The body of research into formulaic language, multiword meaning and functional units, has shed light on their role in academic discourse. Some studies have examined which units might be of greatest utility for teaching English for academic purposes (EAP), dealing with corpora of academic language. The reality of most EAP programs is a focus on preparing students for first year university courses, in which textbooks play the key role. The present study uses a corpus analysis method focusing on units called multiword constructions (MWC), and addresses three hitherto unexplored key issues for EAP teachers and materials developers: What MWC exist in first year textbooks used in business and engineering, the most popular EAP student majors at a large Canadian university; whether the first year textbook MWCs are present in the reading texts in popular EAP textbooks; whether the EAP textbooks contain pedagogical treatment of MWC. The results show that the MWC are weakly present in the EAP materials, and that they are not dealt with pedagogically. This knowledge has important implications for EAP practitioners and materials developers.
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