Insights into Academic Genres 3034312113, 9783034312110

This volume presents the latest research of an international group of scholars, engaged in the analysis of academic disc

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Table of contents :
Introduction • Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia
Theoretical Insights
Genre Change in the Digital Age: Questions about Dynamism, Affordances, Evolution • Carol Berkenkotter
Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres • Vijay K. Bhatia
Presenting Research Insights
Value Marking in an Academic Genre: When Authors Signal ‘Goodness’ • Davide S. Giannoni
‘Such a reaction would spread all over the cell like a forest fire’: A Corpus Study of Argument by Analogy in Scientific Discourse • Davide Mazzi
Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation: Research Articles in Two English-medium International Applied Economics Journals • Pilar Mur-Dueñas
Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law: Metadiscursive Strategies for Expressing Dissent within the Constraints of Collegiality • William Bromwich
‘The title of my paper is…’: Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations • Francisco Javier Fernández Polo
‘Why do we have to write?’: Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts and the Place of Writing • Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli
A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Introductory Chapters of Literature Ph.D. Theses • Masumi Ono
Reviewing and Popularising Research Insights
The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews • Anna Stermieri
The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia • Susan Kermas
Blurred Genres: Hybrid Functions in the Medical Field • Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo
Comments in Academic Blogs as a New Form of Scholarly Interaction • María José Luzón
Cross-cultural Differences in the Construal of Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses • Olga Dontcheva-Navratilova
Cross-cultural Differences in the Use of Discourse Markers by Czech and German Students of English in the Genre of Master’s Theses • Renata Povolná
Insights into Pedagogic Genres
Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data: Context and Cotext Factors in a Polytechnic Setting • Carmen Sancho-Guinda
K Case Briefs in American Law Schools: A Genre-based Analysis • Michela Giordano
Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes: Students’ and Lecturers’ Perceptions and Issues Raised • Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-Fun
Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization in Academic Settings • Patrizia Anesa / Daniela Iovino
Representation of Events and Event Participants in Academic Course Descriptions • Sara Gesuato
Notes on Contributors
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This volume presents the latest research of an international group of scholars engaged in the analysis of academic discourse from a genreoriented perspective. The area covered by this volume is a central one, as in the last few years important developments in research on academic discourse have not only concerned the more traditional genres, but, as well, generic innovations promoted by the new technologies, employed both in the presentation of research results and in their dissemination to a wider community by means of popularising and teaching activities. These innovations have not only favoured important changes in existing genres and the creation of new ones to meet emerging needs of the academic community, but have also promoted a serious discussion about the construct of genre itself. The various investigations gathered in this volume provide several examples of the complexity and flexibility of genres, which have shown to be subject to a continuous tension between stability and change as well as between convention and innovation.

Carol Berkenkotter is Professor of Rhetoric and Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her current research interests include the influence of digital technology on ‘emergent genres’ of the Internet, such as blogs, wikis, and Facebook.


Studies in Language and Communication

Insights into Academic Genres

Vijay K. Bhatia has recently retired as Professor from the City University of Hong Kong. His research interests include applied genre analysis; ESP and Professional Communication; crosscultural variation in professional discourses. Maurizio Gotti is Professor of English at the University of Bergamo. His main research areas are the features and origins of specialized discourse, English syntax and English lexicography.

Linguistic Insights

Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia & Maurizio Gotti (eds)

Peter Lang

ISBN 978-3-0343-1211-0

Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia, Maurizio Gotti (eds) • Insights into Academic Genres


li 160

Insights into Academic Genres

Linguistic Insights Studies in Language and Communication Edited by Maurizio Gotti, University of Bergamo Volume 160

ADVISORY BOARD Vijay Bhatia (Hong Kong) Christopher Candlin (Sydney) David Crystal (Bangor) Konrad Ehlich (Berlin / München) Jan Engberg (Aarhus) Norman Fairclough (Lancaster) John Flowerdew (Hong Kong) Ken Hyland (Hong Kong) Roger Lass (Cape Town) Matti Rissanen (Helsinki) Françoise Salager-Meyer (Mérida, Venezuela) Srikant Sarangi (Cardiff) Susan Šarcˇevi´c (Rijeka) Lawrence Solan (New York) Peter M. Tiersma (Los Angeles)

PETER LANG Bern Ý Berlin Ý Bruxelles Ý Frankfurt am Main Ý New York Ý Oxford Ý Wien

Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia & Maurizio Gotti (eds)

Insights into Academic Genres

PETER LANG Bern Ý Berlin Ý Bruxelles Ý Frankfurt am Main Ý New York Ý Oxford Ý Wien

Bibliographic information published by die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at ‹›. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data: A catalogue record for this book is available from The British Library, Great Britain Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Insights into academic genres / Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia & Maurizio Gotti (eds). p. cm. -- (Linguistic insights: studies in language and communication, ISSN 1424-8689 ; v. 160) „Contains selected papers originally presented at the conference on Genre Variation in English Academic Communication: Emerging Trends and Disciplinary Insights, held in Bergamo [Italy] on 23-25 June, 2011.“ Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-3-0343-1211-0 1. English language–Discourse analysis–Congresses. 2. Scholars–Language-Congresses. 3. Academic writing–Congresses. I. Berkenkotter, Carol. II. Bhatia, V. K. (Vijay Kumar), III. Gotti, Maurizio. PE1422.I58 2012 401‘.41--dc23 2012019432

ISBN 978-3-0351-0410-3 (eBook) ISSN 1424-8689 ISBN (pb.) 978-3-0343-1211-0 ISBN (eBook) 978-3-0351-0410-3 © Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern 2012 Hochfeldstrasse 32, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland [email protected],, All rights reserved. All parts of this publication are protected by copyright. Any utilisation outside the strict limits of the copyright law, without the permission of the publisher, is forbidden and liable to prosecution. This applies in particular to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing in electronic retrieval systems. Printed in Switzerland


MAURIZIO GOTTI / CAROL BERKENKOTTER / VIJAY K. BHATIA Introduction .......................................................................................... 9

Theoretical Insights CAROL BERKENKOTTER Genre Change in the Digital Age: Questions about Dynamism, Affordances, Evolution ........................ 31 VIJAY K. BHATIA Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres ................................................ 47

Presenting Research Insights DAVIDE S. GIANNONI Value Marking in an Academic Genre: When Authors Signal ‘Goodness’ ...................................................... 69 DAVIDE MAZZI ‘Such a reaction would spread all over the cell like a forest fire’: A Corpus Study of Argument by Analogy in Scientific Discourse .... 89 PILAR MUR-DUEÑAS Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation: Research Articles in Two English-medium International Applied Economics Journals ... 107

WILLIAM BROMWICH Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law: Metadiscursive Strategies for Expressing Dissent within the Constraints of Collegiality ............................................... 127 FRANCISCO JAVIER FERNÁNDEZ POLO ‘The title of my paper is…’: Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations .......................... 149 SUE STARFIELD / BRIAN PALTRIDGE / LOUISE RAVELLI ‘Why do we have to write?’: Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts and the Place of Writing ............ 169 MASUMI ONO A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Introductory Chapters of Literature Ph.D. Theses ................................................................ 191

Reviewing and Popularising Research Insights ANNA STERMIERI The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews ......................... 217 SUSAN KERMAS The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia ............... 237 ISABEL HERRANDO-RODRIGO Blurred Genres: Hybrid Functions in the Medical Field .................. 257 MARÍA JOSÉ LUZÓN Comments in Academic Blogs as a New Form of Scholarly Interaction .................................................................... 281

OLGA DONTCHEVA-NAVRATILOVA Cross-cultural Differences in the Construal of Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses ........................ 301 RENATA POVOLNÁ Cross-cultural Differences in the Use of Discourse Markers by Czech and German Students of English in the Genre of Master’s Theses ............................................................................ 329

Insights into Pedagogic Genres CARMEN SANCHO-GUINDA Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data: Context and Cotext Factors in a Polytechnic Setting ..................................... 355 MICHELA GIORDANO K Case Briefs in American Law Schools: A Genre-based Analysis .. 377 CHRISTOPH A. HAFNER / LINDSAY MILLER / CONNIE NG KWAI-FUN Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes: Students’ and Lecturers’ Perceptions and Issues Raised .................. 397 PATRIZIA ANESA / DANIELA IOVINO Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization in Academic Settings ........................................................................ 419 SARA GESUATO Representation of Events and Event Participants in Academic Course Descriptions .................................................... 439

Notes on Contributors ....................................................................... 461



This volume contains selected papers originally presented at the conference on Genre Variation in English Academic Communication: Emerging Trends and Disciplinary Insights held in Bergamo on 23-25 June 2011. The aim of the conference was to bring together the latest research of scholars engaged in the analysis of academic discourse from a genre-oriented perspective. The area covered by this volume is a central one for many scholars working in the field of academic discourse, who have demonstrated that genres are highly structured events, motivated by particular communicative purposes and performed by members of specific discourse communities (Swales 1990, 2004; Bhatia 1993, 2004; Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995). Since its inception, the construct of genre analysis has acquired a privileged status in much of the ongoing research in languages for specific purposes. Its importance is shown by the continued production of numerous important monographs and studies, as the bibliographical references in the chapters of this volume attest. Research on this topic has also become wider and richer with the contribution of different analytical approaches and recent methodological innovations which have enhanced the investigation of both oral and written academic genres.

1. Insights into Academic Genres Academic communication greatly relies on compliance with textual norms governing the construction of its different genres. There is a close link between each type of specialised text and its organisation, which in turn implies correlations between the conceptual, rhetorical


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

and linguistic features that characterise the text itself. Genre not only provides a conventional framework but also affects textual features and their conceptual and rhetorical development. With time, several text types have arisen – some derived from genres used in the general language, others crafted specifically to meet the needs of specialists. The academic community, as a social entity, has established its own genres and textual rules of interaction for an effective transmission of information among its members and as an effective way of characterising this community as a whole (Martin/Rose 2008). Within this broad academic community, other small communities of practice – the socalled ‘academic tribes’ (Becher 1989) – have defined specific rules of social interaction and interactional procedures strictly linked with their own particular research practices. Moreover, they have codified the varying discourse processes and dialogic conventions relating to the different written/spoken generic formulations typical of the various contexts of their practice (e.g. abstracts, academic lectures, conference presentations, PhD dissertation defences, research articles, seminars, etc.). Discourse analysts have drawn attention to the concept of genre to gain a better understanding not only of the linguistic characteristics of texts, but also of their macrostructure, which appears to be organised according to genre expectations and conventions rooted in the socio-cultural context. A typical example of generic structure analysis is the research article, which has been shown to follow three main fixed rhetorical macro- and micro-realization models. The first one, typically adopted by theoretical (or deductive) articles (more commonly found in the humanities, Roberts/Good 1993) consists of an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The second pattern, mainly used in experimental (or inductive) articles (typical of the ‘hard’ sciences), usually adopts the IMRD (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) structure (Sollaci/Pereira 2004). The third pattern is typical of the problem-solution articles and consists of an introductory background, followed by the statement of purpose, the formulation of the solution provided by the authors and an evaluation of the solution (Hoey 2001). This third pattern is more common in applied sub-disciplines such as architecture and econometrics. Genres vary according to several factors, the main ones being the communicative purposes they aim to fulfil, the settings or contexts



in which they are employed, the communicative events or activities they are associated with, the professional relationships between the people taking part in such activities or events, and the background knowledge of each participant. Genre analysis has focused on the concept of genre as social action (Miller 1984); according to this perspective, rhetorical conventions relate to the communicative purpose of both the overall text and its different sections. Indeed, the communicative rationale “shapes the schematic structure of the discourse and influences and constrains choice of content and style” (Swales 1990: 58). For example, research articles are viewed as persuasive artefacts, generally following a logico-argumentative model and employing all the suitable linguistic devices constituting the ‘technical grammar’ of English (Halliday/ Martin 1993) to perform the different rhetorical functions that constitute the various parts (or ‘moves’) of the text. Generic knowledge is acquired within specialised communities through “a set of differentiated, sequenceable goal-directed activities drawing upon a range of cognitive and communicative procedures relatable to the acquisition of pre-genre and genre skills appropriate to a foreseen or emerging sociorhetorical situation” (Swales 1990: 76). Such skills constitute a ‘genre literacy’ (Cope/Kalantzis 1993; Neeley 2005) which distinguishes the more expert, senior members of a community from junior members and newcomers, in their role of recipients as well as producers of specialised discourse. Through training and engagement, specialists learn to implement the conventions associated with different types of text (Dressen-Hammouda 2008), and the conventional use of genres produces a ‘horizon of expectation’ (Todorov 1990) among their audience. Genre analysis has become firmly established as one of the most popular approaches to the study of academic and professional discourse. In its initial phase, it was used especially for the description of variations in texts geared to language learning and teaching programmes (Swales 1990; Bhatia 1991, 1993). This pedagogic interest was also due to the influence of research in the area of composition studies in American universities, which had developed an approach which is commonly referred to as ‘New Rhetoric’ (Freedman/Medway 1994). As such, the main emphasis was on the analysis of linguistic


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

form, although the basis of genre theory has always been the relationship between text and context, viewed both as what surrounds a text and as what makes a particular genre possible in specific contexts. In recent years, however, genre theory has taken a closer interest in context understood in its broader sense, paying particular attention to interactions depending not only on generic form and content, but more importantly on how genres are constructed, interpreted and exploited for the achievement of specific goals in specialised contexts. These relatively new concerns have driven genre theory in the direction of a more comprehensive, powerful multidimensional framework capable of handling not only texts, but also contexts in a more meaningful manner (Smart 1998; Swales 1998, 2004; Bhatia 2004). In this sense, the emphasis has almost been reversed, with the context generally attracting more attention in the description of specialised genres. Moreover, recent years have seen a growth in linguistic research of a sociological or anthropological nature, seeking to reconstruct the interactional dimension of the main genres employed by disciplinary communities, institutional bodies and the professions (Bhatia 2008). The availability of a diverse range of methodological tools for specialised genre analysis – some of which include ethnographic, corpus-based, socio-cognitive, and socio-critical discourse analytical approaches – has expanded the range of genres targeted by analysts. Such work comprises interesting studies of ‘mixed’, ‘embedded’ or ‘hybrid’ genres across generic boundaries and disciplinary domains (Fairclough 1993; Bhatia 2004). Genre theory has also encouraged researchers to explore some of the lesser known ‘occluded’ genres of academia – such as application forms, calls for papers, citation indexes, grant proposals, Internet discussion lists, journal style guides, recommendation letters (Swales 1990; Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995, Hyon 2008, Hyland 2011) – and to identify discrepancies between global textual conventions and their actual realisations, through new concepts such as genre mixing, repurposing and hybridisation to account for generic dynamism. Moreover, research has shown how single genres often rely on other related genres, thus forming systems of genres (Bazerman 1994, Paltridge 2000).



Recent technological developments have promoted the emergence of new genres in a range of different contexts, including the academy. These new genres show a great reliance on the use of visual and hypertextual modes of representation, which – combined with their greater interactive features – thus offer better possibilities for interaction and ‘communicational action’ (Kress 2003). The new technologies have made it easier to create multimodal texts that make use not only of printed texts, but also of other semiotic resources such as images, audio and video in order to make meaning. Moreover, the growth of the Internet has facilitated the dissemination and appropriation of digital texts, thus granting media consumers a more active role. These developments explain the increasing interest in phenomena that lie beyond single genres, including texts realised through a variety of non-traditional semiotic modes, visual presentations and the Internet (Lemke 2002, Bateman 2008). However, the inclusion of nonlinguistic elements as essential to the identification of a specific genre has placed analysis under pressure. Genres have been found sometimes so open and boundaries so flexible that it has been difficult to establish what should fall under a specific genre and what not. Particularly when approaches to genre analysis are explicitly ‘transmedial’ or ‘intermedial’, it is often unclear to specify which properties can be considered genre-related and which not. However, despite these problematic conceptual issues and debated methodological questions, genre analysis remains remarkably productive in terms of new findings and applications.

2. Contents of the volume Many of the issues outlined above are investigated in the chapters of this volume. To facilitate a comparison of the various perspectives taken by their authors, such contributions have been grouped into four sections, each of which provides interesting insights into different academic genres.


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

2.1. Theoretical insights The analytical sections are preceded by a more theoretical one, in which chapters discuss some of the most relevant changes and recent innovations in various fields of research into academic genres. CAROL BERKENKOTTER’s chapter is concerned with questions of genre variation as they apply to the blog, as a new form of scholarly interaction and a newcomer to the genre systems of academic communication. In particular, she points out that several disagreements and different underlying assumptions about generic variation have much to do with the theorist’s underlying conceptual framework and disciplinary training. She rightly asserts that if a theorist begins with the concept of genre as a socio-rhetorical form, the conventions of which undergo rapid change over time, she is, at the assumption level, conceiving of the genre as both a form of social action and a technological artifact, external to the knowledge stores of the users. If, on the other hand, the analyst conceives genre as a recognition category, i.e., as the scaffold of individual orientation and collective social action, then, for analytical purposes, it becomes necessary not to conflate the technological artifact (i.e., the software) with the recognizable texts that are the instantiations of genres. She then propose four criteria for evaluating the generic status of online blog-posts: a) Affordances, b) Uptake, c) Dynamism, d) Stance, and applies the latter to the analysis of both an academic and a student blog. She concludes her chapter by raising important questions for a fuller understanding of the processes through which Internet ‘texts’, such as blogs and wikis have undergone change and points out the need for future research, with analysts using an expanded repertoire of methods, as research into these new genres and the processes through which they are evolving is still at a very early stage. VIJAY K. BHATIA investigates the way different academic genres are interdiscursively held in some kind of creative tension. In particular, by focusing on the discursive construction of research journal articles based on doctoral theses, he shows that understanding of interdiscursivity can explain the communicative processes which are specific to these two different genres. Bhatia highlights the need for a socio-pragmatic investigation, which is particularly helpful in explaining how these two research genres (doctoral theses and research



journal articles) are embedded in typical academic practices with their own use of semiotic resources in order to cope with the disciplinary constraints typical of the discourse community participants and of their specific goals. Indeed Bhatia’s investigation shows that a mere analysis of the rhetorical organisation of the two genres may lead to the wrong impression that they are structurally similar, especially in terms of their use of intertextual (text-internal) resources, as both of them have an almost identical set of moves and steps. Bhatia instead suggests a critical approach to genre analysis, also focusing on textexternal factors and the interdiscursivity involved in the writing process. This approach will help the analyst get a better understanding of the challenges facing novice writers of research articles for submission to international journals.

2.2. Presenting research insights The second section deals with those academic genres that are principally devoted to the presentation of research results. The most typical of these genres are the research article, the conference presentation and the PhD dissertation. These three main genres are the object of analysis of the chapters in this section. In the first of these, DAVIDE GIANNONI analyses explicit value-marking lexis in a corpus of 100 research articles, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative tools. His aim is to illustrate how authors across the academic spectrum express the value of Goodness to muster consensus on key aspects of their epistemological practices. The results of the analysis show that Goodness is most evident in the Social Sciences, as these disciplines are particularly ‘value-laden’, compared to other domains. DAVIDE MAZZI’s chapter examines the occurrence of argument by analogy within a corpus of medico-scientific research articles. The data show that argument by analogy mainly clusters in Results and Discussion sections, which is not surprising, as these two sections are those where argumentation becomes most evident, with writers trying to present their data in a convincing way. By contrast, a more limited presence of argument by analogy was noted in the first two sections of research articles, i.e. Introductions and Methodology. The findings


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

highlight the centrality of argument by analogy in the reasoning of professional medico-scientific writers as well as in their discursive realisations. In particular, this argumentative technique is frequently used as a means to reinforce the writer’s argument by overcoming the potentially exceeding fragmentation of specific findings discussed in Results sections, and by making sure that proper links are established between the data presented. Moreover, analogy has proved to be a useful tool allowing the writer to lay strong emphasis on the value of the study in comparison with relevant research. PILAR MUR-DUEÑAS explores the intrageneric and intradisciplinary variation of research articles in two different sites of publication – a foundational English-medium international journal and its sister journal – in terms of their macro- and microstructure. This analysis of variation within the same genre is meant to unveil the scholars’ writing professional discursive practices when they have to adjust their writing conventions to different publication sites. The analysis shows that two main aspects – their length and the reviewing process they undergo – influence the type of information included in each of the four sections around which the research articles in both publications are organised. The research articles in the two journals fit into the IMRD structure, and the Methods and Results constitute the core and longest part of the research report. However, the other steps are subject to variation and tend not to be included to the same extent in the shorter research accounts published in the off-shoot journal. WILLIAM BROMWICH’s study examines the conventions of generic integrity as identified in a corpus of jurisprudence and philosophy of law, and considers in particular the use of metadiscursive devices, including both evaluative lexis and stance markers, deployed by expert scholars critiquing the work of colleagues. The analysis reveals that criticism and praise are often combined within the same rhetorical move. Moreover, criticism is often accompanied by hedging devices and self-deprecation moves, enabling the author to express a criticism in a tactful way. Hedging devices are also employed when a possible misunderstanding is imputed to other members of the discourse community. In case of harsh criticism, impersonal forms are frequently adopted, as they enable the author to sidestep any potential confrontation or involvement in the ensuing controversy. To express



implied dissent, interrogative forms are also used, enabling the author to raise doubts without taking too critical a stance in relation to an argument put forward by another author. All these writer-oriented strategies contribute to the personal credibility of the authors, who, while seeking to make a critical contribution to their specialised field, are careful not to overstep the confines of collegiality in order to avoid undermining the personal relations that are essential to the production and refinement of domain-specific knowledge. FRANCISCO JAVIER FERNÁNDEZ POLO’s chapter deals with the specific move in a conference presentation which corresponds to the identification of the topic of the presentation. This move tends to occur rather early in the introduction and to be highly redundant, since the topic – besides appearing in the conference programme – has already been announced by the panel chairperson. Fernández Polo argues that the repetition of the topic at the beginning of the presentation plays a number of important roles: besides marking the boundary with the previous talk and highlighting the importance of the topic, it allows speakers to engage their audiences’ attention, to clarify the title from a complementary perspective, and to manage their own stress. Relying on a corpus of conference paper introductions compiled for this study, the author analyses the intertextual relationship between the presenter’s topic announcement and the title slide, and characterises the typical internal structure and language features of this rhetorical element. The analysis presented in this chapter highlights the highly intertextual aspect of this move, which may suggest the impression of a high degree of repetitiveness. However, the visual presentation of the title and the speaker’s actual topic announcement to the audience are not to be considered redundant but complementary, as the written title conveys the voice of the expert whereas the spoken presentation talks to the colleague. The next chapter, by SUE STARFIELD, BRIAN PALTRIDGE and LOUISE RAVELLI, explores the written components of what have become known as practice-based doctorates. Indeed, it has sometimes been suggested that it should be possible for the creative work itself to embody the characteristics of originality and significant contribution without reference to a written text. However, the data examined in this chapter point to a consensus over the need for a written component,


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

although the presence of abundant visual and other non-verbal elements gives rise to dynamic tensions that have relevant effects on both genre change and stability. Overall, despite the difficulty of writing, supervisors see value in the written component, which is considered to provide some legitimation for the creative work reported in the thesis. The survey and interview data also suggest a degree of diversity from institution to institution and a fluidity of approaches to the relationship between written and creative components so as to adjust this relationship in order to suit individual students’ needs. This exploration of the relationship between creative and written components in the practicebased thesis in the visual and performing arts thus represents an excellent opportunity to imagine the possible evolution of doctoral theses. Also the following chapter investigates the academic genre of the doctoral thesis/dissertation. MASUMI ONO adopts both a crosscultural and an intra-cultural approach to explore generic structures in the introductory chapters of PhD theses in the field of literature. Comparing productions in Japanese and English, she finds cross-cultural differences in the frequency of steps in each thesis: the English thesis introductory chapters contain significantly more steps than the Japanese ones. In addition, she finds that the Japanese and the English groups do not necessarily share obligatory steps in the introductory chapters. Moreover, the Japanese and the English groups show crosscultural differences in the use of each step over the total number of steps identified in a thesis. This finding implies the existence of disciplinary variations in rhetorical features in this genre. The analysis of move-specific and move-independent steps shows their varying degree of ‘independency’ as steps seem to vary in the degree to which each step is related to each move. Although this study focuses on a single discipline, namely literature, its results indicate that the ‘Presenting fictional work and/or its author’ move seems to be discipline-specific.

