Capturing technical terms in spoken CLIL: a holistic method for identifying subject-specific vocabulary

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Content and language integrated learning (CLIL), an educational approach using a foreign language to teach non-language subjects, has been consistently gaining in popularity. Despite an increasing research base suggesting its benefits for general language proficiency, the contribution made to learning and using subject-specific target language elements is largely under-researched. This paper addresses one aspect of this, i.e. students’ use of subject-specific vocabulary in CLIL classroom communication. We propose a holistic model for identifying both single and multi-word lexical units specific to the school subject in oral classroom data, integrating corpus-linguistic and qualitative data analysis. The method is trialled using a data set of 16 hours of secondary-school CLIL classroom data within the subject of European economics and politics in Year 12. Findings show that a holistic definition of subject-specific vocabulary is vital, and that the model constitutes an adequate and flexible tool for specifying CLIL terminology in oral classroom discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-29
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Edcuation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 503029 Language teaching research
  • 602007 Applied linguistics


  • CLIL

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