are combined to form word families, the rank order in the word family file does not match the rank order in the lemma

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