2.3. Reviewing and popularising research insights The third section is devoted to those genres which are used by researchers not so much to present their own innovative findings but which instead review them in scholarly discussions or disseminate



them among peer colleagues in the academic community. This section also investigates those genres which make use of specialised information for popularising aims or for internal evaluative purposes, such as in the case of Master’s theses. ANNA STERMIERI’s chapter investigates the academic theatre review (ATR) in order to provide an outline of its prototypical move structure and identify aspects of diachronic variation that may have occurred to the genre over ten years, between 1991 and 2001. Stermieri’s analysis shows that the ATR has a consistent generic pattern of rhetorical organization, which not only is perceived as existing by the professionals producing the genre, but which has been retrieved with a certain degree of regularity in the texts taken into consideration. This pattern consists of four main moves: the Introductory Move, the Contextualising Move, the Narrative Move and the Evaluative Move. The analysis of the moves reveals an interesting feature characterizing the Narrative Move, that is to say the double deixis of time and space that is used by the critic in describing the events taking place on stage. This dichotomy leads Stermieri to hypothesise that ATRs are characterised by a double focus, which reflects the complexity of the production presentations on which they are based. The second part of the analysis, focusing on elements of diachronic variation, highlights a shift of the stance of the critic to a more involved position, which is manifested by an increase in the use of evaluative expressions. SUSAN KERMAS investigates the genre of the science news report, a useful source of information for the researcher and student alike as well indeed for the lay reader. This genre has proved to be a very challenging text type, as in some cases it is extremely technical with features of specialised texts addressed to a purely scientific community, while in others it is a popularized informative text with occasional pedagogic features. This chapter examines 47 reports from the field of botany between 2006 and 2011 along with the relative academic abstracts of 26 of these reports. The analysis shows a difference between academic abstracts and science news reports in the use of Latin names in the former versus the use of the common names in the latter. Moreover, lexical choices are made according to the topic and readership: in reports, technical language is mostly adjusted to the lay readership. The few technical words that occur have definitions


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

very similar to those encountered in pedagogic text books and processes are occasionally described metaphorically. What distinguishes the science news reports from everyday journalism is the impersonal, neutral format. The features identified lead Kermas to conclude that the science news report is fundamentally academic and adapts its style according to the hypothetical recipient’s needs. The aim of ISABEL HERRANDO-RODRIGO’s chapter is to describe the main linguistic features of medical electronic popularisations (Med-E-Pops) and to compare them to those of the medical research articles (Med-RAs) from which they are derived. Her analysis shows that the former are not simple reformulations of the latter. Instead, the key difference between these two genres is that they provide contrasting views of medicine as a science: popularisations focus on the objects of study, while articles on the disciplinary procedures by which they are studied. Moreover, there are differences in language choices which are meant to convey the different meanings of both genres. However, contrary to previous research, this chapter shows that informality is no longer a characteristic of medical popularisations published on the net, as these texts aim to have the same neutral and informative purpose as Med-RAs in order to create an atmosphere of reliability, objectivity and professionalism. Therefore the resulting style of Med-E-Pops is hybrid, as they try to bridge the RA academic formality to the comprehension demanded by the Med-E-Pop readership. Although the language used seeks neutrality and impersonality in order to raise credibility, the passive voice so frequently used in peer reviewed scientific Med-RAs is transformed into active voice. Moreover, the subjects of these active constructions are always human and personal, and generally correspond to the Med-RA researchers themselves. Moreover, Med-E-Pops make great use of reported speech, due to the fact that Med-E-Pop writers commonly quote and cite the RA researchers in their popularising texts. In this way they give voice to researchers to mitigate the potential impact of the research itself and avoid any kind of personal linkage to it. The object of analysis of the next chapter is the weblog, a genre that is becoming increasingly popular among academics as a tool for personal publishing and discussion. Its wide use suggests that academic weblogs are meeting specific communicative needs and filling a



gap in the system of genres of scholarly communication. The aim of MARÍA JOSÉ LUZÓN’s research is to study how the interpersonal strategies in blog comments compare to those used in other academic and computer-mediated communication (CMC) genres. Academic blogs are commonly employed to share information, disseminate the bloggers’ research, test ideas with a broad audience, thus establishing and reinforcing links within a virtual community. This chapter particularly investigates the discursive features of comments in academic blogs and shows that these comments are a hybrid form of academic communication which combines features from a variety of oral and written academic genres and from other CMC genres, adapting them for new social practices. The main discursive strategies adopted by academics in blogs are meant to build and sustain affective and solidarity relations in the community but also strategies intended to construe confrontation and conflict. The adoption of the latter is favoured by the written technology-afforded features of weblogs, which allow for greater potential anonymity. The next two chapters focus on the Master’s thesis, which has only recently been subjected to deep research. OLGA DONTCHEVANAVRATILOVA’s chapter examines cross-cultural variation in the construal of authorial voice in relation to the generic structure of theses written by Czech and German students of English. The main purpose of the investigation is to analyse how novice non-native speakers use pronominal self-reference items and impersonal it-constructions to present findings and negotiate claims. The analysis demonstrates that while clearly showing awareness of Anglo-American academic discourse conventions and the specificity of the Master’s thesis as a genre, the choices of novice writers reflect the insufficient development of their rhetorical skills, as well as interference from L1 academic literacy and advice provided by style manuals on academic writing, supervisors and academic writing courses. Czech and German students, however, do not seem to adopt the same strategies in the construal of authorial voice in their argumentation, as divergences have been observed as regards the frequency and degree of author visibility, the level of authority assumed by the writers and the textual points at which they make themselves visible.


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RENATA POVOLNÁ’s study focuses on how semantic relations of cause and contrast are expressed in the genre of Master’s theses written by students of English from two different non-native discourse communities: the Czech Republic and Germany. Her aim is to find out whether there is any cross-cultural variation in their use of causal and contrastive discourse markers. Povolná’s analysis shows that there is some cross-cultural variation in the ways in which the Czech and German students express causal and contrastive relations, particularly in the extent to which they apply the hypotactic and paratactic discourse markers at their disposal. Moreover, students display, on the one hand, a redundant use of a rather limited repertoire of certain markers, and, on the other, the misuse of some other markers. This behaviour is mainly attributable to individual students’ knowledge and preferences in writing habits and to overt instructions provided by teachers of academic writing as well as by field-specific advice given by thesis supervisors.

2.4. Insights into pedagogic genres The chapters in this section investigate those genres which are used in the teaching of specialised disciplines at a university level. Some of them also discuss the role played by the new technologies for didactic purposes and the influence exerted by them on the more traditional teaching activities. Others instead investigate forms of institutional discourse through which academia presents itself to the public and offers them its services, namely its courses. CARMEN SANCHO-GUINDA examines accounts of visual data, which constitute a borderline genre virtually unresearched in applied linguistics. Commentaries of visuals, instead, have proved to be a very interesting field of research because of their hybridity, their hypertextual nature and their argumentative value. In her discourse-based and corpus-informed study, Sancho-Guinda examines more than 400 commentaries written by aeronautical engineering students on five different kinds of graphs, paying particular attention to a few contextual and cotextual factors which shape the accounts and generate variation in such discourse. Her analysis shows that visual data reports



display considerable variation as to the expression of positioning (i.e. writers’ stance and reader-oriented engagement strategies) and are influenced by factors such as the predominant metadiscursive function determined by the type of graphic, the topic or object of representation, and the expectations about the community of practice to which the commentary is addressed. Her findings reveal a tendency to favour engagement strategies at the expense of the disclosure of stance, influenced by the type of graph and the content represented. In addition, the generalised redundancy and the difficulties of some students to match certain visuals with their purpose suggest the convenience of explicit instruction. MICHELA GIORDANO’s chapter analyses a corpus of contract case briefs, an out-of-class genre which law students are required to master to gain background knowledge of a particular branch of law. Starting from the four-move structure of legal cases described by Bhatia (1993), this chapter highlights how the communicative purpose and the standard format of a classroom brief both account for the employment of a variable amount of information, distributed over a series of detailed sub-moves such as facts, procedural posture, issue, holding, and rationale. In addition, abbreviations and symbols are examined in order to show how these represent rhetorical strategies the student adopts as a way of analysing a particular case opinion in a formulaic way, recording and summarizing the outcomes for further research and classroom discussion. This study shows that students’ case briefs can be considered an independent genre, inasmuch as they exploit specific characteristics and rhetorical features typical both of academic practice in American Law Schools and professional legal practice. Although the classroom context and the rhetorical functions of students’ case briefs are different from the specialised rhetoric of professional writing, due to their move structure and the rhetorical devices adopted, case briefs can certainly favour apprenticeship to the legal profession. The recent technological changes have promoted a revision of the concept of literacy, with its expansion to include ‘new literacies’ enabling students to understand new forms of representation and social interaction in digital media. Within this context, CHRISTOPH A. HAFNER, LINDSAY MILLER and CONNIE NG KWAI-FUN examine the possibility of combining these new forms of representation and


Maurizio Gotti / Carol Berkenkotter / Vijay K. Bhatia

interaction with a more traditional focus on students’ development of discipline specific English for academic purposes. Taking into consideration, in particular, an English course for students of science, they focus their attention on the digital video scientific documentaries that the students are expected to create. This pedagogic tool is shown to be an example of a hybrid genre in digital media, as it combines digital literacy practices with more conventional scientific literacy practices. The use of this tool is shown to broaden the traditional focus of the English for academic purposes course on academic genres, as in creating and publically sharing their digital documentaries, students experiment with innovative, multimodal forms of representation and consider how to attract the attention of even a non-specialist audience on the Internet. PATRIZIA ANESA and DANIELA IOVINO investigate how and to what extent Information and Communication Technology tools may enhance the hybridization of academic genres. In particular, they take into consideration the way in which the use of interactive whiteboards may contribute to combining and merging features that usually typify different genres, such as lectures, seminars, workshops and presentations. By analyzing various moments of interaction in university lectures, they highlight specific features that may be associated with different genres. Indeed, from a multimodal perspective, even though generally considered a predominantly spoken genre, lectures combine spoken, written and visual features. From an interactional point of view, the lectures analysed here display considerably different levels of interaction between lecturer and students as well as great stylistic variation. Moreover, the investigation presented in this chapter shows how the use of certain tools and technologies may be an enhancer of hybridization as the versatility of the tool allows the integration of elements that generally characterize different events within the same context. The aim of SARA GESUATO’s chapter is to investigate the lexico-grammatical representation of the events and the participants that are central to academic course descriptions in order to assess their visibility and to determine whether the assertions made about these events and participants qualify the texts as informational or regulatory or both. Gesuato’s analysis shows that teachers and students seldom



appear in the texts as direct interlocutors, although they are the communication participants. Most of the time, they are referred to as third parties. On the other hand, the courses are foregrounded as prominent textual entities as if they were in charge of educational goals. The prevalent use of the simple present tense and the will future in the texts is meant to give the impression that courses are well-organized and thought-out, as the future events being referred to are announced with unmitigated certainty. Moreover, this verbal usage increases the authoritativeness of the texts as it represents events as definite arrangements not susceptible to change. Impositions are not made explicit by the adoption of deontic modality, and requirements are mentioned as facts but not imposed as commands. This way, the academic course providers manifest concern for the addressees, while remaining in charge of the discourse.

3. Concluding remarks The various investigations gathered in this volume provide several examples of the complexity and flexibility of genres, which have shown to be subject to a continuous tension between stability and change as well as between convention and innovation (Schryer 1993). Indeed, they have proved to be a very versatile tool that can easily be adapted to new communicative situations and to the specific needs of the participants involved. In particular, the field of academic genres has witnessed important developments, which have not only concerned the more traditional genres such as those of the research article and the conference presentation, but also relevant innovations particularly promoted by the use of the new technologies employed both in the presentation of research results and in their discussion among the academic community, as well as their dissemination to a wider community by means of popularising and teaching activities. These innovations have not only favoured important changes in existing genres and the creation of new


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ones to meet emerging needs of the academic community but they have also promoted a serious discussion about the construct of genre itself. The chapters of this volume have identified and explored issues which certainly deserve particular attention. Some answers to the questions aroused by the analyses presented here are offered by the authors, while others await further investigation. It is hoped therefore that the volume will contribute to debate and reflection on such a fundamental linguistic construct.

References Bateman, John A. 2008. Multimodality and Genre: A Foundation for the Systematic Analysis of Multimodal Documents. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Bazerman, Charles 1994. Systems of Genres and the Enactment of Social Intentions. In Freedman/Medway (eds), 79-101. Becher Tony 1989. Academic Tribes and Territories: Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Berkenkotter, Carol / Huckin Thomas 1995. Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication – Cognition/Culture/Power. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1991. A Genre-based Approach to ESP Materials. World Englishes 10/2, 153-166. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2004. Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based View. London: Continuum. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2008. Genre Analysis, ESP and Professional Practice. English for Specific Purposes 27, 161-174. Cope, Bill / Kalantzis, Mary 1993. The Powers of Literacy. A Genre Approach to Teaching Writing. London: The Falmer Press.



Dressen-Hammouda, Dacia 2008. From Novice to Disciplinary Expert: Disciplinary Identity and Genre Mastery. English for Specific Purposes 27, 233-252. Fairclough, Norman 1993. Critical Discourse Analysis and the Marketization of Public Discourse: The Universities. Discourse and Society 4/2, 133-168. Freedman, Aviva / Medway, Peter (eds) 1994. Genre and the New Rhetoric. London: Taylor and Francis. Halliday, Michael A.K. / Martin, Jim R. 1993. Writing Science. London: The Falmer Press. Hoey, Michael 2001. Textual Interaction: An Introduction to Written Discourse Analysis. London: Routledge. Hyland, Ken 2011. Projecting an Academic Identity in some Reflective Genres. Ibérica 21, 9-30. Hyon, Sunny 2008. Convention and Inventiveness in an Occluded Academic Genre: A Case Study of Retention-Promotion-Tenure Reports. English for Specific Purposes 27, 175-192. Kress, Gunther 2003. Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge. Lemke, Jay 2002. Multimedia Genres for Science Education and Scientific Literacy. In Schleppegrell, Mary / Colombi, Cecilia (eds) Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Languages. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 21-44. Martin, James R. / Rose, David 2008. Genre Relations: Mapping Culture. London: Equinox. Miller, Carolyn R. 1984. Genre as Social Action. Quarterly Journal of Speech 70, 151-167. Neeley, Stacia 2005. Academic Literacy. New York: Pearson Education. Paltridge, Brian 2000. Systems of Genres and the EAP Classroom. TESOL Matters 10/1, 12. Roberts, Richard H. / Good, James M.M. (eds) 1993. The Recovery of Rhetoric: Persuasive Discourse and Disciplinarity in the Human Sciences. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. Schryer, Catherine 1993. Records as Genre. Written Communication 10, 200-234. Smart, Graham 1998. Mapping Conceptual Worlds: Using Interpretive Ethnography to Explore Knowledge-making in a Professional


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Community. The Journal of Business Communication 35/1, 111-127. Sollaci, Luciana B. / Pereira, Mauricio G. 2004. The Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRAD) Structure: A Fiftyyear Survey. Journal of the Medical Library Association 92/3, 364-371. Swales, John 1990. Genre Analysis. English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John 1998. Other Floors, Other Voices. A Textography of a Small University Building. Mahwah, NJ: Earlbaum. Swales, John 2004. Research Genres: Exploration and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Todorov, Tzvetan 1990. Genres in Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Presenting Research Insights


Genre Change in the Digital Age: Questions about Dynamism, Affordances, Evolution

1. Introduction Questions about how and why genres change have been around for some time in applied linguistics and writing studies (e.g., Hyland 2002; Bhatia 2004; Devitt 2004; Bawarshi/Reiff 2010); however, the advent of new media has invested such questions with new urgency. For example, are Internet blogs, chats, Facebook and Wikipedia new discursive phenomena, or are they recent incarnations of earlier genres in new medial attire? This question and others catalyze the debate among genre theorists and researchers – as do questions about how the affordances of Internet software facilitate copying, pasting, and hyperlinking, all techniques for endowing the digital ‘text’ with its new fluidity (Gitrow/Stein 2009), fluidity that turns conventional notions of text/context relationships on their head. In this chapter, I will be concerned with questions of genre variation as they apply to the blog (and the practice of blogging), as “a new form of scholarly interaction” (see Luzón, this volume), and a newcomer to the genre systems (Bazerman, 1994) of academic communication.

2. Genre change in the digital age Nowhere does our understanding of genre variation, i.e., the processes though which genres change, become more of a challenge than in the context of digital communication. Much has been written on Internet


Carol Berkenkotter

genres (see, for example, Crystal 2006, 2011; the essays in Giltrow/ Stein 2009; Russell/Fisher 2009; Myers 2010). Indeed, the issue of how Internet genres come into being and how they change, given the selection pressures and affordances of digital media is so large and so complex, that in this chapter I can do no more than point to some provocative questions raised by recent research (Miller/Shepherd 2004, 2009; Herring et al. 2005, 2006; Segal 2009; Myers 2010). x How is a genre’s stability or dynamism altered by Internet technology? If existing genres such as blogs quickly differentiate into species (i.e., ‘speciation’), in view of such rapid evolution (Miller/Shepherd 2009), how relevant are such concepts as ‘stability’ and ‘dynamism’? x Do some researchers mistakenly conflate genre differentiation with the software development, i.e., the ‘affordances’ of the medium through which such differentiation is produced? x Is the term ‘genre’ appropriate to apply to the various forms of Internet discourse, such as e-mail, blogs, chats, and tweets? Crystal notes: “They are often described as genres, but that [usage] suggests a homogeneity, which has not yet been established”, and he urges linguists to “demonstrate linguistic coherence, not assume it” (2011: 9-10). He makes the further point that systematic studies of the varieties of digital communication are still at a very early stage. Questions arise concerning the proliferation of these protean forms when researchers study their rapid changes over time; there appears to be a tendency among some analysts to conflate the concept of rhetorical form with the affordances of the medium in which that form appears. For example, in a 2004 essay, Miller and Shepherd concluded that the blog is a genre “that addresses a timeless rhetorical exigence in ways that are specific to its time. In the blog, the potentialities of technology, a set of cultural patterns, rhetorical conventions available in antecedent genres [e.g. the commonplace book], and the history of the subject combined to produce a recurrent rhetorical motive that has found a conventional mode of expression. […] The blog as genre is a contemporary contribution to the ‘art of the self’.”

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However, in a later essay (2009) in which the authors revisited many of the assumptions that they made in their 2004 article, Miller and Shepherd recanted, concluding: “The blog, it seems clear now is a technology, a medium, a constellation of affordances – and not a genre. […] The genre and the medium, the social action and its instrumentality, fit so well that they seemed coterminous, and it was thus easy to mistake the one for the other – as we did” (2009: 283). Interestingly, Miller and Shepherd’s 2009 article is marked by their use of a set of concepts and lexicon borrowed from evolutionary biology, e.g. ‘speciation’, ‘affordances’, ‘niche’. One problem in applying concepts from biology to the technological context in which ‘texts’ such as blogs arise, is that it is too easy for the analyst to bracket off the psycho-social, economic, and political needs that gave rise to the communicative impulses in the first place, thus slipping into the epistemological pitfall of technological determinism. At the same time, using evolutionary metaphors is effective rhetorically because such metaphors are powerful heuristically (for their explanatory payoff) evoking as they do, a ‘master plot’ of Darwinian natural selection. On the other hand, the analyst might begin with the assumption that genres are socio-cognitive recognition categories, and that as such, they can be “as fine-grained and differentiated as users recognize and orient towards. From this perspective, as instantiations increase, it is to be expected that experienced users will start to create and recognize many typifications [in order to] orient themselves and navigate – as well as to shape rhetorical recognitions” (Bazerman p.c.). We can see that such disagreements and different underlying assumptions about generic variation have much to do with the theorist’s underlying conceptual framework and, most likely, disciplinary training. If that theorist begins with the concept of genre as a sociorhetorical form, the conventions of which undergo rapid change over time, she is, at the assumption level, conceiving of the genre as both a form of social action and a technological artifact, external to the knowledge stores of the users. If, on the other hand, the analyst conceives genre as a recognition category, i.e., as the scaffold of individual orientation and collective social action, then, for analytical purposes, it becomes necessary not to conflate the technological artifact (i.e., the software), with the recognizable texts that are the instantia-


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tions of those ‘forms of life’ (Lash 2001), we call genres. As Myers observes, “the users of these texts [blogs, Wikis] don’t just create a genre, they create a social world” (2010: 21).

3. Four criteria for evaluating the generic status of online blog-posts One way to operationalize the concept of genre as a recognition category is to consider what blog writers do when they ‘weigh in’, ‘hold forth’, or otherwise express their opinions, i.e., what techniques do they use? The assumptions that underlie this question are as follows: a. Drawing on the concept of genre knowledge (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995), that a genre is: • a form of writers’ stored and evolving mental representations; and that • as academic or student ‘writers-in-training’ engage in disciplinary activities, they deploy their knowledge of the generic constraints and resources of the digital medium in which they are working, b. we can, then, best understand the generic status of academic blogs when we examine them as instantiations of situated, local knowledge, specific to the moment, its rhetorical exigence1 and linguistic requirements. Based on these assumptions, I propose four criteria for evaluating the generic status of online blogposts: a) Affordances, b) Uptake, c) Dynamism, d) Stance.


The term ‘exigence’, as it is used by rhetoricians, refers to a set of unexpected conditions marked by an urgency. 

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3.1. The concept of affordances The term ‘affordances’ was first used by Gibson (1977) to describe the way that an animal perceives elements of the environment in terms of how it might use them. In the CERLIS conference presentation on which this chapter is based, I used the example of the cavity in an old tree as being what wood ducks perceive as a wood duck nest. Based on the physical dimensions of that cavity, bird lovers can go online and Google the instructions for making a wood duck nesting box. An online technical drawing provides the dimensions for making a wood duck nesting box, which can seem attractive to the female wood duck as a nesting site.

 Figure 1. The concept of affordances: Mother wood duck nesting box.

This is an example of how an object in nature can be replicated with a man-made object, which ostensibly provides even more comfort for the egg-laying female. Transferring the concept of affordances to the context of digital media, the features of blogs – reverse chronological


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order, hypertextual links to other sites, and a box for readers’ comments – features that can be seen to be “aspects of the environment that writers see in terms of their use” (Myers 2010: 21), the idea of digital technology as providing affordances becomes clearer.

3.2. The concept of uptake Within speech act theory as developed by Austin (1962), ‘uptake’ refers to how an illocutionary act (for example, saying “It’s hot in here” with the intention of getting someone to cool the room), gets taken up as a perlocutionary effect: someone opens a window – or turns up the air conditioner. In the communicative setting of the Internet’s blogging sites, uptake refers to how readers respond to a blog post, for example, using the comments box to express their reactions. In this context the uptake may be a positive response, such as: “Interesting study”, or “I completely agree with your main point”, or one that is negative, e.g., “I disagree with your premise”, or “Your reasoning is flawed because you neglected to include x (or y or z), as a possible intervening variable” (see Luzón, this volume, for an analysis of positive and negative blog comments).

3.3. The concept of dynamism As one of the four quintessential features of genres, ‘dynamism’ was initially conceived by Berkenkotter and Huckin to refer to the idea that genres are “dynamic rhetorical forms that are developed from actors’ responses to recurrent situations and that serve to stabilize experience and give it coherence and meaning” (1995: 4). Furthermore, “genres change over time in response to their users’ socio-cognitive needs” (1995: 4). Revisiting this concept in the context of digital communication, we can reframe our understanding of dynamism to include the tension between the centripetal forces, i.e., constraints of the medium such as writing in a text box, or field, that cannot later be revised, and the centrifugal forces of individual creativity, that may, in fact, exploit the affordances of the medium, such as coining neologisms, or

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adding links to other texts, images, or video, toward the goal of creating an interdiscursive (see Bhatia, this volume), blog post. In this respect, in a digital environment, genres become ‘technological forms of life’ (Lash 2001), a human/machine interface that is characteristic of computer-mediated communication. Hence, the need to ‘tweak’ the concept of dynamism.

3.4. The concept of stance Biber and Finnegan (1989), describe stance as “the lexical and grammatical expression of attitudes or feelings, judgments, or commitments concerning the propositional content of a message”. Why should applied linguists be concerned about stance in academic writing? Hyland (2002), noted that researchers “have recently started to explore the interpersonal uses of language, particularly evaluative language”. In the context of academic discourse, evaluation refers to “a speaker/writer’s attitudes and values, often termed ‘stance’, ‘affect’, or ‘appraisal’, and it is important both as a system of organizing discourse and a means by which individuals express their value systems and those of their communities” (2002: 120). The scope of this chapter prevents me from providing a fuller description of how analysts might operationalize each of the above criteria for analyzing the generic status of online blog posts. In the next section I will limit my focus to examining bloggers’ uses of stance markers to qualify or ‘package’ their evaluative utterances.

4. How stance is represented in bloggers’ posts Since many, if not most, writers use blogs in order to give readers their opinions on a variety of subjects, topics and events, it stands to reason that ‘stance’ functions as a necessary rhetorical, lexico-gram-


Carol Berkenkotter

matical feature of blogging. According to Myers, “from a linguistic perspective, nearly every sentence has some sort of evaluation, explicit or implied”. At the same time, “bloggers are quite careful about the ways they mark their opinions as (just) opinions” (2010: 96). The care with which bloggers ‘package’ their evaluations of their colleagues’ research can be seen in the following post by an astrophysicist – Jeff – who comments on a colleague’s tendency to ignore the problem of defining ‘now’ as part of his theory of time:2 Personally, I think they may be making a big mistake, but I don’t know how else they could proceed, objectively. (Comment to Cosmic Variance; rpt in Myers 2010: 95)

The writer’s assertion, “they are making a mistake”, is carefully quailfied by a number of stance markers. The first of these is the adverbial, personally, which prefaces and foregrounds the main clause, as the writer’s opinion. This adverbial qualifier is followed by the hedge, I think, the verb in the main clause. As if this were not enough, the writer, Jeff, also uses the model may which hedges the central assertion in the first sentence, that the colleagues “are making a big mistake”. Finally, after the assertion, the writer adds another qualification, “but I don’t know how else they could proceed, objectively”. From a rhetorical perspective, this writer’s use of various stance markers in the above sentence signals that ‘Jeff’ is presenting a cautious scientific persona through a set of discourse markers that simultaneously assert and hedge/qualify/soften the claim, “they may be making a big mistake”. Most often, bloggers are not quite as cautious as the above writer is in using stance markers; however, I like to think of the above sentence as a prototype of how a writer can use stance markers to hedge an assertion, or to soften a rather strong claim as his own opinion. The next section of this chapter presents an analysis of stance markers, as they appear in the blog posts of Greg Myers in 2009. Stance markers include a number of features that are most often dis-


The analysis that follows is strictly for the purposes of demonstrating how this writer deployed stance markers in his posts.

