The word profile of a Global Online Course for English language teachers: A corpus-based research project




AWL, English teachers, learner corpus, off-list words, online teacher education


Providing useful reference materials for online course participants is an important aspect for online courses. To aid a course designed to provide professional development to English language teachers from around the world, this corpus-based study investigated the frequency and coverage of Academic Word List (Coxhead, 1998), General Service List (GSL) first 1000 words (1K), and GSL second 1000 words (2K) lists. Gathering course materials and participant discussion board posts into two corpora for this study, frequency and coverage of the three base lists were calculated using AntWordProfiler and AntConc, resulting in a coverage of 9.56 % for AWL words and over 80% coverage for the two GSL lists combined in the first corpus. The high percentage of off-list words (9.75%) in the first corpus and low percentage of AWL words in the second corpus (5.23%) motivated the creation of a new word list that contains the most frequently used words outside of the AWL, GSL 1K, and GSL 2K words from the first corpus to supplement future course participants with technical words that are required to successfully complete the course.

Author Biographies

  • Sebnem Kurt, Iowa State University

    Sebnem Kurt (Corresponding Author) is a Ph.D. student in the Applied Linguistics and Technology program, co-majoring in Human-Computer Interaction at Iowa State University. She worked as an EFL instructor at Akdeniz University for over a decade before she started her doctoral studies. She is a Fulbright scholar and a TESOL certificate holder. Her research interests include computer-assisted language learning, second language assessment and project-based learning.

  • Jeanne Beck, Iowa State University

    Jeanne Beck is a Ph.D. student in the Applied Linguistics and Technology Program at Iowa State University. She has an education specialist degree (Ed.S.) in administration and an M.Ed. in TESOL. A certified K-12 teacher and education administrator, she also currently works as an EL coordinator/teacher at the elementary level. Her main interests include second language assessment, teacher training, CALL, and project-based learning.

  • Abdulrahman Alharthi, Iowa State University

    Abdulrahman A. Alharthi is a Ph.D. student in the Applied Linguistics and Technology program at Iowa State University. He has a bachelor's degree in English Language from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia and a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. His research interests include language assessment, L2 listening comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, language motivation, and Directed Motivational Currents (DMC).


Anthony, L. (2014). AntConc (Version 3.4.3) [Computer Software]. Available from

Anthony, L. (2009). AntWordProfiler. [Computer software]. Available from

Bi, J. (2020). How large a vocabulary do Chinese computer science undergraduates need to read English-medium specialist textbooks? English for Specific Purposes, 58, 77-89.

British Council. (2013). The English effect: The impact of English, what it’s worth to the UK and why it matters to the world.

Brezina, V., & Gablasova, D. (2013). Is there a core general vocabulary? Introducing the new general service list. Applied Linguistics, 34(5), 1-23.

Browne, C., Culligan, B., & Phillips, F. (2013). A new general service list.

Chapelle, C. & Hegelheimer, V. (2022). Using educational technology in the English language classroom. [Online course]. OPEN.

Chen, Q., & Ge, G. C. (2007). A corpus-based lexical study on frequency and distribution of Coxhead’s AWL word families in medical research articles (RAs). English for Specific Purposes, 26(4), 502-514.

Chen, B., Chang, Y. H., Ouyang, F., & Zhou, W. (2018). Fostering student engagement in online discussion through social learning analytics. The Internet and Higher Education, 37, 21-30.

Clemmons, K. (2008). The problem of polysemy in the first thousand words of the General Service List: A corpus study of secondary chemistry texts. (Publication No. 3319232.) [Doctoral dissertation, University of Central Florida]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL quarterly, 34(2), 213-238.

Gholaminejad, R., & Anani Sarab, M. R. (2020). A study of the frequency of academic vocabulary in a corpus of academic textbooks of the English Language Teaching. Foreign Language Research Journal, 10(1), 198-215.

Gilner, L. (2011). A primer on the General Service List. Reading in a Foreign Language, 23(1), 65-83.

Gustafsson, M. & Malmstrom, H. (2013). Master level writing in engineering and productive

vocabulary: What does measuring academic vocabulary tell us? In N-L. Johannesson, G. Melchers, and B. Bjorkman (eds.), Of butterflies and birds, of dialects and genres: Essays in honour of Philip Shaw. (pp.224-243). Stockholm University.

Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2007). Is there an “academic vocabulary”?. TESOL quarterly, 41(2), 235-253.

Konstantakis, N. (2007). Creating a business word list for teaching business English. ELIA, 7, 79-102.

Lei, L., & Liu, D. (2016). A new medical academic word list: A corpus-based study with enhanced methodology. Journal of English for academic purposes, 22, 42-53.

Li, Y., & Qian, D. D. (2010). Profiling the Academic Word List (AWL) in a financial corpus. System, 38(3), 402-411.

Low, P. (2019). Identifying specialized vocabulary in Thai food menus using computer-based approach. Journal of Advances in Information Technology, 10(3).

Lu, C. & Durrant, P. (2017). A corpus-based lexical analysis of Chinese medicine research articles. The Asian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(1), 3-15.

Martínez, I. A., Beck, S. C., & Panza, C. B. (2009). Academic vocabulary in agriculture research articles: A corpus-based study. English for specific purposes, 28(3), 183-198.

Mozaffari, A., & Moini, R. (2014). Academic words in education research articles: A corpus study. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1290-1296.

Nation, P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge.

Nation, P. (2013). Learning vocabulary in another language (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pathan, H., Memon, R. A., Memon, S., Shah, S. W. A., & Magsi, A. (2018). Academic

vocabulary use in doctoral theses: A corpus-based lexical analysis of Academic Word List (AWL) in major scientific disciplinary groups. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(4), 282-288.

Rudy, M., Kristina, D., & Tarjana, S. S. (2019). Measuring spoken vocabulary load on medical English students: A learner corpus evaluation. International Online Journal of Education and Teaching, 6(4), 774-787.

Silva, L. G., Matte, M. L. & Sarmento, S. (2018). Brazilian students’ use of English academic

vocabulary: An exploratory study. Linguistica de Corpus, 509-526.

Vongpumivitch, V., Huang, J. Y., & Chang, Y. C. (2009). Frequency analysis of the words in the Academic Word List (AWL) and non-AWL content words in applied linguistics research papers. English for Specific Purposes, 28(1), 33-41.

Wang, Y. (2014). A corpus-based contrastive study on applied vocabulary of RA abstracts in applied linguistics. Applied Mechanics and Materials, 631-632, 1442-1446.

Ward, J. (2009). A basic engineering English word list for less proficient foundation engineering undergraduates. English for Specific Purposes, 28(3), 170-182.

Yang, M. N. (2015). A nursing academic word list. English for specific purposes, 37, 27-38.







How to Cite

Kurt, S., Beck, J., & Alharthi, A. (2023). The word profile of a Global Online Course for English language teachers: A corpus-based research project. Journal of Language Teaching, 3(4), 1-10.

Similar Articles

1-10 of 59

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.