The Louvain EAP dictionary

The Louvain EAP dictionary (LEAD) is a web-based English for Academic Purposes (EAP) dictionary for non-native writers, designed by Sylviane Granger and Magali Paquot (Granger and Paquot, 2010; Paquot, 2012; Granger & Paquot 2015).

It contains a rich corpus-based description of non-technical words and phrases that express key functions in academic discourse (e.g. contrast, exemplification or cause and effect), with particular focus on their phraseology (collocations and recurrent phrases).

The lexical entries provide information derived from an analysis of a large corpus of academic texts (i.e. the academic component of the British National Corpus), as well as a range of home-made discipline-specific corpora and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learner corpora representing a wide range of first language (L1) populations.

Its main originality is its customisability: the content is automatically adapted to users’ needs in terms of discipline and mother tongue background. Discipline selection makes it possible to illustrate the phraseological environment of a search word by means of example sentences extracted from a specialized corpus. For example, if you select ‘medicine’, the sentences used to illustrate the collocations and lexical bundles of an English academic word will preferably come from a corpus of medical texts. One of the purposes of L1-background identification is to allow users to perform a bilingual search but such information also serves to give feedback on errors and problems that a specific L1 population typically encounters.

Another key feature of the LEAD is that is makes full use of the capabilities afforded by the electronic medium in terms of multiplicity of access modes. The dictionary can be used as both a semasiological dictionary (from lexeme to meaning) and an onomasiological dictionary (from meaning/concept to lexeme) via a list of typical rhetorical or organisational functions in academic discourse. It is also a semi-bilingual dictionary as users who have selected a particular mother tongue background can search lexical entries via their translations into that language. For the translations from English into the language backgrounds currently covered in the LEAD, we gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of:

  • Stéphane Ostyn (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) (for Dutch)
  • Zhang Xuhua (Fudan University) (for Chinese)
  • John O'Donoghue (Technische Hochschule Wildau) (for German)
  • JoAnne Neff van Aertselaere and Paloma Ubeda (for Spanish)

The LEAD dictionary is designed as an integrated tool where the actual dictionary part is linked up to other language resources (in particular, a corpus-handling tool, discipline-specific corpora and exercises).

The LEAD was developed within the framework of the FNRS-FRFC project 'Lexicography and phraseology: onomasiological and semasiological approach to English for Academic Purposes' (2.4.501.08.F) (2008-2012).