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cussed in other terms, including modal verbs (can, may), some main verbs (believe, think, consider) hedges (possibly, perhaps) reported speech (they claim), and conversational particles (well, hmm).

5. A brief analysis of a blog During the period that Myers was writing his book, The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis (2010), he maintained a blog site which he discontinued after 2009. The following analysis of ‘stance’ in Myers’ blogs is by no means systematic.3 Here it is purely a demonstration of how such an analysis could be conducted, although the coding scheme could certainly be used to analyze the entire corpus taken from the period that Myers was blogging (Dec.2007 – Sept.2009).4 In his blog from Oct 3, 2009, Myers wrote: Blogging has moved on since 2006. I didn’t think (1) I would find (2) any linguistic Twitterers, but 40 people do find (3) useful things to say at Linguistics Twibe. 5 Well, (4) there are mostly queries and announcements; apparently (5) it does take (6) more than 140 characters to say something about linguistics. (I usually find (7) the 8000 words of a journal article rather (8) restricting). (G. Myers, Oct. 3, 2009)

5.1. Stance markers in Myers’ 2009 blog (1) (2)

I didn’t think… (attitudinal verb followed by complement clause) I would find (verb preceded by the modal would)


4 5

By ‘not systematic’ I mean, that although I developed a coding scheme after reading the corpus of Myers’ blogs from 2006-9, I coded only a few of them for demonstration purposes, and did not use an independent coder. He has since resumed blogging in early 2012, relative to a course he is currently teaching on twitterers and twittering. ‘Linguistics Twibe’ is an Internet site for twitterers.

40 (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

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40 people do find (epistemic verb, marking certainty; cf. Biber et al. 1999) Well (conversational particle) apparently (adverbial used to strengthen the statement that follows) it does take (epistemic verb marking certainty) I usually find (adverbial strengthening the claim in the main verb of the clause) rather (adverbial used to strengthen the adjective that follows)

We can see from the above analysis of stance markets in Myers’ blog, that of the 64 words in his post, ten are stance markers. It is possible that Myers, being conscious of lexical/grammatical stance markers, did not hesitate to use them himself to demonstrate the ways that experienced writers carefully ‘package’ their evaluative comments.

5.2. A student blog in a university course The next example is from a student writer blogging about his responses to the reading in an upper level Communication Theory course. Author: B. C. [Initials are used to protect the identify of the writer] Date: March 21, 2011 3:46 PM I believe (1) both e-mail and Facebook are efficient ways to communicate but they are used for different reasons. Personally, (2) I use Facebook as a way to stay in touch with friends and keep relationships ongoing. Emails are used for a completely different type of communication. E-mails are more formal and professional. I would never send (3) my friend an email to check in with him, I would send (4) him a message on Facebook or I-chat. Essentially (5) there is no real difference between sending a message via e-mail or Facebook but to me (6) Facebook is used solely for social networking and not formal communication. E-mails have become a big part of my life now that I have a job that requires me to be sending e-mails constantly. Other than my work e-mails most of the e-mails I get are junk mail from various websites. I like Bryan’s comment (7) about how e-mail is sort of like a ‘bulletin board’, most of it doesn’t apply to me so it gets deleted.

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5.3. Stance markers in student blog (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

I believe (attitudinal verb plus complement clause – writers’ most common way of marking stance) Personally (adverbial marking clause as the writer’s opinion) I would never send (modal, plus negative, plus main verb – attitudinal marker) I would send him (modal plus main verb – attitudinal marker; repetition of previous phrase for emphasis) Essentially (adverbial used to strengthen the following clause) but to me (contrastive conjunction plus personal pronoun marks clause that follows as writer’s opinion) I like Bryan’s comment (Main verb – attitudinal marker; uptake from previous post, plus reported speech)

B.C.’s post is longer than that of Myers, 176 words as opposed to 64 words. 19 of the 176 words are stance markers, as opposed to the ratio of 10/64 appearing in Myers’ post. Although we would expect to see more stance markers in the post of a much-published academic writer, the number of stance markers in B.C.’s posts suggest that he too is aware of the lexical-grammatical conventions of blog-posts. On the other hand, Myers’ blogs are for a presumably much larger audience than that of the student’s blogs, which appear in Moodle 2.0, a webbased platform, the affordances of which make it considerably different than the Internet-wide platform used by Myers and other widely followed bloggers.

6. Concluding remarks I began this chapter by raising questions about how we might think about genre variation in the digital age. Traditional academic genres such as the scientific research paper and the literary belletristic essay are embedded in an academic peer review system that is meritocratic,


Carol Berkenkotter

highly selective, and stable. If we think of genres as ‘forms of life’, to borrow a phrase from Wittgenstein (cf. Lash 2001), they have evolved slowly over long periods of time, subject to ‘selection pressures’, such as technological changes, distribution systems, and the rise of professional societies (or discourse communities), with their need to share and to disseminate information. In the community of applied linguists, given the common goal of helping students to master the conventions of disciplinary academic genres in English, it has been only natural to have studied the morphology and the lexical/grammatical and more recently, the rhetorical features of these more venerable forms of academic discourse. In contrast to these (relatively) stable forms of academic discourse, which are amenable to being taught, writers must now navigate through digital writing systems, e.g. wikis, chat groups, discussion forums, and blogs, just to name a few. Moreover, technological forms of life resulting from human-machine interface (cell phones, the Internet, etc.) are forms of ‘life at a distance’ (Lash 2001). In this respect, human communication loses its materiality. In the case of blogs and blogging as a discursive practice, early online genres, such as the personal diary blogs, the public affairs and political blogs, have – given the affordances of the medium (e.g., a hypertext with links to other blogs) – morphed into many other blog variations or sub-genres such as mommy blogs, linguists’ and other professional groups’ blogs, citizen journalists’ blogs (Bruns 2008), amateur TV drama critics blogs,6 course or classroom blogs, etc. This is a brave new world of Internet discourse indeed! As Luginbühl and Berkenkotter (in press) recently suggested, “Genres stabilize situations and social groups by […] adapting flexibly to different communicative needs. If genre variation tends toward a certain direction in many instances and over a period of time, genres


My thanks to Brigitte Musack, a doctoral student in the Writing Studies Department, University of Minnesota, for describing her experiences as a member of the discourse community of ‘citizen’ (Bruns 2008) TV drama criticism bloggers. More thanks go to Brian Larson, Ashley Clayson, Aimee Rogers, Brigitte Mussack, Michael Madson, and Molly Li, students in the seminar on ‘Emergent Genres of the Internet’, for helping me ponder through the issues I address in this chapter.

Genre Change in the Digital Age


can be said to evolve, or in some cases become obsolete. Genre variation can thus be conceptualized as variation, selection and ‘(re)stabilization’ (Gansell 2011: 110-120). At the same time, given the rapid pace of variation, or ‘speciation’ (Miller/Shepherd 2009), of blogs, there are a few thorny questions for genre analysts to ponder: x How much speciation will a genre undergo before its heterogeneity overwhelms its genre integrity (Bhatia 2004)? x Blogs are multi-modal hypertexts, with links to audio, photographic, and video productions or ‘produsage’ (Bruns 2008). How do applied linguists expand their repertoire of methods to describe/analyze multi-modal blogs? x When can we speak of the emergence of a new genre? Genres usually originate relying on one or more antecedents. A crucial question about genre change is, therefore, at which point can a genre can no longer be considered as a variation of an existing genre, but establishes a new generic identity?” (Luginühl/Berkenkotter, in press) Such questions suggest that a fuller understanding of the processes through which Internet ‘texts’, such as blogs and wikis undergo change – or differentiation – will depend on future research, with analysts using an expanded repertoire of methods. It does seem clear at this point, however, that the arrival of Internet (digital) technology has produced as large a historical, cognitive, and material transformation as the printing press. Thus research into such ‘protean genres’ as blogs and the processes through which they are differentiating, or evolving, is at a very early stage.

References Austin, John L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


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Bawarshi, Anis S. / Reiff, Mary Jo 2010. Genre: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research, and Pedagogy. West Layfayette, I.N.: Parlor Press. Bazerman, Charles 1994. Systems of Genres and the Enactment of Social Intentions. In Freedman, Aviva / Medway, Peter (eds) Genre and the New Rhetoric. London: Taylor & Francis. Berkenkenkotter, Carol / Huckin, Thomas, N. 1995. Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition / Culture / Power. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2004. Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-Based View. London: Continuum. Biber, Douglas/ Finnegan, Edward 1989. Styles of Stance in English: Lexical and Grammatical Marking of Evidentiality and Affect. Text 9/1, 93-124. Bruns, Axel 2008. Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From Production to Produsage. New York: Peter Lang. Crystal, David 2006. Language and the Internet. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Crystal, David 2011. Internet Linguistics: A Student Guide. London: Routledge. Devitt, Amy 2004. Writing Genres. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. Gansel, Cristina 2011. Textsortenlinguistik. Stuttgart: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Gibson, James Jerome 1986. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum. Gitrow, Janet / Stein, Dieter (eds) 2009. Genres in the Internet: Issues in the Theory of Genre. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Herring, Susan C. / Paolillo, John C. 2006. Gender and Genre Variation in Weblogs. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10/4, 439-459. Hyland, Ken 2002. Genre: Language, Context, and Literacy. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 22, 113-135. Lash, Scott 2001. Technological Forms of Life. Theory, Culture, & Society 18/1, 105-120. Luginbühl, Martin / Berkenkotter, Carol In press. Genres: Pattern Variation and Genre Development. In Jakobs, Eva-Maria /

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Perrin, Daniel (eds) Handbook of Writing and Text Production. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Miller, Carolyn R. / Shepherd, Dawn 2004. Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog. In Gurak, L. / Antonijavic S./ Johnson, L. / Ratliff, C. / Reyman, J. (eds) Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. . Miller, Carolyn R. / Shepherd, Dawn 2009. Questions for Genre Theory from the Blogosphere. In Gitrow / Stein (eds), 263-290. Myers, Greg 2006. The Language of Blogs. . Myers, Greg 2010. The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis. London: Continuum. Russell, David R. / Fisher, David 2009. Online, Multimedia Case Studies for Professional Education: Revisioning Concepts of Genre Recognition. In Gitrow / Stein (eds), 163-192. Segal, Judy Z. 2009. Internet Health and the 21st Century Patient: A Rhetorical View. Written Communication 26/4, 351-369.


Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres

1. Interdiscursive space across academic genres and practices In this chapter I would like to identify and discuss the issue of management of interdiscursive space in genre analysis by highlighting the concept of interdiscursivity. More specifically, I will focus on the discursive construction of research journal articles based on doctoral theses in academic practice by identifying some of the challenges facing novice writers of research articles for submission to international journals. In other words, I would like to explore and explain how different genres are interdiscursively held in some kind of creative tension; and how understanding of interdiscursivity can explain the communicative processes which are crucial to the appropriation of doctoral theses for the purpose of writing journal articles. In doing so, I will also suggest that a critical approach to genre analysis can be helpful in understanding and overcoming some of these challenges. However, before doing so I would like to introduce the concept of interdiscursive socio-pragmatic space in genre theory as part of the three-space model for genre analysis I proposed in Bhatia (2004). The model can be adapted as shown in Figure 1 below to represent various levels of analyses for academic discourse for research and publication.


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Figure 1. Interdiscursive socio-pragmatic space in academic discourse (adapted from Bhatia 2004).

Although Figure 1 gives a general picture for analysing genre in all contexts, for this chapter we are primarily concerned with the middle part, labelled as Socio-pragmatic Space, within which academic genres can be explored in the context of academic practice. The sociopragmatic investigation of genres shows that academic research genres (doctoral theses as well as research journal articles) are invariably embedded in typical academic practices with their own specific communicative purposes, academic expectations, discourse community participants, use of all kinds of semiotic resources, and disciplinary constraints as well as other considerations. It is true that interactions within this socio-pragmatic space are often complex and dynamic, in that all interactions within it are essentially mediated through other factors within and beyond this socio-pragmatic space, and hence are analyzed in terms of at least four overlapping dimensions, which are textual and intertextual, generic, academic practice-based and all of

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them embedded in disciplinary culture, which I have suggested elsewhere (see Bhatia 2008, 2010 for details), and is reproduced here with minor modifications (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Dimensions of academic discourse.

What is obvious from this view of dimensions of discourse is that genres in all academic and professional contexts simultaneously operate at various levels of realisation, four of which have been identified in this diagram. This also means that it should be possible for the analyst to focus on any or all the dimensions at one time, often underplaying the role of some others not focused on. In this chapter, for instance, I would like to focus primarily on two of them, i.e., ‘research genres’ and ‘academic practice’, highlighting in particular how they interact within and across these interdiscursive dimensions, and, at the same time, underplaying the other two dimensions of ‘text’ and ‘academic research culture’. This aspect of interdiscursive space is one of the most crucial aspects of what I have elsewhere discussed as ‘interdiscursivity’ (Bhatia 2010). So before I go any further, I would like to give a brief account of what I mean by interdiscursivity drawing primarily on Bhatia (2008, 2010).

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2. Interdiscursivity in academic genres Bakhtin (1986: 91) pointed out that Every utterance must be regarded primarily as a response to preceding utterances of the given sphere. Each utterance refutes, affirms, supplements and relies on the others, presupposes them to be known, and somehow takes them into account.

This statement gave rise to primarily two kinds of relationships across textual utterances, one intertextual and the other interdiscursive. In earlier literature, both of these have either been subsumed under intertextuality, or in some cases, separately identified as ‘manifest intertextuality’ implying intertextual relations, and ‘constitutive intertextuality’, representing interrelationship of discursive features, which is also sometimes referred to as interdiscursivity (Fairclough 1995). However, in genre analytical studies, I have made an attempt to identify and define them separately. Interdiscursivity, in particular, is crucial for genre theory because, unlike textual or discourse analysis, genre analysis needs to pay increasing attention to text-external use of semiotic resources, especially genre conventions. Therefore, I would like to distinguish and reiterate the two relationships, that is, intertextual and interdiscursive here. Intertextual relationship (intertextuality) primarily refers to texts transforming the past into the present using prior texts relying basically on text-internal resources (Kristeva 1980, Foucault 1981, Bakhtin 1986, Fairclough 1995), whereas interdiscursive relationship (interdiscursivity) is the function of appropriation of semiotic resources across genres and professional practices, which are primarily text-external (Candlin/Maley 1997; Bhatia 2004, 2008, 2010). Although appropriation across text-internal resources has been extensively accounted for in academic discourse, for a comprehensive analysis of any academic communication it is necessary to consider and integrate the use of text-external semiotic resources as well, in particular, generic conventions, academic practices, and disciplinary cultures in the context of which text-internal resources are invariably embedded. Interdiscursivity is thus viewed as appropriation of semio-

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tic resources (which include text-external socio-pragmatic, generic and academic resources) across any two or more of these rather different but overlapping levels, especially those of genre, academic practice and disciplinary culture. Interdiscursivity can also be realized in rhetorical formations such as recontextualization, resemiotisation, or reformulations. Linell (1998: 144-145) defines recontextualization as “the dynamic transfer-and-transformation of something from one discourse/text-in-context […] to another”, which seems to include both intertextual as well as interdiscursive formations. Let us now turn to discursive performance in academic research contexts, which includes all forms of interdiscursive relations.

3. Discursive performance in academic contexts Candlin and Candlin (2002: 126), based on their studies of discursive performance in healthcare contexts, point out that “certain discursive features and discursive strategies do recur in discussions about the relation of discourse to the display of expert behaviour”. They continue: “such features and strategies are best seen as professional resources that accompany or constitute actions, open to be drawn upon and linked to particular displays of professional expertise”. They further elaborate on the nature of such resources, when they claim: “among these resources is the ability of expert practitioners to manage interactions across distinct planes of discourse […] more specifically, their ability to manage complex recontextualisations intertextually and interdiscursively […] by employing a variety of voices “as the context and the expert’s shifting roles warrant” (Candlin/Candlin 2002: 126). Candlin (2006: 7), in a different study, emphasises: “as one defining characteristic of such expertise we may come to identify the strategic management of interdiscursivity across and within professional boundaries”. The real issue that I would like to explore is how different genres are interdiscursively held in a creative tension; and how under-

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standing of interdiscursivity can explain the communicative processes that are crucial to academic research writing, more specifically to the appropriation of doctoral theses for the purpose of writing journal articles. Let us now turn to the pragmatics of interdiscursive space across two deceptively similar academic genres: doctoral thesis v. journal article. There has been a wide acceptance of the rhetorical organisation of the research article introduction based on the CARS model suggested in Swales (1990): RHETORICAL ORGANISATION OF RESEARCH JOURNAL ARTICLE INTRODUCTION (Swales 1990) Move 1: Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

Establishing a territory Claiming centrality and/or Making topic generalization(s) and/or Reviewing items of previous research

Move 2: Step 1A Step 1B Step 1C Step 1D

Establishing a niche Counter-claiming or Indicating a gap or Question-raising or Continuing a tradition

Move 3: Step 1A Step 1B Step 2 Step 3

Occupying a niche Outlining purpose(s) or Announcing present research Announcing principal finding Indicating RA structure

Based on this model for Research Article Introductions, there has been a similar rhetorical organization suggested for the Thesis Introduction as well. Let us have a look at it. TYPICAL MOVES IN THESIS INTRODUCTIONS (Paltridge/Starfield 2007, based on Swales/Feak 1994) Move 1: Establishing a research territory (a) by showing the general research area is important/relevant (optional) (b) by providing the background information about the topic (optional) (c) by introducing and reviewing items of previous research (obligatory) (d) by defining terms (optional)

Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres


Move 2: Establishing a niche (a) by indicating a gap, raising a question, or extending previous knowledge (obligatory) (b) by identifying a problem/need (optional) Move 3: Occupying the niche (a) by outlining purposes, or stating the nature of the present research (obligatory) (b) by announcing principal findings / stating value of research (optional) (c) by indicating the structure of the thesis (obligatory) (d) by outlining the theoretical position (optional) (e) by describing the methods used in the study (optional)

Also, we see a somewhat similar move-structure for MA Thesis Introductions as well. RHETORICAL ORGANISATION OF MA THESIS INTRODUCTIONS (Dudley-Evans 1986) Move 1: Introducing the field Move 2: Introducing the general topic Move 3: Introducing the particular topic Move 4: Defining the scope of the topic by (a) introducing research parameters (b) summarizing previous research Move 5: Preparing for present research by (a) indicating a gap in previous research (b) indicating extension of previous research Move 6: Introducing present research by (a) stating the aim of the research, or (b) describing briefly the work carried out, (c) justifying the research

Let us now compare rhetorical organisations of Introductions in doctoral theses and research articles.


Vijay k. Bhatia

INTRODUCTIONS IN PhD THESIS Move 1 Establishing a territory a. showing the importance of research b. providing background topic

RESEARCH JOURNAL ARTICLES Move 1 Establishing a research territory Step 1 Claiming centrality and/or area Step 2 Making topic generalization(s)

c. introducing/reviewing previous

Step 3 Reviewing items of previous

d. defining terms Move 2 Establishing a niche a. indicating a gap in previous research b. identifying a problem/need

Move 3 Occupying the niche a. outlining purposes/aims b announcing principal findings c. indicating the structure of the thesis d. outlining the theoretical position e. describing the methods used (Paltridge/Starfield 2007)

Move 2 Establishing a niche Step 1A Counter-claiming or Step 1B Indicating a gap or Step 1C Question-raising or Step 1D Continuing a tradition Move 3 Occupying a niche Step 1A Outlining purpose(s) or Step 1B Announcing present research Step 2 Announcing principal finding Step 3 Indicating RA structure (Swales1990)

If one looks at these rhetorical organisations of the two rather different academic genres, we end up getting a misleading impression that they are structurally similar, especially in terms of their use of intertextual (text-internal) resources, as both of them have an almost identical set of moves, even the sub-moves or steps also have considerable overlap; however, if one were to look at their interdiscursive (text-external) resources and constraints, they seem to be quite different. Let us now briefly identify and discuss some of the variables crucial in the appropriation of research articles from doctoral theses.

4. Appropriating doctoral theses for research articles In principle, there seem to be two ways to manage interdiscursive space across the doctoral thesis and the research article. One could simply design and develop a number of articles, each one based on a specific aspect of the thesis, drawing on mutually exclusive sets of

Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres


observations, findings, and even discussions. There is a possibility that the introductions will be shared to some extent across these articles and the thesis. On the other hand, it is equally possible to draw on the whole thesis and write different articles, each one of them relatively independent of each other and not necessarily dependent entirely on the thesis, introducing, adding, interpreting and discussing different aspects of the thesis in a relatively new light. The two broadly possible interdiscursive constructions, one in which the articles are primarily based on mutually exclusive content (Fig. 3), or the other in which the articles draw partially on the thesis and supplement or extend the content beyond the thesis (Figure 4), can be represented as follows:

Figure 3. The articles are primarily based on mutually exclusive content.


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Figure 4. The articles draw partially on the thesis and supplement or extend the content beyond the thesis.

From the two rhetorical structures proposed, one often gets a misleading impression that journal articles based on doctoral theses can be produced by a process of cut-and-paste; however, the differences between the two are more fundamental than just the length, details or extensiveness. To begin with, goals and objectives are quite different in doctoral theses and journal articles. Genre conventions in the two genres are also different. Definitions, for instance, which are often found in theses, are dispreferred in journal articles. The thesis tends to say everything about the research questions under investigation, but it is not so in the journal articles. The thesis may cover a number of distinct research questions, but the journal article often focuses on a specific topic. Pollard (2005) in this context rightly argues that Journal reviewers do not need or want the heavy process-focused information that dissertation committees do […] Journal reviewers want to see that one is knowledgeable (but briefly so) about the existing literature in the topic area, that the methods are reasonable (and replicable if someone desires to try) and that the results support the conclusions.

More specifically, the thesis demonstrates a more comprehensive understanding of literature, as compared with its nature, function and

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representation in journal articles. Similarly, discussion sections in the two related genres are also very different, in spite of their surfacelevel similarities, especially in terms of their extensive interpretation of data, observations, and results in theses, as doctoral students need to demonstrate an understanding of their data, observations and results, whereas in journal articles, it is more focused and precise. Even references may appear to have a similar representation, but the doctoral theses contain an extensive list of references, some not necessarily directly used, to show familiarity with extensive readings (often listed under bibliography), but in journal articles, only directly used references are included. The major difference is that in writing a thesis the researcher must demonstrate his or her familiarity with and understanding of all the relevant literature, whereas in a research journal article, the researcher needs to refer to only those items of research that are relevantly used in the research paper. In fact, unnecessary display of knowledge of previous literature can be quite offensive to colleagues in the field. Let us look at some of these issues in more detail.

4.1. Methodological procedures The methodological section in the thesis contains detailed and comprehensive information about all the relevant methods, frameworks, and nature, quantity and procedures of data collection to justify that the researcher is aware of and has considered all the available possibilities before choosing methodological procedures. The methodological section therefore is a very comprehensive and detailed aspect of the thesis and requires an extensive discussion about the choice of such procedures. However, these details about methodological procedures are beyond the scope of a journal article, with little scope for detailed specification and justifications. There are also variations across disciplines. Swales (2004: 219) makes an interesting observation about disciplinary differences in research journal articles: The surprise is that, on preliminary evidence at least, the major differences do not lie so much in Introduction and Discussion (where I believe most people will expect it), but rather in the Methods and Results sections.

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58 He further points out:

Method section per se may not exist at all in a number of humanities areas […] In an area such as Applied Language Studies, separate or distinct account of Methods would seem associated with more empirical kinds of investigation.

Of the 18 articles in 2001 issues of Applied Linguistics, he found only eight of them with marked methodology depictions, of which only five had named subsections.

4.2. Discussion sections The discussion sections in theses are generally much longer as doctoral students need to ‘demonstrate’ an understanding of all the data, observations and results, whereas in journal articles, it is more focused and precise. Detailed interpretation of results tends to offer more opportunities to examiners to appreciate future research directions of the researcher. However, in journal articles, too much detail and extensive account of results may tell the reviewers and journal editors that the article has been directly lifted from a thesis, to which reviewers may not react favourably. The major difference in the two genres lies in the fact that the two discourses realising these genres are relatively more different than similar, although the management of interdiscursive space may also depend on the nature of the disciplinary research undertaken. In addition, and perhaps more crucially, this will also depend on a host of other text-internal as well as text-external factors, some of which I turn to now.

