Lexical verbs in a medical case-report wordlist
Keywords:Lexical verbs, Genre moves, Medical corpora, Verb classes, Clinical cases, Dictionary and text-mining
Clinical case reports or clinical cases (CRs) are, perhaps, the most widely read text type in medicine, since they contain a detailed description of the patient’s medical history and symptoms and thus furnish ample teaching material for physicians-in-training. For non-native speakers of English in medicine, autonomous learning is often restricted because of a lack of medical lexicon, poor academic vocabulary, and weak lexical verb use. Here, we present the results of an investigation of lexical verbs: their distribution, classification, and contextual use in the different sections of the genre CRs. We suggest that lexical verbs with contextual use should be included in medical dictionaries to aid vocabulary development for all levels of English language competence. We found that relational and reporting
verbs predominate in CRs and are used to describe and contextualize author observations. Stative verbs are generally found to describe patient data, while change of state verbs generally refers to patient response to therapy. Contextual analysis suggests that lexical verbs categories might be related to the moves of this genre, useful for teaching the structure of medical publications. We give some applications of this investigation to dictionary building and in integrating corpora in teaching and eventually in testing activities.
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