Technicality of Noun-Noun Combinations in Sports Science Research Articles

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Ratchanee Singkhachan
Jeremy Ward


The authors of this paper aimed to study the role of Noun-Noun Combinations (NNCs) in academic discourse, in a particular branch of sports science, exercise physiology. It began with the creation of an Exercise Physiology Research Article Corpus (EPRAC). The corpus, which consisted of 41 journal research articles in the discipline giving a corpus size of approximately 134,029 running words, was compiled. Nouns occurring at least three times in the corpus were selected for investigation, and found that they have a strong tendency to combine in NNCs, a process central to the creation of technicality in the corpus. A total of 2,010 NNCs types were identified, comprising more than 22% of all the word types in the corpus. These NNCs were classified by experts in the field according to how closely or exclusively they are related to the field of exercise physiology (how technical they are). It was found that over 75% of the NNCs are technical. Technical NNCs occurring at least three times were included in the Exercise Physiology Research Article Corpus Noun-Noun Combination List (EPRACNL). The list consists of 417 technical NNCs. The NNCs in the list are vital to sports science learners for academic texts comprehension especially research articles. They are also an essential part of sports science course designed to teach graduate students how to understand published research in this field.

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