4.3. Text-internal factors 1.

Lexico-grammatical resources: This perhaps is one of the most essential feature of any genre, which also includes intertextual borrowings across texts and genres; however, for our argument here, these are not the focus of the chapter. Of course, there will also be considerable overlap across the two academic genres we

Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres


are discussing here, but there certainly is a qualitative difference in the two discourses. 2.

Rhetorical organization (Move-structure): We have discussed the issues related to rhetorical organisations of the two related genres. The main issue we identified was the misleading overlaps between these genres; however, the rationale for the differences can only be understood in terms of text-external factors.

Although text-internal resources are ultimately responsible for giving the final shape to research articles, whether based on doctoral dissertations or not, what contributes most to the decisions for their choice are text-external factors, some of which we will discuss here.

4.4. Text-external factors 3.

Discourse community expectations: The two genres share broadly the same discourse community but the expectations from researchers are markedly different. Doctoral theses are expected to display the researcher’s awareness and a broad understanding of the field of study, whereas the researcher needs to resist any significant temptation to display such awareness and understanding in research articles. We have already mentioned some of these factors in different subsections when we discussed the introduction, methodology and the discussion of the findings. Some of these differences in expectations come from the differences in the different communicative purposes of the two genres. Theses are meant for examination purposes, whereas research articles are meant to establish or reinforce the identity and reputation of the researcher within the discourse and disciplinary community.


Audience: The audience for the two genres may be the same, in the sense that the same person may be acting as reader/reviewer/examiner for both the genres, but his or her functional role is often very different in the two contexts, and they tend to


Vijay k. Bhatia

look for very different strengths and weaknesses in the construction and representation of content in the two genres. The expectations, as mentioned in the previous sub-section, are also likely to be quite different. 5.

Shared knowledge: This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of interdiscursive space that is most challenging for the novice doctoral researchers to handle when they start writing their first research article. They often assume that they need to show their awareness and understanding of all areas of background, methodological frameworks available, and most of the important analytical observations and findings for discussion. However, they often forget the fact that although a broad vision is an advantage, the article must be narrowly focused and all the decisions regarding the management of interdiscursive space across the two genres must be based on relevance, whether it is the matter of literature review, methodological choice, analytical observations, or discussion of issues. It is centrally important to consider the level of shared knowledge in order not to include irrelevant details just for the sake of showing one’s understanding of the field. Novice academic writers must be aware of valid and strategically relevant assumptions on the part of reviewers and then try to balance those with somewhat wider audience expectations, which can be tricky, but absolutely necessary in the process of writing research articles.


Strategic Management of gatekeepers in research publications: It is always a serious challenge to convince gatekeepers (editors and reviewers) that the research article submitted for publication is suitable for consideration for the journal in question. It is always considered good to write a manuscript for a specific journal. It is crucial to take into consideration a list of possible journals that are likely to publish one’s manuscript, especially keeping in mind not only the preferred methodological frameworks likely to be relevant to the mission of the journal, but also the finding, applications, etc. One can get all this information from the journal’s mission, style sheet, editorial board

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membership, etc. In writing a thesis one is simply concerned with a set of examiners, and the examiners, on their part, are concerned with the totality of knowledge and understanding the researcher can reflect in the work, but not so in the review process of a journal article submission. 7.

Management of other voices in research articles: This is one of the most interesting as well as crucial skills for both the genres under consideration in this chapter. Showing awareness and adequate understanding of other voices in the field is equally important for all research genres, and the culmination of expertise in this aspect of rhetorical effort is to display what I have elsewhere (Bhatia 1999) referred to as ‘ownership’ of genres, in this case, other voices. This ownership is reflected through a number of rhetorical effects, such as using other voices in support of your claims or dispute others’ claims, identification of issues, discussion of positions taken by other researchers, and there are variations across these two genres, especially the way they are exploited to show one’s academic expertise.

4.5. Acquisition of academic expertise Considering the issues identified and discussed above, it appears that interdiscursivity is a key factor in managing interdiscursive sociopragmatic space within and across the two genres, i.e., the doctoral thesis and the research article, mediated through the specific constraints imposed by disciplinary conventions and demands. However, the most important factor is the context of academic (in this case, research) practice, which is embedded within specific disciplinary cultures. Acquisition of academic expertise for research publications is thus a matter of managing interdiscursive space in the context of disciplinary knowledge, on the one hand, and academic practice, on the other, which can be represented in Figure 5.


Figure 5. Acquisition

Vijay k. Bhatia

of academic expertise for research publications.

There is still a question of disciplinary variations in the integration of these factors as the disciplines often have their own constraints and requirements, while the journals have their individual constraints, and also the nature of research may impose further requirements. What then are the implications for the learning and teaching of interdiscursive aspects of academic genres? As I mentioned earlier, the most important aspect of managing interdiscursive space is the ‘appropriation’ of generic resources, content of research, methodological appropriateness, research findings, and research conventions of academic practice. Appropriation across these genres often requires novice researchers to recontextualise and/or reframe what they have done in their doctoral work, and also from other voices from the established discourse or disciplinary community, all of which translates into understanding existing knowledge, legitimate borrowing, but not stealing or plagiarising (there is a thin line between legitimate appropriation and plagiarism in academic discourse for publication), fol-

Interdiscursivity in Academic Genres


lowing appropriate conventions of referring to others’ work, and showing one’s ownership of academic knowledge. These skills are, unfortunately not explicitly taught in most academic research programmes, but are incidentally acquired through trial and error, often through painful reviews and revisions.

5. Concluding remarks In this chapter I have made an attempt to identify and discuss the issue of management of interdiscursive socio-pragmatic space across doctoral theses and research journal articles. In the process I have also discussed the concept of interdiscursivity as ‘appropriation’ of textexternal generic resources across genres, academic practices and academic disciplinary cultures. In doing so, I have also identified some of the crucial text-external factors that keep the focus of the two academic genres relatively distinct, which I hope will help novice academic researchers to exploit their doctoral theses better in order to write acceptable research articles for international journals. Although I have not focused on text-internal factors and intertextuality in the process, this view of genre analysis will be likely to enhance our awareness and understanding of the nature and function of discursive practices in two different though related academic contexts. I hope that this will also demystify the construction, interpretation, and exploitation of interdiscursive space across these two academic genres. Additionally, it also highlights the role of discursive practices, academic practices and academic disciplinary cultures. In doing all this, I believe we are moving towards what I have elsewhere referred to as ‘critical genre analysis’ (Bhatia 2008, 2010).


Vijay k. Bhatia

References Bakhtin, Mikhail M. 1986. The Problem of Speech Genres. In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, C. Emerson / M. Holquist (eds), Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 60-101. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1999. Integrating Products, Processes, Purposes and Participants in Professional Writing, In Candlin, Christopher N. / Hyland, Ken (eds) Writing: Texts, Processes and Practices. London, Longman, 21-39. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2004. Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-Based View. London: Continuum. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2008. Genre Analysis, ESP and Professional Practice. English for Specific Purposes 27, 161-174. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2010. Interdiscursivity in Professional Communication. Discourse and Communication 21/1, 32-50. Candlin, Christopher N. 2006. Accounting for Interdiscursivity: Challenges to Professional Expertise. In Gotti, Maurizio / Giannoni, Davide S. (eds) New Trends in Specialized Discourse Analysis. Bern: Peter Lang, 21-45. Candlin, Christopher N. / Maley, Yon 1997. Intertextuality and Interdiscursivity in the Discourse of Alternative Dispute Resolution, In Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise / Linnel, Per / Nordberg, Bengt (eds) The Construction of Professional Discourse. London: Longman, 201-222. Candlin, Christopher N. / Candlin, Sally (eds) 2002. Discourse, Expertise and the Management of Risk. Special Issue of the Journal of Research on Language & Social Interaction 32/2. Dudley-Evans, Tony 1986. Genre Analysis: An Investigation of the Introduction and Discussion Sections of MSc Dissertations. In Coulthard. Malcolm (ed.) Talking about Text. Birmingham, University of Birmingham. 219-228. Fairclough, Norman 1995. Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. London: Longman.

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Foucault, Michel 1981. The Archaeology of Knowledge. New York: Pantheon Books. Kristeva Julia 1980. Word, Dialogue and Novel. In Kristeva, Julia (ed.) Desire in Language. Oxford: Blackwell, 64-91. Linell, Per 1998. Approaching Dialogue. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Paltridge, Brian / Sue Starfield, 2007. Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language. London: Routledge. Pollard, Robert Jr. 2005. From Dissertation to Journal Article: A Useful Method for Planning and Writing Any Manuscript. The Internet Journal of Mental Health 2/2. Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis: Research in Academic Contexts. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. 2004. Research Genres. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. / Feak, Christine B. 1994. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Presenting Research Insights


Value Marking in an Academic Genre: When Authors Signal ‘Goodness’1

1. Introduction Evaluation is a key component of the knowledge-production process encoded by academic writing, whose genres provide textual evidence of the epistemology, ideology and social ontology of different discourse communities (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1993). By signalling what is deemed to be desirable (or conversely, undesirable) in the field, scholars build up their arguments, position themselves vis-à-vis their peers and identify unsolved disciplinary issues. While the linguistic resources of evaluation have been widely explored (cf. Hunston/Thompson 2000; Del Lungo Camiciotti/Tognini Bonelli 2004; Dossena/Jucker 2007), only a few authors have turned their attention to the actual values underlying this phenomenon. In the case of academic discourse, evaluation points to the axiology of scientific enquiry, to what counts as ‘worthiness’ (cf. Thetela 1997) among fellow scholars, and accordingly its realisations employ the ‘lexis of judgement and subjectivity’ (Thompson/Hunston 2000). The main function of evaluative speech acts is to communicate attitudinal stance (Conrad/Biber 2000), i.e. the speaker’s feelings or judgements about a proposition. In so doing, they generally operate within a conceptual framework construing “experiences in context on binary scales between positive and negative” (Downes 2000: 104). As aptly observed by Shaw (2004), however, their semantic transparency


The findings reported here are part of a larger cross-disciplinary study of academic value markers (Giannoni 2010). I am grateful to the editors and to participants at the CERLIS Conference, Bergamo 23-25 June 2011, for their helpful comments.

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varies considerably across texts, since full ‘evaluative explicitness’ is afforded only by lexemes that are invariably positive/negative in polarity, or by expressions that appeal to widely-held views.

1.1. From evaluation to value The literature on academic discourse often refers to ‘values’. Becher, for example, notes that disciplines “are embodied in collections of like-minded people, each with their own codes of conduct, sets of values and distinctive intellectual tasks” (1981: 109). The recognition of shared values is a distinctive trait of disciplinary affiliation and of the ideology/epistemology that distinguishes one discipline from another. Thompson and Hunston (2000: 6) acknowledge this clear link between evaluation, values and ideology: Every act of evaluation expresses a communal value-system, and every act of evaluation goes towards building up that value-system. This value-system in turn is a component of the ideology which lies behind every text.

Despite the importance of axiology, however, very little is known of the values embedded in scholarly texts or of the linguistic resources used to express them. The claim that “graduate students need to learn to work within the value-systems of their target communities” (Swales 1990: 218) implies that academic literacy programmes should include explicit training in the use of value markers but has not been followed up. It is hoped therefore that the approach described here may prove useful for pedagogic as well as descriptive purposes. It employs a corpus-based procedure for the analysis of explicit value-marking lexis in the most prestigious genre of academia (i.e. the research article), using a combination of quantitative and qualitative tools, concordance data and manual investigation. The results illustrate how ‘goodness’ (a pervasive category qualifying anything viewed as broadly desirable) is expressed in different fields of learning. For this purpose, value is conceptualised as any aspect of experience to which the parent community assigns an interpretation whose polarity reflects its standards, practices and beliefs.

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Like other values, goodness is a ‘mental and social object’ (Miceli/ Castelfranchi 1989) and its marking is consistent with domain-specific functional/referential proclivities. The evidence presented below suggests that authors across the academic spectrum exploit a largely unqualified axiological variable to muster consensus on key aspects of their epistemological practices.

2. Corpus and methodology The corpus assembled for this study consists of 100 research articles – a genre central to knowledge construction in many disciplines – with international (often English-medium) peer-reviewed journals providing the most prestigious venue for publication. Hyland (1997: 22) sums up the function of research articles and their link to shared disciplinary values and practices in the following terms: What counts as relevant issues, convincing evidence, valid inference and appropriate interpersonal conduct is grounded in disciplinary values transmitted via socialisation and secured through a system of peer judgement. The principal realisation of this schema is the research article.

Research articles are used to disseminate new findings or approaches to a wide audience, and co-exist alongside similar full-length contributions such as the theoretical article or the review article. The number of generic labels employed can of course be much larger: Gross et al. (2002: 187-188) mention ‘experimental’, ‘theoretical’, ‘methodological’, ‘observational’, ‘observational/theoretical’ and ‘experimental/ theoretical’ articles, but conclude that “the typical scientific article in the 20th century is experimental and includes some engagement with theory”. A more neutral way of referring to article-type contributions is ‘serially published research communications’ (Swales 2004: 217). The type of content assembled here is therefore limited to publications that combine new data (whether experimental, empirical or documentary) with an element of theoretical/methodological specula-

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tion. The most frequent genre label adopted for such texts in the host journals is ‘Article’, followed by ‘Paper’, ‘Research Article’, ‘Original Article’ and ‘Research Paper’. They were downloaded from ten top impact-factor journals, based on their disciplinary ranking in the Journal Citation Reports database (JCR 2005): DISCIPLINE Applied Sciences Human Sciences Natural Sciences

JOURNAL Engineering (Civil)


Medicine The New England Journal (General and Internal) of Medicine



The American Historical Review


Journal of Human Evolution



PLOS Biology


Physics (Particles and Fields)

Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics


Computer Science Mathematical (Cybernetics) Sciences Mathematics Social Sciences


Journal of Hydrology


Human-Computer Interaction


Journal of the American Mathematical Society



American Journal of Sociology



The Quarterly Journal of Economics

103,399 TOTAL


Table 1. Corpus structure and size.

The disciplines chosen, representative of five disciplinary areas (Column 1) encompass a wide range of academic domains, some of which (e.g. Medicine, Engineering, Mathematics) are very large and well established, while others (Computer Science, Anthropology) are smaller and relatively new. Most of these are included also in earlier researcharticle corpora (cf. Hyland 2000; Fløttum et al. 2006) and appear in Becher and Trowler’s (2001) framework mapping the features of knowledge in different fields of learning. Table 1 shows that the ten disciplines chosen vary considerably in terms of article length and, what is more, degree of specialisation. Thus Engineering, Medicine,

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Physics and Computer Science had no single entry in JCR (2005) but a list of subdisciplines from which to choose. Moreover, each journal tends to occupy a special ‘market slot’ targeting a specific section of the discipline it represents. This means that the findings below inevitably reflect the sample used in the corpus and are not necessarily applicable to the whole of each domain.

2.1. Procedure After uploading the entire corpus2 to WordSmith Tools (Scott 2007), a general wordlist was produced and those with 100+ occurrences manually scanned to identify explicitly evaluative types (i.e. candidate items) from all parts of speech. The resulting 83 candidates were then grouped into broad semantic categories: Goodness, Size, Novelty, Relevance, Value, Timing, Impact, Complexity, Generality, Completeness, and Appeal.3 The present chapter focuses on the realisations of the first category, i.e. Goodness. Relying on wordlist data alone would be misleading, as many occurrences can also communicate non-evaluative meanings, due to polysemous types (e.g. adjectival good vs. good as a noun or interjection), fully lexicalised forms (good will) and proper names (Cape of Good Hope). The only way to exclude irrelevant occurrences from the count is a close reading of concordance lines. Therefore corpus data had to be cross-checked, using the concordance of each candidate to explore its co-text. Then the range of goodness markers chosen for investigation was integrated by considering and inspecting additional markers semantically or formally contiguous to the candidates. Finally, all relevant occurrences were divided into five separate groups for descriptive purposes. 2


For consistency, only the body of each article was retained. This involved the removal of such paratextual elements as: authors’ names and contact details, references, footnotes/endnotes, charts/diagrams and appendices, page headers and footers, the opening summary or abstract (where present) and the appended ‘Supporting Information’ section in Biology articles. Taken together, these candidates accounted for some 20,000 occurrences in the corpus (i.e. one word in 50).

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3. Results The procedure outlined above confirmed the presence of relevant markers (well, good, better, best, poor; problem*; positive, negative; error; right), to which 17 additional items belonging to the same word classes and/or semantic groups were added (bad, badly, worse, worst, worsen*, improve*; problematic, problematically, unproblematic; positively, negatively, errors, erroneous, erroneously; rightly, wrong, wrongly).4 Their distribution was as follows: ITEMS Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E

well, best, good, better, improve*, improvement*


poor, poorly, bad, worst, badly, worse, worsen*


positive, positively


negative, negatively


right, rightly


wrong, wrongly




problem*, problematic, problematically error*, erroneous, erroneously


1,094 134 32 364





Table 2. Goodness markers in corpus (validated occurrences).

The results suggest that Goodness is normally signalled in its most vague, undefined variant, as shown by the prominence of Group A (64% of all markers). Alternatively, but not often, more specific facets of this value are mentioned, namely problematicity (Group D), positivity (Group B), erroneousness (Group E) and rightness (Group C). This seems to contradict the advice of some academic writing instructors to steer clear of such evaluative adjectives as good and poor


The asterisk indicates that morphological variants of a given word were identified (or searched for, in the case of additional items).

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because they are “too weak and too imprecise for use in scientific writing” (Wilkinson 1991: 451).5 Readers of research articles are thus confronted with numerous lexical cues pointing to an eminently ‘fuzzy’ conceptual category embedded in judgements that are seldom explained or justified rationally by the author. Such realisations are acceptable only because they rely on a consensus prompted by reticence rather than argumentation. The excerpts below show how Goodness markers run through the text (often unnoticed) in various disciplines: (1)

Overall, we found hard, partially-carbonated sediment that was only sensitive to water in isolated points. Embedded in it was a very complete fossil in a good state of preservation with well-demarcated fissures. (ANTH1)


RillGrow2 predicts a wide area of high velocity in the bottom part of the plot which corresponds fairly well to the concave area of reddish sand deposits that can be seen in Figs. 1 and 3 [...] All models have a better fit at low velocities than at higher ones. (ENG10)


The experimenter briefly introduced these episodes by stating that she is searching for the right information to answer the question [...] Instructions for the experimenter emphasized that both problems should indicate bad organization on the side of the legal expert. (CS8)

The same items can also be classified by part of speech and according to their polarity along the evaluative axis (i.e. desirable or undesirable). Table 3 below shows how Goodness markers fit these two criteria: a majority of occurrences signal the value’s positive (‘goodness’ rather than ‘badness’) and the percentage is particularly high for verbs (98%), followed by adverbs (83%) and adjectives (71%); on the other hand 90% of nouns, especially thanks to the item problem, encode ‘badness’. This means that undesireability (at least in the case of Goodness) is marked far less often than desireability, and is almost always nominalised: accordingly, nouns account for 59% of negative but only 5% of positive items.


An interesting reference quoted by Perez-Llantada Auría (2008: 130).

Davide S. Giannoni

76 POSITIVE Adjectives






















Table 3. Goodness markers mapped by polarity and part of speech.

The literature on evaluation offers some support to these results. For example, three of the goodness-marking qualifiers identified here (good, best, right) are among the main attributive qualifiers6 in Biber et al.’s (2002) academic prose corpus. Morevoer, there is evidence that attitudinal adverbs correlate above all with of the overt expression of persuasion typical of the ‘academic stance’ (Biber et al. 2004: 59). A quantitative assessment of such realisations would be pointless, however, without some understanding of their rhetorical function within the research article genre. As remarked recently (Perez-Llantada Auría 2008: 143): [The] phraseology of stance not only allows writers to evaluate existing knowledge and claim centrality of new findings (on the autonomous plane of discourse), but also engages readers and convinces them that the author’s claims are valid or useful (on the interactive plane of discourse).

The next step, in line with the aims of this study, is to look at the distribution of goodness-marking lexis across disciplines. This is possible only if the occurrences observed in each section of the corpus are standardised to make them comparable. The overall picture is given in Table 4.


Positive qualifiers favour attribution, while predication is preferred for negative qualifiers. This is borne out by the data presented here, with the predicative position (syntactic foregrounding) prevalent only in the case of problematic and worse.

Value Marking in an Academic Genre



35.4 26.7 25.7



20.5 16.3 15.0



13.8 12.0 9.8 4.2



Table 4. Goodness-marking intensity by discipline (occurrences/10,000 words).

The figures show that interdisciplinary variation is considerable, with an eightfold difference between the top (CS) and the bottom of the list (MATH). Goodness is marked most often in three different domains, all sharing a very real concern for the assessment of aptness – i.e. of what ‘works’ – in their field, in terms of technology (CS, ENG) or methodological solutions (ECO). The prominence given to Goodness is arguably a reflection of this orientation. At the other end of the spectrum are the so-called ‘hard sciences’, intent on describing natural (BIO, PHY) or rational (MATH) phenomena rather than evaluating aptness.

4. Type of marker The same data yields some interesting insights into interdisciplinary variation if broken down by group. The extent of their variation (illustrated in Figure 1) is indicative of how each domain draws differently, in quantitative as well as qualitative terms, upon the lexical repertoire communicating ‘Goodness’. If classified by part of speech, adjectives are most prominent in ENG (60% markers, especially best), adverbs in BIO (54%, esp. well), nouns in MATH (45%, esp. problem*) and verbs in MED (24%, esp. improve*). The paragraphs

Davide S. Giannoni


that follow describe the most common realisations observed in the corpus, together with some indication of the qualified entities associated with such evaluations. 40






B 20 A 15



0 CS










Figure 1. Goodness-marking groups across disciplines (occurrences/10,000 words).

4.1. Good/bad (Group A) Items in Group A account for 64% of Goodness markers but deviate from the general pattern insofar as they peak not in CS but in ENG. They express this value above all as a procedural (well) or comparative quality (better, best), suggesting that the base form good is less salient. Well collocates in 73% of cases with a past participle quailfying physical or intellectual events subsequent to their occurrence (the most common pairings were well + defined/established/developed/understood): (4)

Subcellular synapse organization is a prominent feature of neuronal wiring specificity, but the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms are not well understood. (BIO6)

Value Marking in an Academic Genre


Better collocates chiefly with understanding, performance and practice*, which indicates a tendency to qualify above all scientific enquiry and its methods: (5)

Upgrading management is a costly investment and some firms may simply find that these costs outweigh the benefits of moving to better practices. In other words, although improving management practices increase productivity, profits will not rise. (ECO10)

Best peaks in ENG, where it almost exclusively qualifies the noun model. Elsewhere, with the exception of HIST, it tends to describe procedural aspects of research (e.g. alignments, fit, outcomes, predictors): (6)

Comparative analysis of the four forecasting methods for 1 day lead-time Table 12 shows the results of the best model of each method for 1 day leadtime forecasting. (ENG3)

Good is used above all to evaluate data, statistical tools or modelling, as shown by its top collocates example*, agreement, approximation and fit (management in ECO). It only occasionally qualifies intellectual activity or occurs in its moral, non-utilitarian sense. (7)

Among DE models, ACDM, although it contains a cosmological constant which can be seen as ‘unnaturally’ small, is the simplest model and this model is presently in good agreement with observations on large scales (see, however, e.g. [4]). (PHY8)

Premodification of these markers is uncommon: out of 155 instances of good, only three were hedged (by quite, relatively) and four were boosted (very, remarkably, particularly). The negative polarity was also a minor occurrence, with bad and poor peaking in ECO (in conjunction with practices, managers, performance), followed by HIST and PHY: (8)

More generally, a range of background characteristics, potentially correlated with good and bad managers, may generate some kinds of systematic bias in the survey data. (ECO10)

Davide S. Giannoni


Finally, worst is most common in HIST, where it attributively underscores aspects of human experience viewed as particularly undesirable by scholars (and others): (9)

Tagore objected to this, not just because he found violence morally unacceptable, but because it copied the worst feature of English imperialism – the use of brutality to achieve dominance over others. (HIST2)

4.2. Positive/negative (Group B) This was the third group in size (8% of Goodness markers). It consists primarily of evaluative attributive adjectives encoding the conventional POSITIVE IS GOOD–NEGATIVE IS BAD metaphor, drawn from the world of accountancy. In order to consider only relevant occurrences, the concordances had to be carefully checked, excluding from the count merely mathematical/statistical uses. Thus positive was found to qualify almost exclusively human behaviour, which makes positivity a particularly subjective/emotive concept. Accordingly, it is prominent in CS (which deals with human-computer interaction) and SOC, but is absent in BIO, ENG, MATH and MED: (10)

Among the 32 explorers, we classified as modest explorers the 10 adoptees who reported a range of experiences, from those who narrated their available contacts as positive opportunities even if they did not choose to pursue them, to those who pursued but limited their participation in some way. (SOC7)

The qualifier negative is also strongly associated with human experience (i.e. emotions in CS, publicity in SOC) and, interestingly, it is 43% more frequent as a value marker than its antonym: (11)

It is obvious that only some of the specific positive or negative emotions assessed in this experiment correlate significantly with the dispositional variables PA and NA, judgments of counseling quality, and learning outcomes. (CS8)

In some instances, however, the distinction between evaluative and statistical meanings was (perhaps deliberately) blurred.

