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Noor Mala Ibrahim and Ummul K. Ahmad (University Teknologi Malaysia)

The structure of Engineering Lecture Discourse: the case of Malaysian classrooms


A number of studies have investigated the ways in which academic lectures are structurally organized, either through examination of the overall structure of lectures or a particular segment of lectures. Young (1994) in her study on macrostructure of lectures identified six phases that form the structure of lectures. Other studies, Thompson (1994) and Lee (2009) looked at lecture introductions; while Lee found that size of the class influences lecturers’ choices of rhetorical moves, Thompson has demonstrated that lecture introductions seem to lack a typical rhetorical order and have unpredictable move structure. Most of these studies have focused on lectures in the North American and Western European settings. Not much is known however, in the academic settings where English is a lingua franca (ELF). With the growing emphasis on English as the medium of instruction in academic institutions around the globe, it is useful to describe the variance of ELF and the emerging rhetorical style that comes with it. This poster presentation describes the overall structure of Malaysian engineering lecture discourse where English has been reintroduced as the medium of instruction in Malaysian universities.The data for the study come from a sub-corpus of the ELC* consisting of six large lectures where both lecturers and students share a common language other than English. This poster will demonstrate yet another difference in the structure of academic lectures - Malaysian engineering lectures seem more fluid than what has been described thus far in the literature.

*ELC is Engineering Lecture Corpus a project under the PMI-II project funded by the British Council

Lee, J.J. (2009). Size matters: An exploratory comparison of small- and large-class university lecture introductions. English for Specific Purposes. 28. 42-57.
Thompson, S. (1994). Framework and contexts: A genre-based approach to analysing lecture introduction. English for Specific Purposes. 13(2). 171-186.
Young, L. (1994). University lectures – macro-structure and micro-features. In J. Flowerdew (Ed.), Academic Listening (pp. 159-176). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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