Hazrat-e Masoumeh University

Document Type : Original Article


Associate Professor of TEFL, Department of English Language and Literature, University of Qom, Iran


This paper provides further evidence from applied linguistics on the essentiality of a general list of academic vocabulary in academic achievement. For this purpose, the current research attempted to display that academic words assume subject-independent functions in academic writing, based on the functional framework developed by Hirsh (2010). The framework views writing from three perspectives: textual, ideational, and interpersonal – the three layers of the functional grammar of Halliday (1976). These three layers are corresponded with functional categories in the framework. Within this framework, a sample paper taken from a prestigious scholarly journal in the field of applied linguistics, including 468 academic words, was analyzed. The analysis, confirming the findings of earlier investigations with respect to coverage, showed that each occurrence of academic words could be assigned to a functional category. The paper argues that the assignment of academic vocabulary to functional categories is related to the requirements of the research community to disseminate knowledge according to uniform reporting standards. The findings emphasize the significance of academic vocabulary both in terms of assuming functions, and of pedagogy, implying that a limited, but a general, list of academic vocabulary can give a good return for learning, particularly in the realm of writing and reading in EFL contexts.