Value Marking in an Academic Genre


4.3. Right/wrong (Group C) A mere 2% of Goodness markers belonged to this group. Its distribution in the corpus indicates that qualifying something as right or wrong is particularly relevant to CS and HIST articles. Right invariably qualifies the behaviour of computer users in the former, while in the latter it is used as a dialectic or moral category: (12)

Beverages, in particular, were inherently suspect. The Hanafi legal tradition, which had become the preeminent legal school within the Ottoman Empire, had long looked upon them with misgiving. People had to be careful about using them with the right intentions. (HIST6)

Unlike its antonym, wrong is more often used predicatively than attributively, especially in conjunction with reported knowledge claims, whether integral or non-integral. Its marked position is indicative of the stigma (cf. Myers 1989) attached to negative evaluations in academic discourse: (13)

The disparity in timing and magnitude between root extension and eruption rates highlighted in this study has implications for estimating M1 emergence time in fossil specimens. It suggests that it is wrong to view root extension rates as the single causative factor underlying earlier or later gingival emergence. (ANTH10)

4.4. Problem (Group D) The second largest group of Goodness markers (21%) is used to signal a wide range of undesirable developments deserving attention. The noun problem* – which peaks in CS, followed at a distance by HIST and PHY – is often used anaphorically (this problem), while the problem* of is the preferred three-word cluster: (14)

There are different ways of combating this problem, yet the prevailing conclusion is that if groups welcome the consideration of multiple viewpoints and minority opinions into their discussions, information sharing and decision making will improve. (CS2)

Davide S. Giannoni


When selecting relevant occurrences of problem*, those denoting a deliberate theoretical construct rather than a difficulty encountered by the researcher (chiefly in ECO and MATH) had to be ignored. A structural cue to this distinction were the clusters the X problem (nonevaluative) and the problem of X (evaluative). Albeit generally infrequent, problematic was more common than problem* in SOC and ANTH. In line with its negative polarity, over 70% of occurrences are used predicatively (mainly to qualify methodological options, data interpretation and theory building): (15)

Using cranial capacity as a proxy for brain size can be problematic because the relationship of brain weight to the volume of the cranium has a slight negative allometry (i.e., species or individuals with larger brains have a smaller brain weight relative to their cranial capacity). (ANTH8)

4.5. Error (Group E) This group accounted for only 5% of markers. Like the previous, it encodes the negative polarity of Goodness, qualifying aspects that deviate from what is considered desirable. Accordingly, occurrences encoding statistical error, as opposed to human or technical error (due to misjudgement or bad design) were excluded from the count. The noun error* (94% of Group E items) peaks in ECO,7 followed by CS and ANTH, while elsewhere its presence is negligible: (16)

Intuitively, if the marginal procedure is completely unnecessary, then the probability of a medical error leading to liability will be higher with surgery than without surgery. (ECO9)

Significantly, the connection between errors and their originators is usually concealed, so that they seem to arise spontaneously. Responsi-


The relatively high figure for ECO partly reflects the fact that one of the papers deals with the financial implications of medical error. There is an inevitable link, therefore, between the occurrence of certain lexical items and the range of topics covered by the documents in the corpus.

Value Marking in an Academic Genre


bility is attached to human agents only when these are external to the discipline: (17)

We used Soukoreff and Mackenzies’ (2003) total error rate metric. This metric accounts for both corrected and uncorrected errors made by the participants and provides a single total error rate. (CS10)

The avoidance of realisations threatening the in-group’s face is a wellknown feature of specialised discourse, corroborated by recent evidence (cf. Giannoni 2011) that it applies even in serious cases of academic misconduct.

5. Discussion and conclusions Even if every possible wording (including indirect realisations and various figures of speech) were considered, no corpus can be expected to reveal everything about its authors; as noted by Hyland, research articles do not tell the whole story, they are only “the public face of a scientific discipline” (1997: 21). While the lexemes and phrases capable of encoding meanings related to the value system are potentially unlimited, their investigation is not impossible (cf. Römer 2008) if it concentrates on explicit markers close to the semantic core of the target value. The methodology developed for this study allows the identification of value-marking lexis in a written corpus, using a combination of automatic-processing tools and manual techniques. Line-by-line inspection of the concordances revealed that half (49%) of wordlist occurrences were in fact irrelevant, due to polysemy, proper names and idioms. The results show that Goodness is most evident in the Social Sciences (20.8 occurrences/10,000 words), followed by the Mathematical Sciences and the Applied Sciences (19.8 each), the Human Sciences (18.4) and the Natural Sciences (10.9). The prominence of Goodness in the Social Sciences (ECO, HIST) agrees with Becher and Trowler’s (2001) argument that they are particularly ‘value-laden’, compared to other domains. The consider-


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able differences observed within these pairings, however, suggest they are only loosely indicative of similar value-marking practices. Unlike evaluations, which are speech acts requiring some kind of justification, values are named rather than claimed. Thus goodness markers qualify their target subjectively but in ways that are accessible to readers thanks to a common conceptual framework. In so doing, academics reproduce normative meanings whose authority cannot be challenged, which “is exactly why values are so precious for the maintenance of social cohesion” (Miceli/Castelfranchi 1989: 191). Like other values, Goodness is not exclusive to academia but this does not undermine its importance. In fact the familiarity of the lexis involved may lead readers to overlook textual cues whose apparent insignificance merely adds to their discursive-argumentative power. Because of its novelty, the approach taken here will need to be extended to other genres (cf. Giannoni 2009) and disciplines for a more balanced assessment of findings. The inclusion of learner corpora (as in Breeze 2011), for example, could shed light on differences in value-marking behaviour between expert and novice writers. An ‘axiologically proficient’ academic should be capable of expressing value-related judgements as appropriate to his/her discipline, in terms of lexis, markedness and collocations. In research articles, where “significant issues are raised, defined, and debated” (Berkenkotter et al. 1991: 192), signalling the right value at the right time through the right wording can make or break an academic argument. Inexperienced writers do not always appreciate what aspects of research deserve to be prized or stigmatised through appropriate evaluative acts (cf. Mei 2006) and can only benefit from such insights.

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References Becher, Tony 1981. Towards a Definition of Disciplinary Cultures. Studies in Higher Education 6/2, 109-122. Becher, Tony / Trowler, Paul R. 22001. Academic Tribes and Territories. Intellectual Enquiry and the Culture of Disciplines. Buckingham: SRHE & Open University Press. Berkenkotter, Carol / Huckin, Thomas N. 1995. Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication. Cognition/Culture/Power. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Berkenkotter, Carol / Huckin, Thomas N. / Ackerman, John 1991. Social Context and Socially Constructed Texts. The Initiation of a Graduate Student into a Writing Research Community. In Bazerman, Charles / Paradis, James (eds) Textual Dynamics of the Professions. Historical and Contemporary Studies of Writing in Professional Communities. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 191-215. Biber, Douglas / Conrad, Susan / Leech, Geoffrey 2002. Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London: Longman. Biber, Douglas / Conrad, Susan M. / Reppen, Randi / Byrd, Pat / Helt, Marie / Clark, Victoria / Cortes, Viviana / Csomay, Eniko / Urzua, Alfredo 2004. Representing Language Use in the University: Analysis of the TOEFL 2000 Spoken and Written Academic Language Corpus. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Breeze, Ruth 2011. Disciplinary Values in Legal Discourse: A Corpus Study. Ibérica 21, 93-116. Conrad, Susan / Biber, Douglas 2000. Adverbial Marking of Stance in Speech and Writing. In Hunston, Susan / Thompson, Geoff (eds) Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 55-73. Del Lungo Camiciotti, Gabriella / Tognini Bonelli, Elena (eds) 2004. Academic Discourse – New Insights into Evaluation. Bern: Peter Lang.


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Dossena, Marina / Jucker, Andreas (eds) 2007. (R)evolutions in Evaluation. Special issue of Textus 20/1. Genoa: Tilgher. Downes, William 2000. The Language of Felt Experience: Emotional, Evaluative and Intuitive. Language and Literature 9/2, 99-121. Fløttum, Kjersti / Dahl, Trine / Kinn, Torodd 2006. Academic Voices. Across Languages and Disciplines. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Giannoni, Davide S. 2009. Disciplinary Values in English Academic Metaphors. Linguistica e Filologia 28, 173-191. Available at . Giannoni, Davide S. 2010. Mapping Academic Values in the Disciplines. Bern: Peter Lang. Giannoni, Davide S. 2011. ‘Don’t Be Stupid about Intelligent Design’: Confrontational Impoliteness in Medical Journal Editorials. In Salager-Meyer, Françoise / Lewin, Beverly A. (eds) Crossed Words: Criticism in Scholarly Writing. Bern: Peter Lang, 79-98. Gross, Alan G. / Harmon, Joseph E. / Reidy, Michael 2002. Communicating Science. The Scientific Article from the 17th Century to the Present. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hunston, Susan / Thompson, Geoff (eds) 2000. Evaluation in Text. Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse Oxford: Oxford University Press Hyland, Ken 1997. Scientific Claims and Community Values. Language and Communication 17/1, 19-31. Hyland, Ken 2000. Disciplinary Discourses. Social Interactions in Academic Writing. Harlow: Pearson Education. JCR 2005. Journal Citation Reports. New York: Thomson Reuters. Online databank. . Mei, Wu Siew 2006. The Operation of Value in Undergraduate English Language Essays. Reflections on English Language Teaching 5/1, 123-140. Miceli, Maria / Castelfranchi, Cristiano 1989. A Cognitive Approach to Values. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 19/2, 169-193. Myers, Greg 1989. The Pragmatics of Politeness in Scientific Articles. Applied Linguistics 10/1, 1-35.

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Pèrez-Llantada Auría, Maria Carmen 2008. Stance and Academic Promotionalism: A Cross-Disciplinary Comparison in the Soft Sciences. Atlantis 30, 129-145. Römer, Ute 2008. Identification Impossible? A Corpus Approach to Realisations of Evaluative Meaning in Academic Writing. Functions of Language 15/1, 115-130. Scott, Mike 2007. WordSmith Tools 5.0. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Shaw, Philip 2004. How do we Recognise Implicit Evaluation in Academic Book Reviews? In Del Lungo Camiciotti, Gabriella / Tognini Bonelli, Elena (eds) Academic Discourse – New Insights into Evaluation. Bern: Peter Lang, 121-140. Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis. English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. 2004. Research Genres. Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thetela, Puleng 1997. Evaluated Entities and Parameters of Value in Academic Research Articles. English for Specific Purposes 16/2, 101-118. Thompson, Geoff / Hunston, Susan 2000. Evaluation: An Introduction. In Hunston/Thompson (eds), 1-27. Wilkinson, Antoinette 1991. The Scientist’s Handbook for Writing Papers and Dissertations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.


‘Such a reaction would spread all over the cell like a forest fire’: A Corpus Study of Argument by Analogy in Scientific Discourse

1. Introduction Over the last few years, studies on academic discourse have increasingly been adopting a genre-based perspective: Swales (2004) refines his scholarly contribution on English in research settings by discussing the rhetorical tools and underlying writing practices of the main communicative events shaping up the dissemination of knowledge from a popular to a more inherently specialised level. From a more restricted disciplinary viewpoint, Bondi (2009) focuses on the discursive mechanisms regulating the establishment of different time settings in historical research papers, with in-depth corpus insights into the peculiar element of chrononyms, noun groups identifying periodisation and at once giving rise to authorial evaluation as well as distinctive textual patterns. A common aspect to a considerable number of those studies has been the emphasis on research articles as the genre credited with the lion’s share in the circulation of academic expertise at its most advanced level. In this context, argumentation has often been pointed out as a central cross-disciplinary dimension of research articles, where the rhetorically convincing presentation of findings plays a crucial role in the transformation of empirical data into widely accepted scientific facts (cf. Swales 1990; Hyland 2005; Mazzi 2010). On this ground, a question worth addressing seems to be what methodology is best suited for a rigorous study of argument forms and the related discursive formulation in research papers. In spite of the wealth of informa-


Davide Mazzi

 tion that interdisciplinary approaches could bring to sharpen existing knowledge on the issue, the relationship between corpus linguistics and argumentation studies has all too frequently looked like a gap still waiting to be bridged. On the one hand, only recently have argumentation studies been calling for the adoption of corpus perspectives (cf. Plantin 2002); on the other hand, the systematic study of large amounts of authentic language secured by corpus tools has only partially been implemented for the investigation of specific argument forms (cf. Mazzi 2011b). In an attempt to provide a contribution to the integration of argumentation studies with corpus linguistics, this chapter discusses the use of discursive resources behind a widespread form of argument such as analogy. Argument by analogy was dealt with both in ancient rhetoric (Book II of Aristotle’s Rhetoric) and in modern classics, whereby Locke has praised reasoning from analogy as a valuable way of disclosing the ‘gradual connection’ of things, thus leading to truths that would otherwise remain concealed (Book IV of the Essay). More recently, analogy was extensively explored by Perelman/OlbrechtsTyteca (1958) pointing out the different levels of relationship between themes and fora – i.e. the two terms conventionally paralleled by analogical reasoning – until it was further delved into in recent argumentation studies (Van Eemeren/Grootendorst 1992; Garssen 1997; Kloosterhuis 2005). For the purpose of this study, Van Eemeren/ Grootendorst’s (1992: 97) broad view of analogy was adopted: The argumentation is presented as if there were a resemblance, a likeness, a parallel, a correspondence or some other kind of similarity between that which is stated in the argument and that which is stated in the standpoint.

This definition may be disputed: with specific reference to scholarly research, for instance, Swales (personal communication) prefers to distinguish analogies from similarities, maintaining that the former only involve two entities from different domains, whereas similarities approach two close entities from the same domain (but cf. Juthe 2005). However, the above definition, by which similarity is ultimately encompassed within analogy, was eventually taken as a benchmark for the sake of simplicity.

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Despite the frequency of analogical reasoning across discourse areas (Mazzi forthcoming), there is good evidence that argument by analogy has only recently been tackled from the viewpoint of its underlying discursive tools (Whaley 1998; Van Eemeren et al. 2007: 138-140; Tseronis, forthcoming). In light of this, the primary aim of this chapter is to integrate Van Eemeren et al.’s (2007) rich account with a more systematic study of linguistic resources activating analogical reasoning. In particular, the chapter is intended to reap the harvest of a fruitful integration of corpus and discourse perspectives (Swales 2009) in the analysis of language tools, for the purpose of observing the broader discursive mechanisms activated by the occurrence of argument by analogy within a corpus of specialised language. Section 2 outlines the main criteria for corpus design as well as the methodological premises, whereas Section 3 presents the main findings of the study, which are finally discussed in Section 4.

2. Materials and methods The study is based on a small synchronic corpus of 140 authentic medico-scientific research articles (RAs) taken from fourteen specialised journals.1 The corpus includes papers published between June and September 2007, and it consists of 510,253 words altogether.  1

The specialised journals were selected on the basis of chiefly exogenous criteria, i.e. the feedback provided by the staff of the Ph.D. School in Clinical and Experimental Medicine of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy). In particular, the following publications were included: British Journal of Dermatology (BJD), Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), Blood Cells, Molecules and Diseases (BCMD), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS), Cancer Research (CR), British Journal of Haematology (BJD), Artificial Organs (AO), Proteome Science (PS), Clinical Chemistry (CC), Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis (JPBA), Science (SC) and Current Opinions in Genetics and Development (COGD). 


Davide Mazzi

 From a methodological point of view, the focus was on ‘argumentative indicators’ of argument by analogy (Van Eemeren et al. 2007: 2), i.e. all those language markers that, from single word forms to larger phraseological units, may signal the writer’s recourse to analogy in argumentation. For this purpose, the whole set of argumentative indicators provided by Van Eemeren et al. (2007) was borrowed and, first of all, subjected to a concordance-based analysis (Scott 2008) to differentiate analogical from non-analogical occurrences of each item.2 Secondly, the detailed study of analogical occurrences of argumentative indicators led to a preliminary classification of analogies on the basis of Juthe (2005), who distinguishes samedomain analogies from their different-domain cognates. Thirdly, the distribution of analogies across RA sections was observed and finally, the most outstanding textual functions fulfilled by argument by analogy were identified for each section, by examining the collocational surroundings (Sinclair 1996) of the selected argumentative indicators. At each stage of the study, qualitative remarks were supplemented with adequate quantitative insights.

3. Results In the wake of Van Eemeren et al.’s (2007) extensive list of argumentative indicators of analogy, twelve items were extracted. Since selected items do not invariably signal the argument form investigated here, the concordance-based study of each element in context brought  2

In this respect, it was noted that the overall raw frequency of the top four items ranges from 500 to 3,123 tokens. By virtue of the outstandingly high frequency, the following procedure was adopted for those indicators (cf. also Mazzi 2011a): a sample of 50 occurrences was analysed in order to identify any regularities in terms of the distribution of analogical and non-analogical occurrences. Then, the same procedure was applied to other samples, until 300 occurrences were reached. The substantial homogeneity of patterns in the data allowed for the extrapolation of figures related to sampled occurrences to the whole set of attested corpus entries. 

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the preliminary evidence summarised in Table 1. Here, the middle and right-hand column respectively report the overall raw frequency of indicators, and the number of occurrences where each item is attested to be used as an analogy marker. Items

Overall raw frequency


3,123 1,055 729 500 320 240 159 72 27 24 18 16

Indicators of argument by analogy 188 364 189 419 112 30 109 24 4 3 9 16

Table 1. Frequency of indicators of argument by analogy out of total overall frequency of each selected item.

Table 1 does not provide an exhaustive repertoire of language resources expressing argument by analogy in medico-scientific research articles. Nonetheless, the range of items above represents a good starting point for a rigorous study of the argument form chosen as a case in point. As a matter of fact, Table 1 includes both lemmas marked by the wildcard * covering for a variety of forms – e.g. similar* standing for similarity, similarities and similarly alike – and forms stretching over a range of lexico-grammatical categories, from connectives (cf. likewise) to adjectives (see same, similar and analogous). The analogical occurrences of each indicator served as a basis for both a preliminary classification of attested analogies, and a quantitative overview of the distribution of analogy across RA sections. To begin with, data reveal that analogies tend to be largely same-domain, thus establishing a straightforward correlation between two entities commonly associated with the same field as in (1), where the analogy


Davide Mazzi

 is between cell proliferation and growth on the one hand, and differentiation on the other, all of these clearly designating cellular processes:3 (1)

Not only are cell proliferation and growth regulated spatially and temporally, like differentiation is, but the generation and growth of tissue is also a prerequisite for patterning of cell fates. (COGD)

The only exception to this trend is like. This item expresses differentdomain analogies – i.e. the only ones according to Perelman/ Olbrechts-Tyteca (1958) – in 26.7% of its occurrences, where it is interestingly used either within hyphenated forms where it is compounded to nouns standing as the analogue – cf. pyramid-like, saddlelike, balloon-like, crown-like etc. – or in absolute terms as in (2): (2)

Most cases exhibited the classic appearance of interconnected, double-layered ducts embedded in chondromyxoid or fibromyxoid matrix (Fig 2, A). In some cases tubular structures intersected in reticulated or retiform patterns (Fig 2, B), and the so-called racemiform pattern – an appearance like a cluster of grapes or a bunch of berries formed by epithelial cells – was present in 10 cases (4%) (Fig 2, C). (JAAD)

Here, the analogical link involves the racemiform pattern of epithelial cells, an inherently anatomical concept, and clusters of grapes and berries, i.e. objects with absolutely no affinity to anatomy per se yet called into question to facilitate the reader’s understanding of the complex description of tubular structures provided in the paper. In the main, the point behind same-domain analogies seems to be the writer’s attempt to look for and draw the reader’s attention to patterns in the data, thereby establishing high degrees of proximity between phenomena. On the other hand, recourse to different-domain analogies is motivated by the writer’s effort to provide sophisticated descriptions of empirical findings with a stronger visual impact, by taking advantage of the commonsensical nature of the entities employed as fora.  3

In every example, the source is indicated in brackets following the acronyms provided in footnote 1. Moreover, indicators of argument by analogy are in italics, whereas any salient collocate mentioned in the section is highlighted in bold.

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There appears to be a convergence of analogies in terms of their distribution across RA sections, no matter whether they belong to the categories of same- or different-domain analogy. There is strong evidence that argument by analogy mainly clusters in Results and Discussion sections, where it was observed in 47.2% and 26.4% of the occurrences of its argumentative indicators: this may not come as a surprise, because these two sections are predictably those where argumentation becomes most evident, with writers trying to present their data in a convincing way and therefore to consolidate the research space occupied by their study. By contrast, a more limited presence of argument by analogy was noted in the first two sections of RAs, with a mere 13.8% for Introductions and 12.6% for Methodology. By reason of their preference for Results and Discussion, most of the rest of the section is devoted to the empirical description of the textual functions fulfilled by argumentative indicators of analogy in these contexts. Firstly, the deployment of argument by analogy within the Results section appears to be associated with two main functions. The first one is to establish empirical regularities between data under analysis at a variety of levels: to begin with, analogy may serve the purpose of spelling out homogeneous patterns with regard to patients’ response to administered therapies (cf. 3 and 4 below), as in 88.5% of the occurrences of like in this RA section as well as 44 occurrences of as in, which turns in into the most frequent collocate of as: (3)

Like several MS therapies, GA is only partially effective. It is recognized that the magnitude of clinical benefit observed in EAE does not necessarily correlate to a drug’s potency in MS, a more complex disease. EAE is useful for evaluating the mechanism of action of established MS treatments and for preclinical assessment of new therapeutic approaches considered for development in MS. (NM)


Although Patient 4 has had several transfusions the anemia is not sufficiently severe for a splenectomy, as in the case of Patient 7 (Table 1), who was compound heterozygous for the p.Ile131del and p.Arg510Gln mutation. (BCMD)

Furthermore, analogy may be used to shed light on regularities concerning either the chemistry of cells and various substances such as proteins or enzymes – as in 32.6% of the occurrences of similar* in


Davide Mazzi

 Results (cf. 5) – or processes of clinical interest, e.g. cell migration, differentiation, patterning and tumor morphology (cf. 6 and 7): (5)

Larger tumors (1-4 mm diameter) seemed relatively well perfused with generally low levels of pimonidazole staining. In HT29 tumors, the patterns of pimonidazole and CA9 positivity were similar. (CR)


The mechanisms of the anti-adipogenic effect of Npy2r in stressed mice, as in B6.V-Lepob/J mice, involved apoptosis of endothelial cells and adipocytes, as indicated by positive TUNEL (Fig. 2d) and active caspase-3 (Fig. 3e) staining in these cells (Supplementary Fig. 1) and also inhibition of preadipocyte proliferation (as tested by decreased Ki67 staining; Supplementary Fig. 1). (NM)


Like the Neu-YD strain, Neu-YC and Neu-YE transgenic mice exhibited similar tumor phenotypes (Table 1). All three transgenic strains developed mammary tumors with a shorter latency compared with NDL2-5, Neu-YB, and Neu-NYPD females. Moreover, Neu-YC-, Neu-YD-, and Neu-YE-induced tumors displayed a solid nodular morphology similar to that observed in the parental NDL2-5 strain. (CR)

Finally, the writer’s argument may rest on parallels between animals to be sacrificed for the sake of scientific truth (guinea pigs, rats etc.), and humans, thereby prompting the writer’s conclusion about the clinical implications of experiments for human beings. This is well illustrated in (8), which is representative of 50% of the occurrences of as well in Results: (8)

All five NHL and four multiple myeloma samples (Supplementary Table 1 online) responded to Hh pathway inhibition (Fig. 1h), implying an important role for hedgehog signaling in lymphoma and multiple myeloma in humans as well. (NM)

In all these cases, the presence of argument by analogy is often revealed by the co-occurrence of argumentative indicators with the typical phraseology to be found in Results sections, i.e. we observed that…, we found that…, Fig. 2 shows that… and there was no correlation between…, to name but a few. The second major function of argument by analogy in Results is to enrich the presentation of findings with authorial comments, thus anticipating the forthcoming Discussion section. This aspect can be

A Corpus Study of Argument by Analogy in Scientific Discourse


signaled by the collocation of indicators of argument by analogy with expressions implying varying degrees of boosting, from the robustly assertive these observations argued that… to the more balanced these data indicate that… and these results indicated that…, or the cautious and most definitely hedged these observations are indicative of…: the preference for this type of collocational trend holds for 15.4% and 28.5% of the occurrences of like and as did respectively (9 and 10): (9)

Thus, like the parental NDL2-5 strain, mammary-specific expression of either the Neu-YC or Neu-YE transgene results in the efficient induction of metastatic mammary tumors. These observations argued that the recruitment of specific adaptors, such as Grb2 (YB) and Shc (YD), to the receptor regulates distinct biological processes controlling Neu-induced mammary tumorigenesis and metastasis. (CR)


Dysferlin expression at the cell surface increased after secretogogue treatment, just as did flavocytochrome b558 expression. These data indicate that, like flavocytochrome b558, dysferlin is recruited from intracellular vesicles to fuse at the PMV and that the dysferlin detected in resting PMN was in SV and not due to contamination with other light membrane organelles. (PS)

