Patterns of Use of English Synonymous Medical Terms: the Case of Disease and Illness. A Corpus-Based Study

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It often happens that terms defined by dictionaries as synonyms havedifferent patterns of use. An example of this phenomenon is represented by theterminological pair disease/illness in medical discourse. The behaviour of thesecommonly used terms will be an object of discussion in this study.The work is divided into two main sections. The first part takes into accountthe information included in conventional dictionaries, both bilingual andmonolingual, generic and specialized, in order to see if the terms in question aredescribed as perfectly interchangeable or as having different uses depending onthe context. Some dictionaries highlight the use, both specific and generic,respectively of disease and illness, but limited information about frequency,collocational and contextual preferences is provided. The second part of the workis represented by two corpus-based studies. In the first corpus, made up of 30research article texts, the frequency of disease and illness, as well as collocatesand patterns of use, are investigated. In the second additional corpus, made up ofother 20 research articles texts, the aim of the analysis is to find out if anassociation exists between the use of disease and contexts where specificpathological conditions are dealt with, and between illness and contexts havingpathological conditions in general as a subject.The work intends to draw attention to the enormous resources that corpuslinguistics can offer to lexicographic research.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)19-40
Numero di pagine0
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2010


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