Complexity of English textbook language

A systemic functional analysis

Authors

  • Vinh Thi To University of Tasmania
  • Ahmar Mahboob University of Sydney

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.31905

Keywords:

systemic functional linguistics, linguistic complexity, lexical density, nominalisation, English textbooks

Abstract

This article examines how the language of science and non-science texts differred across levels in a book series which is used in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). Employing Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as the principal theoretical and analytical framework, this research examines linguistic features characterizing complexity, namely lexical density and nominalization of 24 reading texts in both science and non-science fields. The result shows that while the language grew more complex as the book levels advanced, the linguistic features of the scienceoriented and non-science oriented texts were not significantly different in the same book level. Based on a discussion of the findings, this article suggests that English textbooks should include texts that use genre and field-appropriate language in order to help students acquire technical and specialised language to prepare them for success in higher education and the workplace.

Author Biographies

Vinh Thi To, University of Tasmania

Vinh To is an Early Career Researcher and a Lecturer in English Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has coordinated English and literacies units in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. She has managed many small research projects and co-supervised PhD students. Vinh has maintained broad research interests including SFL, educational linguistics, English, literacy, TESOL and languages education.

Ahmar Mahboob, University of Sydney

Ahmar Mahboob teaches linguistics at the University of Sydney, Australia. Ahmar has a keen interest in critical language variation. His research focuses on different facets of how language variation relates to a range of educational, social, professional, and political issues.

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Published

2019-07-26

How to Cite

To, V., & Mahboob, A. (2019). Complexity of English textbook language: A systemic functional analysis. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 13(3), 264-293. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.31905