Moreover, the use of indicators of argument by analogy to bring in authorial comments is also correlated with the expression of evaluation (Hunston/Thompson 2000), mainly through adjectives and sentence adverbs. For instance, analogy was observed to pave the way to authorial evaluation, i.e. the writers’ viewpoint on or feelings about what they are writing about, in 37.5% of the occurrences of both in Results: (11)

Patients in both groups showed either no or mild erythema and edema. No patients had obvious exudates or phlegmonosis during specific time points of assessments in the study. No abnormal humoral or cellular immune responses to TE-skin were detected. In other words, the application of TE-skin is safe and does no harm to patients with various acute skin defects. (AO)

Finally, the ultimate essence of authorial comments activated, as it were, by analogies, may be to emphasise a sense of consistency between current findings and relevant literature, a highly-valued rhetorical effort on the part of writers willing to corroborate the strength


Davide Mazzi

 of their findings. This is true for the whole of the nine occurrences of as reported as well as for 50% of the entries of also in Results, as is clearly visible in (12): (12)

The cutaneous manifestations of our AS patients lacked the large violaceous to erythematous plaques and ecchymoses characteristic of AS, as reported by Billings, Brenn, and Fineberg.[5], [6] and [22] The diagnostic problem of the variable clinical appearance of post-radiotherapy AS has also been noted by Rao et al. (JAAD)

Moving from Results to Discussion, the role of analogy in the concluding section of research articles appears to be threefold. First of all, corpus data point to indicators of argument by analogy as a useful tool to preface and at once cunningly strengthen tentative interpretations of data provided afterwards. This is well signaled by the strong collocational tie between analogy and a key-element of interactional metadiscourse (Hyland 2005), notably hedges expressing the writer’s view in a cautious and circumspect manner. This was noted in 43.5% of the occurrences of like in Discussions, where the item collocates with such forms as this may be the result of… or …are possible mechanisms…: (13)

The epithelial cells cultured in a serum-free medium typically are shaped like general epithelial cells. The shape of cells did not change even with culture over 10 passages, presumably because the corneal epithelial cells were isolated from the limbus containing the stem cells (data not shown). (AO)

Secondly, analogy was found to be a tool to establish a critical relationship between current findings and items of influential previous research at four main levels; to begin with, by problematising results in light of relevant research, as in 25% of the occurrences of like (cf. 14); then, by stressing agreement with prior studies, as for the whole of the three occurrences of as has been seen (cf. 15); moreover, by establishing the news value of current findings with respect to available research, which was observed for 32.5% of the entries of similar (cf. 16); and finally, by pointing to discrepancies between current results and previous studies, as is the case with 8.7% of corpus data for like in Discussions (cf. 17):

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Like the parental NDL2-5 tumors, all Neu mutant tumors expressed elevated levels of ErbB-3 (Fig. 3B). However, unlike the other Neu mutants, NYPD tumors exhibited significantly reduced tyrosine phosphorylation (Fig. 3B). This low basal level of ErbB-3 transphosphorylation was further correlated with impaired phosphorylation of a key tyrosine residue Y877 located within the activation loop of the catalytic domain of Neu. Indeed, a recent study showed that the tyrosine residue Y877 of the ErbB-2 receptor may play an important role in the regulation of ErbB-2 signaling. These observations suggest that the Neu-NYPD mutant possesses reduced kinase activity resulting in low phosphorylation of the kinase dead ErbB-3 receptor. Consistent with these findings, we provide evidence that the COOH-terminal phosphorylation domain of ErbB-1 negatively influences receptor kinase activity. (CR)


Previous microarray studies of primary AML samples have demonstrated an association of FLT3/ITD mutations with a particular gene expression pattern (Ross et al, 2004; Valk et al, 2004). The results from our study show an overlap with these primary data. For example, PIM1 and IL1RAP were both greatly over-expressed in the studies (Table SIII). Continuous treatment with TKIs may select for resistant clones, as has been seen with patients receiving Gleevac for chronic myeloid leukaemia (Gorre et al, 2001). One mechanism of resistance includes mutations in the targeted kinases that render them resistant to drug inhibition, as has been seen for at least one patient on a FLT3 inhibitor trial (Heidel et al, 2006). (BJH)


Analogous to previous reports, we observed myxoid changes around eccrine and apocrine glands. In addition, in 4 cases eccrine glands displayed a peculiar change characterized by irregularly branching lumens in the parts and enlargement of the outer layer cells that contained ample round cytoplasm, were round with well-delineated cellular membrane, thus imitating a pagetoid spread. Mehregan delimited 4 main patterns, and our cases with branching lesions may be similar to one of them, although pagetoid-like change in eccrine glands may be a new finding. (JAAD)


Like LDL-C, NT-pro-BNP is an established biomarker not only for the diagnosis of heart failure (30) but also for the prediction of mortality in patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes (31)(32)(33) or stable coronary disease (34) and in asymptomatic individuals in the general population (35). In this study, however, with patients scheduled for coronary angiography, the association of LpPLA2 activity with cardiac and all-cause mortality adjusted for various established risk factors was robust even if NT-pro-BNP was included (Table 2). (CC)


Davide Mazzi

 What is common to these examples is the fact that they do not only show how stratified the relationship can be between the writer’s findings and prior studies, but also how deeply metadiscursive that operation turns out to be. In the attempt to highlight the closeness to or possibly the distance from relevant research, writers make use of analogies that they combine with an extensive deployment of metadiscourse, whose function appears to be to assist text producers both in expressing their point of view and in engaging a readership of expert disciplinary members. As a result, writers both reinforce their argument by means of analogies linking specific pieces of evidence to one another, and they seek to establish a dialogue with disciplinary peers through both interactive metadiscourse, organizing discourse in line with the readers’ needs (Hyland 2005: 50-53) – e.g. transition signals (cf. however in (14) and (17)) and evidentials (microarray studies…have demonstrated (15); Mehregan delimited 4 main patterns (16)) – and interactional metadiscourse concerning authorial intervention in text by means of comments, acknowledgments, suggested interpretations or critical positions with respect to divergent opinions (Hyland 2005: 52-53) – e.g. boosters (indeed (14)), self-mentions (our cases (16); in this study (17)) and again hedges (may be a new finding (16). Finally, argument by analogy in Discussion sections may well serve the purpose of extending the validity and applicability of current findings as much as possible. This concerns 22.2% of the occurrences of not only…but also in this section: (18)

Preservation with a high concentration of glycerol provides good maintenance of native tissue structure. Glycerol has also been proven to possess an antimicrobial function. The method of glycerol preservation is easy to implement and the cost is low. Moreover, the process even reduces immunogenicity of allograft. In this study, we found that corneal stroma, after being preserved with glycerol for 6 months, not only maintained inherent structure and characteristics but also formed dehydrated pores of diameters around 1-20 μm among the collagen fibers. The porous structure was favorable to keratocytes’ migration into the interior of carriers. (AO)

In (18) above, writers do more than just praising the virtues of glycerol in maintaining native tissue structure. Rather, they point to the

A Corpus Study of Argument by Analogy in Scientific Discourse


promising parallel between two effects discovered in their study with reference to the preservation of corneal stroma with glycerol itself: on the one hand, the well-known maintenance of structure, on the other hand the formation of dehydrated pores, which contributes to extending the scope of findings and accordingly shows promise for further research on the grounds that keratocytes’ migration is exactly favoured by the porous structure revealed by the investigation. In this respect, it is interesting to note that not only…but also plays a similar role in the discipline of marketing (Malavasi, personal communication): in that context, the item is more rarely used to underlie reasoning by analogy yet it is often designed to enhance the reliability of findings reported in the paper. In spite of its arguably more limited distribution within Introduction and Methods, argument by analogy is also attested across these two sections. In the vast majority of their occurrences there, indicators of the reasoning fulfill the function of establishing the authors’ credentials by emphasising their adoption of standardized and widely-accepted procedures available in literature. For instance, this concerns 35.6% of the 146 occurrences of as in combination with described in Methods, and a similar trend applies to forms like as previously described, as reported and as published. The analogy between the experimental procedures in general use in the relevant research tradition, and the apparatus set up for the current study, is therefore the element that strengthens the credibility of the study, secured by a sense of continuity in procedural design: (19)

Activation of SPHK was determined as described previously (Duan et al, 2006). Briefly, cells were resuspended in ice-cold 0·1 mol/l phosphate buffer (pH 7·4) containing 20% glycerol, 1 mmol/l of mercaptoethanol, 1 mmol/l of EDTA, phosphate inhibitors (1 mmol/l of sodium orthovanadate, 15 mmol/l of sodium fluoride), protease inhibitors (10 μg/ml each of leupeptin, aprotinin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, plus 1 mmol/l of phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride) and 0·5 mmol/l of 4-deoxypyridoxine. (BJH)


Davide Mazzi

4. Conclusions The extensive review of findings provided in Section 3 offers an insight into the centrality of argument by analogy, as defined in Section 1 in the reasoning of professional medico-scientific writers, as well as in the underlying discursive realisation. First of all, evidence has revealed the predominance of same-domain analogies in the genre instantiated by corpus texts; secondly, the combination of quantitative and qualitative investigation has clarified the main functions of analogy across the various sections of research articles, with Results and Discussion standing out as the somewhat preferred loci of this form of argument. To begin with, analogy was identified as a means to reinforce the writer’s argument by overcoming the potentially exceeding fragmentation of specific findings presented in Results sections. From this viewpoint, analogy can be seen as a strategy designed to counterbalance the rhetorical effort to incorporate as much information as possible into research papers (Bazerman 1988): as a matter of fact, analogy makes sure that proper links are established between data, however specific and detailed their display may be. In addition, the study of argumentative indicators of analogy in Discussion sections has shown that this argument form is a useful tool assisting the writer in the consolidation of the research space occupied by the paper, most of all by laying strong emphasis on the news value of the study in comparison with relevant research. In this context, it is significant that the occurrence of analogy often prefaces the writers’ inclination to position their specific contribution with respect to the reference research tradition, either on a line of continuity with the latter, or by stressing the discrepancies between the gaps opened up by past research and the purported success of the current paper in filling them. Finally, a cursory look at the deployment of discursive indicators across Introduction and Methods sections provides evidence that analogy can be seen as a strategy to play safe, as far as the adoption of widely acknowledged methodologies is concerned. The findings documented in Section 3 appear to leave room for promising further research. First of all, the methodology designed for

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this chapter may be applied to other widespread argument forms, e.g. argument e contrario and argument based on examples: after a manual reading of collected texts, one could proceed to the concordance-based analysis of any items which, on the basis of either available literature or the evidence gained from texts, deserve to be accounted for signals of the argument at stake. Secondly, the scope of the present chapter might be extended to a comparison between research articles and a ‘popular’ genre such as textbooks, where recourse to analogy can be expected to be even more pervasive, with the aim of categorising any similarities or differences in the functions of this argument form from a cross-generic perspective.

References Aristotele 1996. Retorica. Italian ed. Milan: Mondadori. Bazerman, Charles 1988. Shaping Written Knowledge. The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Bondi, Marina 2009. In the Wake of the Terror: Phraseological Tools of Time Setting in the Narrative of History. In Charles, Maggie / Pecorari, Diane / Hunston, Susan (eds) Academic Writing. At the Interface of Corpus and Discourse. London: Continuum, 73-90. Garssen, Bart 1997. Argumentatieschema’s in pragma-dialectisch perspectief. Een theoretisch en empirisch onderzoek. [Argument schemes in a pragma-dialectical perspective. A theoretical and empirical examination] With a summary in English. Amsterdam: IFOTT. Hunston, Susan / Thompson, Geoff (eds) 2000. Evaluation in Text. Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hyland, Ken 2005. Metadiscourse. Exploring Interaction in Writing. London: Continuum. Juthe, André 2005. Argument by Analogy. Argumentation 19/1, 1-27.


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 Kloosterhuis, Harm 2005. Reconstructing Complex Analogy Argumentation in Judicial Decisions: A Pragma-Dialectical Perspective. Argumentation 19/4, 471-483. Locke, John 1991. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mazzi, Davide 2010. ‘What is particularly significant for the purpose of this paper is that…’: A Cross-Disciplinary Study of Lexical and Phraseological Tools for Claiming Significance in Academic Discourse. In Conejero, Marta / Muñoz, Micaela / Penas, Beatriz (eds) Linguistic Interaction in/& Specific Discourses. Valencia: Editorial Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, 49-63. Mazzi, Davide 2011a. ‘In other words, ...’: A Corpus-based Study of Reformulation in Judicial Discourse. Hermès 46, 11-24. Mazzi, Davide 2011b. ‘Palmerston bustles around with the foreign policy of this powerful nation, like a furious and old drunkard…’: On the Discursive Formulation of Argument by Analogy in History. In Van Eemeren, Frans H. et al. (eds) Proceedings of the 7th Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, Amsterdam: SicSat, 1221-1233. Mazzi, Davide forthcoming. Analogy in History: A Corpus-based Study. In Van Eemeren, Frans / Garssen, Bart (eds) Argumentation in Context. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Perelman, Chaïm / Olbrechts-Tyteca, Lucie 1958. Traité de l’argumentation. La nouvelle rhétorique. Brussels: Université Libre de Bruxelles. Plantin, Christian 2002. Argumentation Studies and Discourse Analysis: The French Situation and Global Perspectives. Discourse Studies 4/3, 343-368. Scott, Mike 2008. WordSmith Tools 5.0. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sinclair, John 1996. The Search for Units of Meaning. Textus 9/1, 75106. Swales, John 1990. Genre Analysis. Language in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John 2004. Research Genres. Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Swales, John 2009. Afterword. In Charles, Maggie / Pecorari, Diane / Hunston, Susan (eds) Academic Writing. At the Interface of Corpus and Discourse. London: Continuum, 291-294. Tseronis, Assimakis forthcoming. From Connectives to Argumentative Markers: A Quest for Markers of Argumentative Moves and of Related Aspects of Argumentative Discourse. Argumentation. Van Eemeren, Frans H. / Grootendorst, Rob 1992. Argumentation, Communication and Fallacies. A Pragma-Dialectical Perspective. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Van Eemeren, Frans.H. / Houtlosser, Peter / Snoeck Henkemans, Francisca 2007. Argumentative Indicators in Discourse. A Pragma-Dialectical Approach. Dordrecht: Springer. Whaley, Bryan B. 1998. Evaluations of Rebuttal Analogy Users: Ethical and Competence Considerations. Argumentation 12, 351-365.


Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation: Research Articles in Two English-medium International Applied Economics Journals1

1. Introduction The research article (RA), as the academic genre upon which scholars’ promotion, credentials and prestige are based in most disciplines, has attracted careful analysis within English for Academic Purposes. In particular, the macrostructure of the RA following Swales’ (1990, 2004) IMRD (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) model has been fully analysed in different disciplines such as medicine (Nwogu 1997), computer science (Posteguillo 1999), applied linguistics (Ruiying/Allison 2004) or biochemistry (Kanoksilapatham 2005). Also, particular sections or moves of the RAs have been the focus of analysis of previous research, with the aim of exploring their possible disciplinary-driven rhetorical microstructure, such as Introduction sections in conservation biology and wildlife behaviour (Samraj 2005) or applied linguistics (Ozturk 2007), Methods sections in business management (Miin-Hwa Lim 2006; Mur-Dueñas 2007), Results sections in sociology (Brett 1994), medicine (William 1999), sociology and organic chemistry (Bruce 2009) or applied linguistics and educa1

This research is a contribution to the project ‘La integridad genérica en la comunicación académica y profesional: análisis de los géneros y su correlación con las prácticas discursivas y con la cultura disciplinar de distintas comunidades profesionales’ supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Project Reference FFI 2009-09792) and has been carried out within the framework of the research group InterLAE (Interpersonalidad en el Lenguaje Académico Escrito / Interpersonality in Written Academic Language), financially supported by the Diputación General de Aragón (H21).


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tion (Miin-Hwa Lim 2010), and also the Discussion sections in irrigation and drainage (Hopkins/Dudley-Evans 1988), history, politics and sociology (Holmes 1997) or medicine (Williams 1999). Some of these studies have combined a discipline-based with a cross-generic perspective, comparing, for instance, RA Discussion with the same section in dissertations (Holmes 1997) or RA Introductions with abstracts (Samraj 2005). This research has tended to show that the specific communicative sub-purposes of given RA sections largely depend on the field within which results are reported. These studies have emphasised the significant pedagogical implications of their findings for writing instruction of novice and non-native scholars. Further, genre analyses have also been approached from an intercultural perspective. It is the analysis of the Introduction that has attracted most cross-cultural attention. Introductions in English and in Spanish have been analysed in the fields of English and Hispanic studies (Burgess 2002), in business management (Mur-Dueñas 2010) among others. They have also been analysed in other pairs of languages: English and Portuguese Introductions in applied linguistics (Hirano 2009), English and Hungarian Introductions in linguistics (Árvay/Tankó 2004), or English and Chinese Introductions in educational psychology (Loi 2010). These studies have unveiled microstructure rhetorical differences that have been explained in terms of the size of the audience they are addressed to and also in terms of different linguistic, cultural conventions in the national vs the international Anglo-Saxon contexts of publication. All this research has shown that the RA is indeed a dynamic construct that responds to, and is shaped by, the context in which it emerges (Bhatia 2004; Swales 2004). It is the aim of this chapter to contribute to this genre-based research on the RA by focusing on its intrageneric and intradisciplinary variation. RAs in two different sites of publication – a foundational English-medium international journal, Applied Economics, and its sister journal, Applied Economic Letters – will be explored in terms of their macro- and microstructure. Scholars in a given discipline, applied economics, aiming at publishing their research in the international context may be believed to just have to write a particularly form of RA. However, different publications may impose particular conventions as regards the rhetorical structure of the research articles it

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publishes. Looking at variation within the same genre, the RA, as an outcome of the same potential participants, for the same purposes and the same peers, will allow us to get an insight into its generic integrity (Bhatia 2004) as well as contributing to unveiling the scholars’ writing professional discursive practices having to adjust their writing conventions to participate in the international dialogue within the discipline in different publication sites.

2. Corpus and methods The corpus consists of the same number of RAs published in the journal Applied Economics (AE) and in its sister or off-shoot journal, Applied Economic Letters (AEL). The editor and co-editor are the same for both publications, which were founded by the same scholar; the advisory editors and the associate editors lists coincide to a large extent. What makes these two sites of publication different is the length of the texts published as well as the reviewing process manuscripts undergo: Applied Economics is a peer-reviewed journal encouraging the application of economic analysis to specific problems in both the public and private sectors. It particularly fosters quantitative studies, the results of which are of use in the practical field, and thus helps to bring economic theory nearer to reality. Applied Economics Letters is a companion journal to Applied Economics and Applied Financial Economics. It publishes short accounts of new original research and encourages discussion of papers previously published in its two companion journals. Letters are reviewed by the Editor, a member of the Editorial Board or another suitable authority. The Applied Economics Letters journal is, as the name suggests, a journal that publishes short articles where we aim for a much faster turnaround and much faster time from submission to publication. So in that journal you’ll get a quick turnaround but you will not get a referee report for example as you will with Applied Economics and Applied Financial Economics […] so that we can get ideas and new work published as quickly as possible and out there in the academic domain. (Mark P. Taylor, Editor of AE and AEL)

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The aim and scope of the two journals is rather similar; they both aim at the dissemination of quantitative studies of an applied nature. The texts published in both publications are referred to as research articles by specialists, even though those published in the second journal are shorter and more concise; they tend to feature an application, an extension or a methodological revision of previous research articles. The differences in text length and, very importantly as well, in the reviewing process entail that Applied Economics longer, rhetorically more complex, more persuasive research articles with a higher impact factor are considered more prestigious in the discipline than the less rhetorically complex, more concise papers published in the companion journal, Applied Economic Letters. The RAs in the corpus were randomly selected from the 2010 issues; in particular, the third article was chosen to be part of the corpus. Table 1 summarises the main characteristics of the texts composing the corpus.

5 year impact factor Ranking position No. of RAs Average length Total no. of words

Applied Economics 0.845 187/247 15 5,459 81,888

Applied Economic Letters – not in the JCR 15 1,725 25,875

Table 1. Description of the corpus.

Previous analyses of each of the four sections of the RA (Introduction, Methods, Results and Conclusions) in other disciplines mentioned in the Introduction of this chapter, together with a close look at the texts in the corpus, brought about a range of steps which were included to a higher or lower extent in each of the texts in the corpus. The steps that were included in all (or almost all) texts in the corpus will be considered key and therefore constituting the generic integrity of the international RA in applied economics, whereas those steps that are more common in the centre, foundational genre will be considered to contribute to the hybridisation of the genre. It is not the aim of this chapter to look into the cyclical nature of steps or their order, but just to look at the extent to which steps are covered or not, that is, whether

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particular sections in the two sites of publication respond to the same communicative sub-purposes of a particular genre move or section.

3. Results In this section the findings on the rhetorical macro- and microstructure of the RAs in the two sub-corpora will be presented and compared.

3.1. Macrostructure overall findings Both the texts in the foundational journal and in its sister journal are divided into four sections or moves: Introduction, Methods (or Model and data), Results (or Empirical findings) and Conclusions. The limited length of the AEL RAs does not entail the deletion of any of the four macro-sections. As Table 2 shows, both types of texts coincide in giving greater importance and devoting more words to the medial sections: Methods and Results, possibly as a result of the applied nature of the two publications. Less detail is generally provided in the Introductions and especially in the Conclusions, which tend to be really short.

Introduction Methods Results Conclusions

No. of words % No. of words % No. of words % No. of words %

Applied Economics 20,116 24.6 26,145 31.9 29,151 35.6 6,476 7.9

Applied Economic Letters 6,721 26.0 8,365 32.3 7,934 30.7 2,855 11.0

Table 2. Number of words and percentage of total words per section in the two subcorpora.


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In the following sections each of the four sections is analysed in depth in terms of which steps are (not) commonly included in the two sets of RAs.

3.2. Introduction section Table 3 summarises the range of steps found in the RA Introductions in the applied economics RAs under analysis. As can be seen, they reflect the CARS (Create a Research Space) model (Swales 1990, 2004). INTRODUCTION Including topic-related information Claiming centrality Reviewing previous research Stating hypotheses/expectations Counter-claiming Indicating a gap Question raising Continuing a tradition Outlining research purpose Outlining research methods Outlining major findings Outlining RA structure Outlining contribution(s) Table 3. Microstructure of applied economics RA Introductions.

In this and the subsequent tables, those steps which are double underlined indicate that they are included in more than 90% of RAs both in the Applied Economics and the Applied Economics Letters journals and are, therefore, to be considered core. The italicised steps are included to a different extent in the two sub-corpora of RAs. The rest of the steps are included to a similar extent in the two types of publications but are not remarkably frequent and, thus, are not considered core.

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Thus, the key step in this section is Outlining research purpose (example 1), which has been the only one systematically included both in AE and AEL RA Introductions. (1)

(a) The question we address in this article is whether thin-capitalization rules effectively restrict multinationals tax-planning behaviour. (AE5-I) (b) Our article examines the influence of profit warnings on shareholder’s returns and investigates what information content will maximize shareholder value. (AEL7-I)

Significant differences arise in the extent of inclusion of certain steps in the Introductions of both sets of RAs. Whereas the step Reviewing previous research (2) is found in all AE RA Introductions, it features in just nine AEL RA Introductions, and in those texts where it is covered, fewer references are included. (2)

(a) However, relationship banking requires some monopolistic power on the part of the lender (Rajan, 1992). [...]. Lenders’ monopolies are contested when competition arises. Information spillover becomes more likely (Chan et al., 1986; Peterson and Rajan, 1995). Borrowers’ switching costs may drop and thereby destroy repayment incentives (Ghosh and Ray, 2001). Price smoothing will become more difficult or even impossible. All in all, competition may undermine relationship lending (Boot, 2000). (AE6-I) (b) The recent literature suggests at least four variables could be behind an EME’s decision to anchor its fiscal policy in a FRL. An obvious motive is to enhance the credibility of its fiscal policy, which may have suffered as a result of a track record of poor fiscal discipline, usually reflected in large fiscal deficits and/or high public sector debt levels. A second motive is related to [...]. Sceptics of fiscal decentralization (e.g. Prud’homme, 1995) tend to stress its fiscal deficit bias because coordination failures are likely to induce subnational governments to spend inefficiently and beyond their means. [...]. Adoption of an FRL could help resolve the coordination and ‘free rider’ problems in federal systems (Webb, 2004). A third motive [...]. (AEL8-I)

More references to what may be thought by the writer to be common, shared knowledge within the discipline (impersonal evidentials) (Lorés-Sanz 2006) are included in the shorter texts as can be seen in (2b). This results in the AEL RAs being less grounded in the disciplinary domain and fewer links being established with the body of


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research in the discipline. Very frequently these short accounts of new research develop from a specific study or respond to a call for further research made by some other authors, so the nexus is identified but the full picture is not necessarily provided. There are other steps which feature in many AE RAs, but in few AEL RAs, namely, Outlining research methods (.3) (8 vs 4 RAs), Outlining RA structure (4) (12 vs 5 RAs), Outlining major findings (5) (8 vs 4 RAs), Indicating a gap (6) (8 vs 3 RAs), and Outlining research contribution(s) (7) (9 vs 5 RAs): (3)

To implement this idea, we integrate Canada’s leading index into a small macro model of the economy and compare the [...] to [...]. We also present evidence about the robustness of our finding by considering several alternative specifications [...] and then evaluating [...]. (AE10-I)


The article proceeds as follows. Section II presents the empirical model and discusses how the overall institutional framework and other variables traditionally suggested by economic theory are expected to influence labour market participation of women. Section III discusses the estimation results. Section IV reviews the main findings and gives some conclusions. (AE12-I)


We find that female customers wait an average of 20 seconds longer for their coffee order than do males even when controlling for gender differences in orders. An examination of the wait time differential by employee composition and order type further suggests that the observed differential is driven by employee preferences and/or by statistical discrimination rather than unobserved heterogeneity in the purchasing behaviour of female customers. (AE14-I)


Although sufficient anecdotal evidence on the importance of the phenomenon of ‘involuntary’ early retirement exists (e.g. Herz, 1995; Henkens and van Dalen, 2003; Schmhl, 2003), we are not aware of empirical studies that document the extent and determinants of ‘involuntary’ early retirement in a crossnational setting. (AE4-I)


To our knowledge, this is for the first time panel data are used to study the robustness (or lack thereof) of VSL estimates in the UK labour market context. (AE10-I)

The lower inclusion of the first three steps above may be a clear consequence of their short nature and their necessary conciseness; the reader needs fewer signals of what (s)he will find in what order. In

Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation


addition, as the methods and results sections are much shorter in AEL RAs, it may be assumed that peers will read the whole section rather than skim the highlights included in the Introduction, as they may do when reading longer, more elaborate RAs in the foundational journal. The two other steps in which differences arise have a promotional nature. At least one of these steps, which fulfils a ‘marketing’ or ‘promotional’ function, is included in 13 out of the 15 RA Introductions published in the foundational journal. On the other hand, nine out of the 15 RA Introductions published in the sister journal present neither of these two promotional steps. The lower inclusion of these steps in the RA Introductions in the off-shoot journal may be associated with the equally lower and shorter inclusion of previous research review. It may be argued that in order to create a gap and to specify one’s own contribution in filling it in a more thorough revision of past research may be called for.

