Linguistic Variation across Major Disciplinary Groups of Pakistani Academic Writing: Multidimensional Analysis of Doctoral Theses

Abdul Aziz, Habibullah Pathan, Sajid Ali


This study aims at investigating the linguistic variation across two major disciplinary groups (physical sciences and biological & health sciences) of academic written English of Pakistani doctoral theses. Furthermore, the study also compares the language of physical sciences and biological & health sciences of Pakistani doctoral theses with the 23 genres of Biber’s (1988) study. The corpus of Pakistani doctoral theses (PakDTh), including the disciplinary groups (Physical sciences and biological & health sciences) as sub-corpora, was built for this study. MD Analysis tagger (v 1.3.) was used to tag and analyze the data. The generated scores were statistically computed using SPSS 20.0 and were qualitatively interpreted through the 5 explored dimensions of Biber (1988) MD analysis. The findings reveal that the language of both the sub-corpora (physical sciences and biological & health sciences) significantly differs at dimensions 1,2 and 3. Whereas, they are relatively similar on dimension 4 and 5. Furthermore, both the disciplines are characterized with significant linguistic variation (along the 5 dimensions) in comparison with 23 genres of Biber’s (1988) study. So far as the scope of the present study is concerned, it might be helpful for the researchers working in the field of sociolinguistics, world Englishes and lexicography.

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