Towards a Part-of-Speech (PoS) gram approach to academic writing: A case study of research introductions in different disciplines

Ling Lin, Ming Liu (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This study innovatively applies the Part-of-Speech-gram (PoS-gram) procedure to the examination of language patterning and variability in a largely conventionalized part-genre (i.e., research introductions). Based on 400 article introductions from computer engineering (CE) and cognitive linguistics (CL), the study has identified key PoS-grams and their associated lexico-grammatical frames, using the written academic component of British National Corpus as the reference corpus. The analysis reveals key PoS-grams shared in CE and CL introductions, e.g., those associated with the step “purposive announcement”, as well as the discipline-specific ones such as the PoS-gram for structure-outlining only found in CE introductions. Compared to various forms of multi-word sequences like n-grams, the PoS-gram has the unique strength of grouping phraseologies with similar or identical structure and discursive functions and yet either recurrent or varying lexical choices under the co-selected grammatical categories. The advantage enriches analyses and helps yield pedagogically useful findings, in that patterning and variability is revealed not only in the overall function, structure and composition of PoS-grams but in such aspects of their recurrent or diversified tokens. This study illustrates the innovative application of corpus-based PoS-gram procedure to academic genres, which may inspire a promising new line of inquiry and the current genre pedagogy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103052
Early online date16 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Part-of-Speech-grams
  • Introduction
  • Research articles
  • Phraseology
  • Cross-disciplinary study


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