3.3. Methods section As mentioned above, the Methods and the Results sections are generally the longest in the RAs in the two sites of publication. The steps included in the Methods section are shown in Table 4. METHODS Definition of concepts Outlining variables and measures / equations / models / tests Explaining measuring instruments /equations / models / tests Discussion or justification of measuring instruments / equations / tests / statistics Reference to previous research Statement of hypotheses / expectations / propositions Contextualization Describing data source(s) and collection procedure(s) Describing procedure Limitations Strength / validity of data or methods Table 4. Microstructure of applied economics RA Methods.


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Three steps seem to be essential in the shaping of a Methods section in the two applied economics publications: Outlining variables and measures/equations/models/tests (8), Explaining measuring instruments/ equations/models/tests/statistics (9) and Describing data source(s) and collection procedure(s) (10). (8)

(a) We focus on measuring the consumer surplus for beach m as a single site using the predicted mean of the demand for a representative individual i as follows: [...]. A Box-Cox transformation is used to test a family of functional forms for Equation 3, including the linear, semi-log and double-log forms, by transforming each variable except the dummies. The general specification test model is […]. (AE3-M) (b) International tourism demand volatilities are examined by using the exponential GARCH (EGARCH) model proposed originally by Nelson (1991). The univariate ARMA(s, r)-EGARCH(p, q) model can be written as: [...]. (AEL3-M)


(a) where [...] is the travel cost of visiting site m, including the opportunity cost of time, and […] is the travel cost of visiting the alternative site j. [...] where X is a vector of explanatory variables, and ș and Ȝ indicate the BoxCox transformation. Standard practice is to apply the maximum likelihood procedure, assuming that [...]. (AE3-M) (b) where y is the growth rate or first difference series of logarithm tourism demand, s and r are the lag lengths for ARMA model, N(0, ht) represents the normal density function with mean zero, variance ht and p, g and q are lag lengths for the absolute values of standardized residuals, standardized residuals and the conditional variance, respectively. (AEL3-M)


(a) The data for our analysis comes from several sources. Most importantly, we have cost and revenue information on the MSE loan departments of five out of seven banks participating in the KSBP. The information comprises a cross-sectional survey of the loan departments for the first quarter of 2004. In addition to cost/revenue figures, the survey contains information on the opening and, if applicable, the closing date for every reporting department, the name of the bank that established it, and the city/town where the branch of the bank that introduced the MSE department is located. (AE6-M)

Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation


(b) The data for the present study consists of daily nominal exchange rates for the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, Norwegian kroner, Singapore dollar, Swedish krona, Swiss franc and United States dollar, all relative to the euro from the 5 January 1999 to 11 November 2003 (almost 5 years of data). The number of daily observations totalled 1266. The exchange rate data for the series examined were obtained from Datastream/Primark. (AEL12-M)

A restricted version of the first step and also the third step are reported to be included in business management RA Methods sections (MiinHwa Lim 2006, Mur-Dueñas 2007); Methods in this field revolve around variables and measuring those variables. However, the wider scope and aims of applied economics entails that apart from variables, models and equations are tested and a detailed explanation of their functioning and/or application to the analysis conducted is deemed necessary. Some steps are more frequently covered in the Methods sections of AE RAs than in the Methods sections of EAL RAs: Description of concepts (11) (8 vs 4 RAs), Contextualization (12) (5 vs 0 RAs), Describing procedure (13) (10 vs 4 RAs), Limitations (14) (6 vs 0 RAs) and Strength/validity of data or methods (15) (5 vs 1). (11)

(a) The key outcome variable, an indicator for whether the individual is overweight, is based on the body mass index (BMI). BMI is defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters square (kg/m2) and is a commonly used measure to define overweight and obesity in individuals. Optimal BMI levels are generally believed to lie between 20 and 25. BMI below 20 is considered thin, BMI between 25 and 30 is overweight and BMI above 30 is obese. (AE2-M) (b) This elasticity is the ratio between the accumulated change in the growth rate of output and the accumulated change in the growth rate of public investment. (AEL9-M)


When Norway left the European exchange rate agreement at the end of the 1970s and established a currency basket, the Norwegian krone showed relatively high variability during the 1980s. Following a 12% devaluation of the krone in May 1986 a flexible interest rate policy was introduced with the explicit goal of a fixed exchange rate. However, the krone experienced significant revaluations and devaluations during the first decade of our sample period. After the turmoil following the speculative attacks [...]. (AE7-M)


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Additional variables will then be included in the analysis, and [...] will be recalculated. Table 4 displays this sequential decomposition of the nested logit model in tabular form. (AE15-M)


In addition to the above-mentioned shortcomings, it should be added the lack of valid data. Measures of average wages by gender and age group are not available for our sample. In the case of education, some comparable indicators exist across countries but only as 5-year averages. (AE12-M)


A concern that regularly arises in international surveys is that respondents’ answers might be affected by the fact that questions asked in different languages can have slightly different meanings. Furthermore, answers may be influence by different cultural attitudes. Dorn et al. (2005) have shown [...]. While it seems unlikely that an assessment whether a retirement has been by choice or not is subject to strong language or cultural effects, we control for language groups as a robustness test in the empirical section of the article. (AE4-M)

It is customary to define particular key concepts in AE RA Methods sections. Because applied economics is a broad discipline, concepts may be interpreted differently by scholars in different fields or working in different traditions. Hence, the need to be explicit on how these are understood by the researchers. As can be inferred from (12), contextualization refers to the provision of information in the particular economic situation which is the focus of analysis. As the research reported is highly international, some background information tends to be provided in this section as regards the economic data, evolution in the sector, area or country upon which the research is based. AEL RA Methods sections turn out to be shorter mainly because concepts are not defined and details on the context are not provided. So the assumption is that peers work on a shared understanding to a greater extent; also, no details on how scholars proceeded in the analysis of the data, and on delimiting the steps taken or stating what difficulties were encountered are included in the shorter accounts of their research methods.

Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation


3.4. Results section The analysis of the RA results sections in the corpus yielded the following steps as being included, to a different degree, in the two publications. RESULTS Pointer Statement of findings Procedure Statement of hypotheses /expectations Interpretation of findings Comparison of findings with previous research Statement of (non-)support for hypotheses /expectations Evaluation of findings Table 5. Microstructure of applied economics RA Results section.

RA Result sections both in the main journal and in its sister publication RAs present tables or figures summarising main results and readers are explicitly directed to them by means of pointers (16). The major findings are also spelled out in the section (17) even if they are presented numerically and/or mathematically in such visual materials. Results are discussed and interpreted in this section in all 15 AE RAs, but only in eleven AEL RAs (18); also the interpretation accompanying the statement of findings tends to be less detailed and less recurrent in the latter than in the former. (16)

(a) The reduced form bivariate probit estimates of the probability of a mother being overweight and obese are presented in Table 2 while the single equation probit estimates of the probability of child being overweight are presented in Table 3. (AE2-R) (b) Table 1 reports output elasticities and public and private investment rates of return. (AEL-9-R)


(a) The results in Table 2 show that the estimate of ȡ (correlation between the errors) that maximized the bivariate probit likelihood function was 2.81 and was significantly greater than 0 at the 1% level.


Pilar Mur-Dueñas The results also indicate that at younger ages an increase in age increases the risk of overweight and obese with the maximum effect occurring at 39.5 years for overweight and 39 years for obesity. At older ages, the risk of overweight and obesity decreases as age increases. [...]. (AE2-R) (b) The private investment elasticity is always positive and higher than the public investment elasticity. [...] Regarding private investment, the partial marginal productivity and the associated total marginal productivity are positive for all countries. The partial rates of return of private investment are positive with the exception of Denmark. The total rate of return of private investment is predominantly below the partial rate of return, albeit slightly higher in the cases of Greece, Sweden and the United States [...]. (AEL9-R)


(a) A company is only affected if the thin-capitalization rule is binding, i.e. if the firm’s debt-to-equity share is above the maximally accepted share. In this case, the tax-planning firm should re-optimize its capital structure after the reform, if the construction so far has been optimal. Nevertheless, given the continuum of internal-debt-to-equity shares, not all corporations are affected. However, the mean share is reduced for the whole treatment group because of certain corporations. Consequently, the treatment effect would be much stronger if all treated corporations were noticeably affected. (AE5-R)


This may indicate that countries prefer to establish a track record of better fiscal discipline before anchoring their fiscal frameworks in an FRL. The coefficient on the level of ethnic fractionalization is positive and statistically significant, indicating that greater ethnic fractionalization increases the likelihood that an FRL will be adopted. (AEL8-R)

Newly reported applied economic findings are sometimes compared with those obtained in previous studies in the two sub-groups, but it is not a necessary step in this or in the Conclusion section, as a low percentage of RAs contain it (nine and eight RAs, respectively). Differences arise between both sub-corpora in the extent to which results are evaluated; five vs two RA Results sections cover the step Evaluation of findings. Also, the procedure is not explained to the same extent in the two sub-corpora; twelve vs six Results sections indicate the steps taken as results were obtained (20).

Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation



Interestingly, it is seen that the revenues measured as GDP ratio of most countries have been rising during the first half of the sample and falling during the second half, which reflects a more flexible response of the recent fiscal policy of most OECD governments to the economic downturn. [...] This effect is particularly striking for the United States. (AE11-R)


Our next approach allows for FE and endogeneity between risks and wages. We first-difference the data to swipe out the FE, and then we instrument for ǻpit using the lagged exogenous variables (job overtime, health status of the worker, location dummy) and risk in the levels lagged twice as our identifying instrument (Wooldridge, 2002). (AE9-R)

3.5. Conclusion section As highlighted above, this last section is remarkably short in the two publications, accounting for an average of 7.9% and 11% of the total length of the RAs respectively. Still, they are rather rhetorically complex. The steps commonly included in this section are summarised in Table 6. CONCLUSION(S) Claiming centrality Outlining research purpose Statement of findings Interpretation of findings Comparison of findings with previous research Prompting further research Highlighting methods Stating limitations Outlining contribution Implications Table 6. Microstructure of applied economics RA Conclusions.

The key step included both in the foundation and in the sister journal RAs is Statement of findings (21). The main difference between RA Conclusion sections in the two publications lies in the inclusion of the steps Interpretation of findings (22) and Prompting further research

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(23), which are more common in the longer AE RAs than in the AEL RAs: twelve vs six RA Conclusions include interpretations of findings and nine vs one RA Conclusions include avenues for future research. (21)

(a) The estimates obtained with basis on Brazilian data indicated that the bias increases as the reserve price decreases. For the first sub-period, Feb/1988Jul/1994, characterized by high inflation and great price dispersion, the bias is always positive; the linking procedure and the arithmetic mean contribute to augment the bias. The bias distributions are generally skewed to the right and leptokurtic. (AE1-C) (b) This article provides suggestive evidence that labour market intermittency is a worker characteristic that employers find undesirable and one that is penalized more heavily during times of weak labour markets. (AEL6-C)


Finally, the results also imply that the relation between real output and the most efficient definition of money (cyber cash) may be stronger than that explained by the traditional paper money (M2). Indeed, the cyber cash system enhances production efficiency even further by making market transactions virtually timeless in a competitive money market. (AE8-C)


Further studies might focus on re-examining other public assistance with respect to their effects on the low-income population, or the specific population a particular policy is designed to assist. (AE13-C)

AEL’s aim states that discussion of papers previously published in the companion journal are encouraged, which can explain why the step Prompting further research features very scarcely in the companion journal. Issues and ideas can develop further from RAs in the foundational journal but it would not be as logical to propose avenues of future research from those RAs which may respond to previous studies.

4. Final remarks This chapter has aimed at looking into the generic integrity and generic variation of the RA in the field of applied economics by focusing

Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation


on its macro- and microstructure. This analysis has drawn on texts taken from two very closely-related journals aimed at publishing research outcomes in the same field, for the same audience, in the same context. It has been found that the two key different aspects – their length and the reviewing process they undergo – influence the type of information included in each of the four sections around which the RAs in both publications are organised. The RAs in the two journals fit into the IMRD structure, and the Methods and Results constitute the core and longest part of the research report, possibly as a result of the applied nature of the research reported. Those steps within each of the four sections which are repeatedly included in the RAs in the two sites of publication have been considered core and therefore conventionalised within the genre in this discipline and constituting its generic integrity (Bhatia 2004). That is the case of Outlining research purpose in the Introduction, Outlining and Explaining variables and measures/equations/tests/ statistics together with Describing data source(s) and data collection procedure(s) in the Methods section, Pointers to visual information and Statement of findings in the Results sections and Statement of findings in the Conclusions. These steps could be considered the integral part of the RA in this disciplinary field, regardless of the site of English-medium international publication in this field. On the other hand, some other steps are subject to variation and tend not to be included to the same extent in the shorter research accounts published in the off-shoot journal, Applied Economics Letters, than in the longer research accounts published in the foundational journal, Applied Economics. This is the case of Reviewing previous research, Outlining research methods, Outlining major findings and also of the promotional steps Indicating a gap and Outlining contribution(s) in the Introduction; Definition of concepts, Contextualization, Describing procedure, Limitations and Strength/validity of data or methods in the Methods section; Procedure and Evaluation of findings in the Results section; and Interpretation of findings and Prompting further research in the Conclusion. Overall, significant differences have been found on the specific communicative subpurposes of each of the four macro sections of the same genre in the same context of publication in two different sites.


Pilar Mur-Dueñas

Further analyses will have to focus on the lexico-grammatical realizations of the established moves and steps to continue unveiling the generic integrity of the research articles in particular disciplinary and cultural contexts. These results indicate that scholars within a field even if only publishing RAs in English in just a given context (the international one) still need to write different types of RAs depending on the site of publication where they want the outcomes of their research to be disseminated. The two journals analysed publish economic studies of an applied nature of a different length and depth, they are consulted to a very similar extent by specialists, and whereas both are considered to publish papers of great quality, the foundational journal has a considerably high impact factor and papers in this journal are, as a result, considered more prestigious and get cited more often. As has been shown here, rhetorical structural differences may exist even within the same genre, the same discipline, and by and for the same participants. As a result, scholars need to (un)consciously attend to such differences to have more chances of being successful in their pursuit of seeking visibility and recognition through the publication of their research outcomes.

References Árvay, Anett / Tankó, Gyula 2004. A Contrastive Analysis of English and Hungarian Theoretical Research Article Introductions. IRAL 42, 71-100. Bhatia, Vijay 2004. Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-Based View. London: Continuum. Brett, Paul 1994. A Genre Analysis of the Results Section of Sociology Articles. English for Specific Purposes 13/1, 47-59. Bruce, Ian 2009. Results Sections in Sociology and Organic Chemistry Articles: A Genre Analysis. English for Specific Purposes 28/2, 105-124.

Exploring Generic Integrity and Variation


Burgess, Sally 2002. Packed Houses and Intimate Gatherings: Audience and Rhetorical Strategies. In Flowerdew, John (ed.) Academic Discourse, London: Longman, 196-225. Hirano, Eliana 2009. Research Article Introductions in English for Specific Purposes: A Comparison between Brazilian Portuguese and English. English for Specific Purposes 28, 240-250. Holmes, Richard 1997. Genre Analysis, and the Social Sciences: An Investigation of the Structure of the Research Article Discussion Sections in Three Disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 16/4, 321-337. Hopkins, Andy / Dudley-Evans, Tony 1988. A Genre-based Investigation of the Discussion Sections in Articles and Dissertations. English for Specific Purposes 7, 113-121. Kanoksilapatham, Budsaba 2005. Rhetorical Structure of Biochemistry Research Articles. English for Specific Purposes 24/3, 269-292. Loi, Chek Kim 2010. Research Article Introductions in Chinese and English: A Comparative Genre-based Study. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9 /4, 267-279. Lorés-Sanz, Rosa 2006. ‘I will Argue that’: First Person Pronouns as Metadiscoursal Devices in Research Article Abstracts in English and Spanish. ESP Across Cultures 3, 23-40. Miin-Hwa Lim, Jason 2006. Method Sections of Management Research Articles: A Pedagogically Motivated Qualitative Study. English for Specific Purposes 25, 282-309. Miin-Hwa Lim, Jason 2010. Commenting on Research Results in Applied Linguistics and Education: A Comparative Genre-based Investigation. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9/4, 280294. Mur-Dueñas, Pilar 2007. A Cross-cultural Analysis of the Generic Structure of Business Management Research Articles: The Methods Section. Odisea 8, 123-137. Mur-Dueñas, Pilar 2010. A Contrastive Analysis of Research Article Introductions in English and Spanish. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 61, 119-133. Nwogu, Kevin Ngozi 1997. The Medical Research Paper: Structure and Functions. English for Specific Purposes 16/2, 119-138.


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Ozturk, Ismet 2007. The Textual Organisation of Research Article Introductions in Applied Linguistics: Variability within a Single Discipline. English for Specific Purposes 26/1, 25-38. Posteguillo, Santiago 1999. The Schematic Structure of Computer Science Research Articles. English for Specific Purposes 18/2, 139-160. Ruiying, Yang / Allison, Desmond 2004. Research Articles in Applied Linguistics: Structures form a Functional Perspective. English for Specific Purposes 23/3, 264-279. Samraj, Betty 2005. An Exploration of a Genre Set: Research Article Introductions in Two Disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 24/2, 141-156 Swales, John 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John 2004. Research Genres: Exploration and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Williams, Ian A. 1999. Results Section of Medical Research Articles: Analysis of Rhetorical Categories for Pedagogical Purposes. English for Specific Purposes 18/4, 347-366.


Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law: Metadiscursive Strategies for Expressing Dissent within the Constraints of Collegiality

1. Introduction In Hyland (2000) the philosophy corpus was characterised by a heavy use of interpersonal metadiscourse, appreciably more than all the other disciplines examined, whereas his 2005 study casts further critical light on the ideational and interpersonal construction of discourse, arguing that all discourse, regardless of whether it is explicitly informational, is constructed between interlocutors who bring with them certain affiliations, expectations and shared background knowledge. The present study takes Bhatia’s genre-oriented perspective (1993, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007) as its starting point in examining the conventions of generic integrity as identified in a corpus of jurisprudence and philosophy of law, considering in particular the metadiscursive devices, including both evaluative lexis and stance markers, deployed by authors with an allegiance to competing schools of thought to express dissent from the position of authors in the wider discourse community. A dialogic tension emerges between marking the author’s distance from the arguments put forward by their colleagues, and maintaining collegiality, reflecting an awareness that interpersonal relations in the academic community may suffer as a result of comment perceived to  *

The author wishes to thank the Marco Biagi Foundation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, for supporting the present study, and the participants at the CERLIS conference on Genre Variation in English Academic Communication at the University of Bergamo in June 2011 for their insightful comments and suggestions.


William Bromwich

be overly critical, emphatic or acerbic. This reflects a tendency in the academic community to avoid extreme forms of evaluation, in line with “the conventional restraint and understatement of written scientific discourse” (Giannoni 2006: 158), taking account of the fact that “vicious criticisms can seriously undermine an author’s credibility and lavish praise can be unwelcome as superficial and undiscriminating” (Hyland 2000: 45). The present study seeks to provide an overview of devices deployed in the domain of jurisprudence and philosophy of law by expert scholars critiquing the work of colleagues while seeking not to overstep the confines of collegiality in order to avoid undermining the personal relations that are essential to the production and refinement of domain-specific knowledge. The corpus under examination consists of the complete series of papers published in Ratio Juris: An International Journal of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law, for the three-year period 2009-2011. Following Hyland (2000: 41-62), book reviews were classified as a genre in their own right and excluded from the corpus. The examples examined are cited in the Appendix by means of a complete reference, in recognition of the fact that each of the authors has their own nuanced approach to the discourse that cannot be reduced to a single archetype. Jurisprudence and philosophy of law will be considered as a sub-domain within the overall domain of philosophy.

2. Personality in philosophical discourse Hyland’s findings in his study of the book review genre cast light on the striking differences in the incidence of praise and criticism in various disciplines (Hyland 2000: 49), with philosophy unequivocally located at the far end of the praise-criticism spectrum. In his quantitative analysis of book reviews from eight domains (philosophy, sociology, applied linguistics, marketing, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, physics and biology), the highest incidence of criticism was recorded in philosophy (57.1 per cent of the evaluative comments

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


 in the reviews) and the lowest in electrical engineering (23 per cent). Conversely, the lowest incidence of praise was to be found in philosophy (42.9 per cent) and the highest incidence in electrical engineering (77 per cent). This finding suggests that philosophers on the whole tend to be more outspoken in their criticism of other members of their discourse community. In Hyland’s research into the construction of expert identity in textbooks, still with reference to the disciplinary domains listed above, the philosophy corpus revealed the highest incidence of interpersonal (rather than ideational) discourse, with “twice as many devices as any other discipline” (Hyland 2000: 114, see also Fig.6, 115 and Table 6.3, 116). In particular, philosophers were found to have higher rates than any other discipline in the use of hedges (such as perhaps, possibly, might, may), relational markers (you can see, you may not agree that), boosters (obviously, definitely, it is clear that), attitude markers (I agree, surprisingly, interestingly, appropriate, logical) and person markers (I, my, we, you), though it should be noted that these categories were further refined in Hyland 2005: 32-36, also taking account of the metadiscourse classifications of Vande Kapple, and Crismore et al. With regard to citations, philosophy was found to have the highest number of reporting structures per paper (57.1, in sharp contrast with physics, at the other end of the spectrum with just 6.6 reporting structures), the most frequent forms being say, suggest, argue, claim, point out, propose, think (Hyland 2000: 27). With regard to evaluative category verbs, philosophy was characterised by one of the highest scores for ‘author positive’, one of the lowest for ‘author neutral’, and by far the highest for ‘author critical’ (Hyland 2000: 29, Table 2.6). Moreover, a large-scale study of engagement features in research articles found that philosophy had the highest number of reader references, especially pronouns, the highest number of questions, and the highest incidence of shared knowledge and asides (Hyland 2006: 33). The statistical findings outlined above point to a high degree of personality in the discourse of philosophy, with scholars relying on personal credibility to make their case and explicitly getting behind arguments (Hyland 2006: 32). This raises the important question of how members of this particular community of practice (Lave/Wenger 1991: 98) manage to challenge their colleagues’ research findings while


William Bromwich

maintaining harmonious relations and ensuring ongoing collaboration. In this connection the concept of stance will be used, indicating: the extent to which individuals stamp their personal authority onto their arguments or step back and disguise their involvement. This includes writer-oriented features such as hedges and boosters, self mention and explicit markers of evaluation and attitude which together reveal the ways writers present themselves and convey their judgements, opinions, evaluations and commitments. (Hyland 2006: 29)

The analysis in this chapter will be based on a qualitative approach, drawing on insights from Halliday and Matthiessen’s functional grammar (1999), and building on the quantitative findings provided by Hyland (outlined above), in an attempt to investigate certain salient features of academic discourse in this specific sub-domain, in particular: personality and interpersonality (Section 3); praise and criticism (Section 4); self-deprecation (Section 5); hedging of critical remarks (Section 6); self-effacement (Section 7); and dissenting interrogatives (Section 8). These categories are clearly not exclusive, in the sense that in some cases the rhetorical moves do not fall neatly into just one category, but each of them was found to have a significant presence in the corpus.

