This article reviews the year-on-year evolution of an intensive medical English course at Hiroshima University, and investigates the developing interaction between word lists, course construction, and corpus analysis emerging from our research in this field. In the first part of the article, we describe the development of course content and materials over a period of three years, examining the materials used and detailing the ways in which corpus software has helped us to produce both corpora and word lists for students.
In the discussion section of the paper, we consider three key issues arising from the research to date. With regard to specific aims and objectives, we examine the relationship between word lists designed for specific medical courses and general medical word lists, as well as the relative merits of book-based corpora and article-based corpora. Addressing broader issues, we discuss the ways in which English for general purposes and English for specific purposes are connected, arguing that treating the relationship as one that lies on a continuum offers possibilities for developing a more comprehensive medical English curriculum.