The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.768-800
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Mar 2020
Received 01 Nov 2020 Revised 27 Nov 2020 Accepted 10 Dec 2020

A Corpus-Based Study of Lexical Bundles and Moves by English L1 and L2 Writers in Medical Journal Abstracts
Eun-Soo Kim ; Eun-Joo Lee**
Ewha Womans University
Ewha Womans University

** 1st author: Kim, Eun-Soo; corresponding author: Lee, Eun-Joo

Copyright 2020 KASELL
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many English L2 writers in the field of medicine encounter difficulties when writing English-medium journal abstracts. Previous studies have shown a need to improve the quality of medical journal abstracts when reporting randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Thus, it is important to gain sensitivity to the use of lexical bundles commonly shared by community members. However, little research has been conducted to explore the characteristics of lexical bundles between English L1 and L2 writers in medical journal abstracts. This study aims to investigate the use of lexical bundles and those with keywords between native speakers of English (NSE) writers and Korean non-native speakers of English (NNSE) writers by examining essential items connected to the moves of medical journal abstracts. The study extracted three to nine-word lexical bundles occurring at least five times across five different texts from prestigious medical journals published in English-speaking countries and Korea, respectively. Types and tokens of lexical bundles, including those with keywords, extracted at 0.0001 were examined between the corpora in accordance with each item of medical journal abstracts. It was observed that lexical bundles related to signals of research objectives, there-patterns, and hedges were frequently used by NNSE writers. On the other hand, NSE writers prominently used lexical bundles to report items related to research methodology, results with statistical markers, and negative events. The findings of the study show that NNSE writers lack awareness of discipline-specific conventions and essential items to include in medical journal abstracts.

Keywords: lexical bundles, medical journal abstracts, a corpus-based analysis, English L2 writers, randomized controlled trials (RCTs)


The article is based on part of the first author’s doctoral dissertation

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Kim, Eun-SooGraduate Student, Department of English EducationEwha Womans University52 Ewhayeodaegil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03760, KoreaTel: (02)3277-2647E-mail:

Lee, Eun-JooProfessor, Department of English EducationEwha Womans University52 Ewhayeodaegil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03760, KoreaTel: (02)3277-3788E-mail: