This article provides an account of the process involved in creating a glossary of medical terms for undergraduate medical students. The present work forms part of a long-term EMP (English for Medical Purposes) project to develop pedagogic materials for students in their second and third years of study. The glossary, which is under development, will be an extension of a word list emerging from the interplay of materials design and corpus analysis. The units of materials are based on body systems, and have been informed by the input of medical specialists as well as corpus analytic methods.
We begin by describing the process of extraction of key terms from the classroom materials, before investigating the lexical characteristics of these items. Particular attention is paid to the morphology of words and the ways in which word parts and affixes combine to form complex medical terms. We then show how the glossary will be constructed for ease of use by students of medical English, and how our analysis of the terms offers a framework by which materials can be created for teachers to aid them in the challenging task of teaching EMP.