Vagueness in Communication: A Corpus Driven Study of Academic Discourse
Keywords:communication, vague/vagueness, PNCE, discussive, non-discussive
The present research paper aims to analyze one of the most frequently used vague words, namely "thing," as employed by Pakistani students in their undergraduate assignments and essays. The data was collected from the Pakistan National Corpus of English (PNCE) and analyzed using the Antconc corpus software. The objective is to determine whether the word "thing" is utilized as a vague noun, for meta-discourse, or in any other capacity in order to understand how effectively Pakistani students communicate. This study yields several conclusions, with the primary one being that the word "thing" is consistently employed both in a discussive and non-discussive manner. It often serves as a placeholder for various objects, which are subsequently elucidated in preceding or subsequent statements by the students. The frequent use of this word also lends legitimacy to its usage by Pakistani students. However, it is important to note that the recurrent use of the word "thing" poses a risk of creating confusion in written work due to its repetitive nature.
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