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Lexicographic studies in medicine: Academic Word List for clinical case histories


Medical texts are often thought to pertain to a closed community, but how far the language used by that community overlaps with general academic lexis is unknown. We examined a corpus of clinical case histories using the software RANGE to characterise the lexis of clinical case histories quantitatively and present a wordlist for clinical medicine. Only 58% of the general academic wordlists are found in clinical texts but the 85% overlap with an important academic wordlist, the Coxhead 570, furnishes evidence for the academic nature of the lexis used for clinical cases in Medicine. There was little overlap (38%) between our clinical case wordlist and other wordlists of medical research articles but such overlap might constitute a core of medical lexis.