3. Personality and interpersonality in philosophical discourse Genre analysis requires an investigation not just of text as an artefact, but also some kind of understanding of specific disciplinary practices, casting light on how members of a given discourse community construct and interpret the specific genre to achieve their goals, and why they adopt the range of rhetorical devices that are considered legitimate and persuasive within the community of practice. A thicker description of this kind can be provided if consideration is given not just to textual data, but also to the shared understandings of what consti-

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


 tutes a given discourse community, in an attempt to integrate the four aspects identified by Bhatia: Purposes: Institutionalised community goals and communicative purposes Products: Textual artefacts or genres Practices: Discursive practices, procedures and processes Players: Discourse community membership (Bhatia 2002: 6)

With regard to practices, procedures and processes, the importance of the interpersonal and collegial nature of the discourse in the corpus is highlighted in (1), in which the research is reported to have been presented at no less than five conferences in four different countries over a span of four years, providing evidence of the highly collegiate and recursive nature of academic discourse in this sub-domain: (1)

Previous drafts of this paper were presented in Belfast (Conference ‘Beyond the Nation?’, Queen’s University, September 2007), London (ASEN Annual Conference, April 2008), Florence (Workshop on Nationalism and Democracy, EUI, November 2009), and the Conference ‘Legal Reasoning and European Law: the Perspective of Neil MacCormick’ (EUI, May 2010) and New York (ASN Conference April 2010). I am indebted to audiences of these events for their constructive criticism. A special thanks goes to Rainer Bauböck, Hudson Meadwell, Alan Patten for their written comments. All errors are mine. (JPL1)

Although comparative data on the number of times papers are presented at international conferences prior to publication in various disciplinary domains is not readily available, a straw poll of colleagues from different faculties and universities in a number of countries around the world suggests that in most disciplines, especially the hard sciences, the presentation of a paper by an author at five international conferences over a four-year period would be considered to be an extreme case. In many disciplinary domains, including medicine, there appears to be an expectation that research will be presented at just one conference but signed by many authors, even as many as 18 authors for just one research article, as in (2): (2)

Asghar, Rai / Banajeh, Salem / Egas, Josefina / Hibberd, Patricia / Iqbal, Imran / Katep-Bwalya, Mary / Kundi, Zafarullah / Law, Paul / MacLeod, William / Maulen-Radovan, Irene / Mino, Greta / Saha, Samir / Sempertegui, Fer-


William Bromwich nando / Simon, Jonathon / Santosham, Mathuram / Singhi, Sunit / Thea, Donald M / Qazi, Shamim. 2008. Chloramphenicol versus ampicillin plus gentamicin for community acquired very severe pneumonia among children aged 259 months in low resource settings: multicentre randomised controlled trial (SPEAR study), BMJ. January 12; 336 (7635).

In the sub-domain under consideration, the number of authors is usually one, as shown in Table 1. Year / Volume 2009 Vol. 22 2010 Vol. 23 2011 Vol. 24

Number of authors one two one two one two

Issue 1 7 1* 4 0 6 0

Issue 2 6 0 5 1 3 0

Issue 3 5 0 5 0 4 0

Issue 4 2 3 5 0 6 0

Table 1. Authorship in three volumes of Ratio Juris, with reference to articles, not including book reviews or the Notebook Corner. (*Paper signed by four authors).

Although individual authorship seems to be the norm, with 58 of the 63 articles in Table 1 signed by one author, four signed by two, and just one signed by four authors, there is an underlying assumption that the research article should have been subject to the critical scrutiny of a large number of colleagues before it is submitted for publication, even though this process may take as long as four years. Establishing a clear-cut dichotomy between ‘one author, many presentations’ in research articles in philosophy and ‘many authors, one presentation’ in medical research articles would clearly require much more extensive empirical evidence, but a preliminary analysis of the research articles in the present study suggests that jurisprudence and philosophy of law tends to favour a ‘one author (two at most) but many presentations’ approach to the construction of knowledge, to which might be added ‘many acknowledgements’ (Giannoni 2002, 2006), highlighting the collegial and collaborative dimension of the writing process. In (3), the author makes 14 acknowledgements, in addition to the funding acknowledgement.

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law



The research presented in this paper is funded by Torsten och Ragnar Söderbergs stiftelser. Thanks to Uta Bindreiter, Damiano Canale, Scott Hershovitz, Jenny Julén Votinius, Lars Lindahl, Lorena Ramirez Ludeña, José Luis Marti, Dennis Patterson, Wlodek Rabinowicz, David Reidhav, Torben Spaak, Ola Svensson, Giovanni Tuzet and Lena Wahlberg for helpful conversations on issues in this paper. (JPL2)

As evidence that this is not an isolated case, suffice it to quote the following footnote, in which critical input from no less than twelve colleagues is acknowledged: (4)

For helpful comments and suggestions I am grateful to Graínne de Búrca, Neil Walker, Rainer Forst, Jeremy Waldron, Wojciech Sadurski, Cormac MacAmhlaigh, Claudio Michelon, Hans Lindahl, Robin Loof, Camil Ungureanu, Florian Roedl, and Katherine Worthington. (JPL3)

The interpersonal dimension is instantiated in the corpus also by references not just to the writings and critical remarks, but also to the character of other authors, as in (5): (5)

Any tribute to Neil MacCormick and his work must acknowledge a striking duality to his character, to his achievements and, indeed, to his intellectual world view and considerable body of work. (JPL4)

In addition, the relationship and shared allegiance between the author of the article and another author within the same community of practice may be brought to the fore: (6)

As a fellow Scot, I have never met a more international Scot than Neil MacCormick. As a fellow internationalist, I have never met a more Scottish internationalist than Neil MacCormick. (JPL4)

The personalisation of the discourse is further instantiated in the foregrounding of biographical information, so that a degree of genre mixing (Bhatia 1997) may be identified, in which the research article contains information that would normally be published in an obituary (7), bringing to mind the insight that: “We know that genres serve socially recognised communicative purposes, yet we often find genres being exploited to convey private intentions” (Bhatia 2002: 7).

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William Bromwich He was proud to hold the Regius Chair of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the University of Edinburgh from the date of his return to Scotland from Balliol College, Oxford in 1972, aged just thirty one, until his retirement in 2008. (JPL4)

In addition, this biographical approach to the critical appraisal of philosophical knowledge may be extended beyond the genre of the research article, resulting in a full-length bibliography, as in (8): (8)

An intellectual biography of MacCormick by Maksymilian Del Mar has been commissioned by Stanford University Press as part of their Jurists: Profiles in Legal Theory series. It is scheduled to appear in 2013. (JPL4)

The biographical approach outlined above is not evenly distributed throughout the corpus, but would appear to be the prerogative mainly of senior practitioners within the discourse community, who enjoy legitimacy to evaluate not just individual articles, but the entire oeuvre of other senior practitioners, past or present. Nowhere is this explicitly stated, but like many practices within the academy, it may be seen as an ‘unwritten rule’ that can be inferred from a close analysis of discourse practices. Novice practitioners need to be aware that not all the rules adopted within a given discourse community are stated explicitly, but they form part of an implicit shared understanding of how the community should function. Autobiographical considerations in some cases extend also to members of the author’s own family, when considered relevant to the issue under discussion: (9)

In casting doubt on some central tenets of disability theory, it is important to situate myself in this discussion. It is first as a parent that I have encountered the issue of disability. My daughter, a sparkling young woman with a lovely disposition is very significantly incapacitated [...] Although her cognitive functioning appears limited, she loves music, bathing, good food, people, attention and love. (JPL5)

Again, evidence of the high degree of personality in this discourse community.

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


4. Praise and criticism An analysis of the corpus reveals that praise and criticism are not necessarily a simple dichotomy, but may be two elements within the same rhetorical move, characterised by Hyland (2000: 35) as praisecriticism pairs, the primary aim of which is usually criticism. The move in which criticism is prefaced with praise is to be found also in other disciplinary domains, as underlined by Crick: I learned that if you have something to say about a piece of scientific work, it is better to say it firmly but nicely and to preface it with praise of any good aspects of it. I only wish I had always stuck to this useful rule. (Crick 1990: 49, quoted in Hyland 2000: 55)

However, in the corpus under examination, the praise-criticism move is not necessarily as swift as Crick suggests, but may require two full pages of text to come to fruition, as in (10: praise) and (11: criticism): (10)

It is neither misleading nor exaggerated to claim that Lorenzo Zucca’s recent works are among the most interesting and remarkable contributions to the debate on normative dilemmas and conflicts between Fundamental Legal Rights. (JPL6, emphasis added)

This fulsome praise paves the way for critical comment on the following page, albeit expressed in an almost self-deprecating manner and with a constructive tone: (11)

This puts me in a strange and difficult position, as it is problematic to formulate criticisms of Zucca’s ideas when I agree almost entirely with his central theses [...] I hope that these comments will help to strengthen Zucca’s position. [One and a half pages into the article] Only in the final part of this paper will I briefly put forward a (partial) substantive disagreement relating to physicianassisted suicide (PAS), a topic extensively developed by the author (Zucca 2007, chap. 7). ( JPL6)

Clearly, the fact that the praise is fulsome should not be misunderstood as a sign that it will necessarily continue unabated for the rest of


William Bromwich

the analysis, as in the following example in which unequivocal praise is the precursor to strongly worded criticism: (12)

I intend to show that the theory of principles in its original form has contributed in a restorative but important way to a theory of adjudication, but that it is also based on mistakes in its norm-theoretical and methodological hyperbole, and wrongly perceives itself as a doctrinal theory of fundamental rights. (JPL7, emphasis added)

Once again in (13) the rhetorical move consists of praise foreshadowing criticism. The tone is intended to be constructive and respectful, and the intention is not to criticise a colleague, but to offer a critique: (13)

Ackerman’s work is an important contribution to the process of deliberative democracy and to the principle of discourse as defined by Habermas, as well as to contractualist theories presented from a liberal perspective [...] Here we offer a critique of his proposals and attempts to make Habermas’s legitimation of legal norms more applicable in practice. (JPL8, emphasis added)

In some cases praise is expressed in the form of agreement with the work of another author (with an attitude marker, such as rightly), but this praise and agreement soon gives way to criticism and disagreement: (14)

Forst and Habermas rightly insist that the boundaries of tolerance be defined in a generally and reciprocally valid way so as to forestall the danger of paternalism and arbitrariness. Yet it does not follow that the act of tolerance is conditional upon reciprocity, nor may it be explained in terms of reciprocal moral rights and obligations. (JPL8, emphasis added)

In the corpus under examination, the praise-criticism sequence was repeatedly used to express agreement then disagreement. However, instances of the inverse sequence, first criticism, then praise, are also to be found in the corpus, as in the following case in which Habermas is alleged to have confused two quite distinct concepts: (15)

Habermas seems to confuse the concept of Right (Recht) with the concept of Law (Gesetzt) and the concept of justice with legality. In our view, Habermas’s formulation of the legitimation procedure is inconsistent in several essential aspects, and needs to be examined. (JPL8)

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


 This blunt criticism is immediately followed by some hasty repair work in which the authors recognise the overall value of the contribution of the author who is the subject of critical scrutiny: (16)

At this point we should point out that in spite of the criticism we present, we consider the stimulation of direct citizen participation in the Res Publica and the assumption of responsibilities by citizens in the public sphere to be very positive. (JPL8, emphasis added)

However, for fear that even this very positive appraisal will be considered an inadequate recognition of Habermas’s authority, with a risk of undermining the readers’ consideration for the two authors, they reinforce their praise at the end of the paragraph, underlining their membership of the academic community with the linguistically refined term critique rather than the potentially more hostile term criticism: (17)

Our critique is based at all times on our recognition and admiration of Habermas’s work and all the ‘theories of responsive democracy’ applied to citizenship (Michelman 2005; 1997). (JPL9)

Rather than a praise-criticism pair, it would be more accurate to speak of an intertwining of criticism and praise that reaches its denouement at the end of the article, with the conclusions hedged with the device we feel: (18)

In our analysis we have described the main aspects of Bruce Ackerman’s work on normative philosophy which, we feel, might improve and add force to Habermas’s principle of discourse applied to law. (JPL9)

At this stage the discussion moves on from the ‘inconsistencies’ to the ‘gaps’ in the theory proposed by Habermas, underlining the argument that the authors intend to complement rather than undermine his work: (19)

The article shows how the gaps that appear in relation to Habermas’s theoretical construction in the application of the principle of discourse can be complemented with the theory of constrictive dialogue. (JPL9)

The tension is resolved by highlighting the constructive intent of the critique elaborated in the preceding pages:

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William Bromwich Combining these aspects of Ackerman’s work and Habermas’s theory of legitimation of legal norms can achieve a more consistent and effective project of radical democracy. (JPL9)

In this way the authors achieve a synthesis of the two theories in an attempt not to demolish but to further develop the theoretical framework under examination, emphasising the collaborative intent.

5. Self-deprecation Hyland’s concepts of hedging and stance provide a way of examining how authors stamp their personal authority on a claim (Hyland 2006: 29) and how at other times they step back and use a hedging device to modify the strength of a claim, to mark their distance from a statement, to soften the blow, or to disguise their involvement. One particularly significant form of hedging in the corpus consists of the use of selfdeprecation devices, enabling the author to express an opinion or a criticism as clearly as possible, while leaving open alternative interpretations, as in (21): (21)

If I read Freeman correctly, he does not think that Rawls’s self-criticism rules out the sort of ‘reasonable political psychology’ that I suggest here. (JPL10, emphasis added)

This is not the only case in which an author leaves the door open to a possible misunderstanding on her part of the work of another member of the discourse community, as shown in (22): (22)

If I understand her correctly, these are forms of identification that are sufficient to constitute us as a ‘plural subject’. See ‘Reconsidering the Actual Contract Theory of Political Obligation’ in Gilbert, M. (2000) Sociality and Responsibility: New Essays in Plural Subject Theory, Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. (JPL11, emphasis added)

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


 The If-clause used in this way to frame potentially controversial claims with self-deprecation appears to be a recurrent device, as shown in (23): (23)

If I understand Zucca correctly, it seems to me that his proposal is not very different from the one I have just described. (JPL12, emphasis added)

In the limited number of examples under examination, self-deprecation was used by both male and female writers, but a larger data set would be required to be able to discern the kind of gender variation identified by Tse and Hyland: Female reviewers in philosophy [...] employed more transition markers than their male counterparts, perhaps to set out the logic of their argument in a clear and accessible way with less need for the engagement markers and boosters more heavily used by males. The differences suggest a more personal and vigorously argumentative stance by males and the adoption of a more cautious, logical persona by females. (Tse/Hyland 2006: 199)

Self-deprecation may be considered appropriate also when the analysis seems to be particularly ambitious and the scale of the task daunting: (24)

Because Eberle’s is a book-length treatment of the issue, discussing not only Rawls but many other writers, and advancing an original view of the issues, it cannot be adequately treated here. Its rigor and care make it essential reading for anyone interested in these questions. It is difficult even to sketch its treatment of Rawls […] But let me try to state the essentials of his position. (JPL13, emphasis added)

This kind of self-deprecation is all the more remarkable in this case, considering the academic status of the author, Martha Nussbaum, who is widely acclaimed as one of the leading authorities in her field at global level. It would therefore be a mistake to consider devices of this kind as the exclusive domain of novice members of the discourse community.


William Bromwich

6. Hedging of critical remarks A particularly problematic rhetorical move is one in which a possible misunderstanding is imputed to other members of the discourse community, in which case hedging devices are in order, for example, may possibly have: (25)

People who speak of Rawls ‘silencing’ religious citizens may possibly have misunderstood the nature of Rawls’s recommendation. (JPL14)

The claim that another author has misunderstood the discourse is more strongly stated in the following example, albeit prefaced with a hedging device, In my view: (26)

Because Bratman’s notion of shared intention is partly conceived of as a network of personal intentions and beliefs, Gilbert (2000, 154-64) argues that this model is conventionalist in spirit. She contrasts it with Searle’s approach. In my view, her reading is well off the mark and confuses collective intention with shared intention. Shared intention, as I understand the model, requires a complex of we-intentions, sub-plans and beliefs. It is not an alternative to weintention, but aims to describe the social conditions that need to be in place for collective agency to fully emerge, an issue John Searle does not address. (JPL15)

In the following instance in which it is suggested that a misunderstanding has taken place, the critical remark is hedged with seems to: (27)

Jules Coleman seems to miss this point when he claims that his ‘conventionality thesis’ is a sufficient condition for legal authority. (JPL 16)

A hedging device is considered desirable in prefacing a critical claim that a leading authority in the field has misstated his case: (28)

I believe that Hart misstates the status of what he calls ‘the minimum content of natural law’. (JP17, emphasis added)

To avoid overstating their case, proficient authors tend to deploy a range of hedging devices as shown in (29):

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law



Perhaps the most promising argument trades on a perceived distinction between shared and collective intentions on the one hand and I-intentions, on the other. The idea, it seems, is that the former intentions do not count as agency, while the latter do, because we-intentions require us to think in a modus operandi fundamentally estranged from ourselves. I believe this argument to be flawed. (JP18, emphasis added)

The need to avoid overstating the case is perceived not just when making a critical comment, but also when expressing agreement with another author. In (30), hedging is used (in my view) in combination with a stance marker (persuasively): (30)

Bratman shows, in my view persuasively, how the discontinuity problem could be overcome. Bratman, M.E, ‘I Intend That We J’, pp.143-161. (JP19, emphasis added)

Expressions such as it seems, I believe, perhaps and may possibly have are indisputably classical hedging devices, used to enable the author to distance herself in varying degrees from the claim being put forward. A more complex form of hedging consists of a hypothetical construction to keep a safe distance between the claim and the author, as in the following example, in which the author manages to put forward an argument while at the same time denying any suggestion by the putative reader that a critical comment has been made: (31)

If I were to present my case according to this tradition, I could say that my critique against conventionalism captures the true spirit of Hart’s philosophy of law. Fortunately, I have been able to resist this temptation. (JP20)

Although this rather intricate use of a counterfactual is deployed relatively infrequently in the corpus under examination, it is worth mentioning since it enables the author to remain at arm’s length from the proposition outlined, thus heading off conflict within the community of practice.


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7. Self-effacement Whereas self-mention by the author is evident in many hedging devices (I think, I believe) and performative verbs in the corpus (Austin 1962) (I agree, I argue, I assert, I attempt, I conclude, I demonstrate, I develop, I disagree, I distinguish, I examine, I mean, I present, I propose, I suggest), there are also many instances in which the author is airbrushed out of the narrative, in a deliberate attempt to avoid any self-mention, and in many cases nominalisation is used to achieve this effect. Depersonalisation of the argument can be achieved by referring to ‘This argument’, then continuing with ‘It is aimed at... It is aimed at...’: (32)

My argument is aimed at Hart, when he says that “if it is to exist at all, [the rule of recognition] must be regarded from the internal point of view as a public, common standard of correct judicial decision, and not as something which each judge merely obeys for his own part only.” (Hart 1994, 116, emphasis added) It is aimed at Lagerspetz, when he declares that “a rule is the RR [= rule of recognition] of a system if there is a mutual belief among the members of the official class that it is the RR of the system, and if they, in their official capacities, act as if it were the RR of the system”. (Lagerspetz 1995, 156, emphasis added) And it is aimed at Coleman when he says that “a social rule’s ability to govern behavior depends on the fact that individuals take the convergent behavior of themselves and others to be guided by the rule”. (Coleman 2001, 82, emphasis added). (JP21,underlining added)

This would appear to enable the author to sidestep any potential confrontation with those supporting alternative claims: it is as if the article had taken on a life of its own, without implicating the author too closely in the ensuing controversy. Another rhetorical device by which an author can put forward an argument without formulating it as a personal statement consists of an appeal to an established principle: in this case the author can claim not to be raising an objection of her own making, but simply to be pointing out a discrepancy between the argumentation and a widely accepted principle within the community of practice. In this case self-effacement can be adroitly achieved, as the author on the receiving end of the criticism is not accused of

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


 failing to satisfy the expectations of her colleagues, but in this particular case, the demand of Ockham’s Razor: (33)

Such a vocabulary seems to be just the kind of vocabulary that fails to satisfy the demand of Ockham’s Razor: entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity. (JP22, emphasis added)

Nominalisation may be used not just as a means to avoid self-mention, and as a way of appealing to an established principle, but also as a device to avoid naming an adversary. An argument cannot be construed as an ad hominem argument if it is couched in nominalised terms, characterising the opponent primarily as a school of thought (conventionalism / the conventionalist concept of law) rather than as an individual defending a particular position: (34)

We should define our concepts in the ways that serve our purposes. As I will demonstrate in the next section, conventionalism fails to do that. It creates a situation where some social orders that we like to call law no longer count as legal orders. The conventionalist concept of law creates a vocabulary with unwanted consequences. I do not claim that this vocabulary is incorrect. I do not believe that the concept of law must be defined in one way or the other. My argument is simply that it fails to suit our purposes. (JP23, emphasis added)

A further recurrent rhetorical device by which self-effacement is achieved is the use of reference to a third party as an authority. Once again, on the face of it, the author is not raising an objection of her own making, but simply appealing to an established authority, as in the following example: (35)

Nicholas Wolterstorff focuses on cases where religious citizens are moved to object to the treatment of the poor in their society. Such citizens, he says, will rightly feel themselves ‘silenced’ by Rawls’s constraints, since they will want to appeal to their religious doctrines in saying why this treatment is wrong (Wolterstorff 1997, 174). (JP24)

In (36) the author summarises a criticism and then aligns herself with it in an explicit manner, but it would appear to be Weithman who takes the main burden of responsibility for the argument:

144  (36)

William Bromwich Paul Weithman makes a criticism that is, to my mind, especially telling because it accepts Rawls’s ideal of public reason and finds fault with the doctrine of civility in terms of that idea. Religious citizens in a pluralistic society need to understand one another, lest divisive conflicts emerge, says Weithman. (JP24)

At times the critical views of third parties are put forward with either explicit or implicit endorsement: (37)

Susan Okin has complained, with much plausibility, that Rawls appears to treat sex and race asymmetrically. Where race is concerned, a doctrine that supported slavery or even racial hierarchy would clearly be regarded by Rawls as unreasonable. Where sex is concerned, Rawls clearly means to count as reasonable the major religions in the U.S.; but, Okin argues, these religions are as unacceptable from the point of view of sex equality as the racist ones are from the point of view of racial equality (Okin 1994). (JP25)

In the example above, the extensive reporting of Okin’s complaint may be taken as evidence of implicit endorsement, while the stance marker with much plausibility provides explicit endorsement. In addition to the citation of critical remarks by named authors, unnamed critics (some may feel…) may also be drawn into the debate as a kind of alter ego for the author putting forward a claim: (38)

Rawls has already taken care of this with his highly protective doctrine of free political speech. (Some may feel that he sets the bar too high by requiring a grave constitutional crisis for any regulation of political hate speech; his dissatisfaction with the current U.S. law may be misplaced […]). (JPL26)

A further appeal to authority enabling authors to formulate critical remarks without presenting them as personal statements consists of reference to Latin maxims that are universally recognized within the discourse community, as in (39): (39)

Another pitfall is retroactive law. To enact retroactive legislation, particularly in criminal law, is sometimes inescapable but at the same time it violates one of the most important liberal democratic legal principles: Nulla crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali (“No crime, no punishment, without previous criminal law,” first formulated in Feuerbach 1801, par. 812, 24). (JPL27)

Generic Integrity in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


8. Dissenting interrogatives Reference was made above (Section 1) to Hyland’s large-scale study of engagement features in research articles, and his finding that philosophy was found to have the highest number of questions. In the corpus under examination, interrogative forms were used in some cases to express implied dissent, enabling the author to raise doubts without taking too critical a stance in relation to an argument put forward by another author. (40)

We would like to know a good deal more about Rawls’s concept of the noncontroversial. For any expert scientific conclusion, as the history of litigation shows, some expert witnesses can usually be found to dispute it. Would Rawls consider non-controversial the conclusion that global warming poses a very serious threat to the earth’s future? […] Does he consider evolutionary theory in some form to be non-controversial? […] But how would he make his argument? What criteria for scientific acceptability would he use, and how would he work out the distinction between science and metaphysics? […] To what extent may doctrines that contain metaphysical elements that appear sexist or racist be counted as reasonable? (JPL28)

This is clearly a powerful rhetorical device that facilitates the development of a complex line of reasoning, casting doubt while maintaining a respectful tone.

9. Concluding remarks The rhetorical devices in the texts examined provide support for Hyland’s conceptualisation of disciplines as “human institutions where actions and understandings are influenced by the personal and the biographical, as well as the institutional and sociocultural” (Hyland 2006: 20). By adopting the idea of discourse community, a socially informed theory of textual processes can be constructed. The expectations, practices and epistemic conventions that govern academic communication


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differ from one discourse community to another, as highlighted in the discussion of the number of authors that a research article would normally have in one discipline compared to another. Clearly each text is designed to meet the specific needs and expectations of a given community, but this does not imply standardisation, as individual variation within the community is evident, with senior practitioners apparently enjoying greater latitude in terms of the degree of personalisation of the discourse, particularly with regard to biographical and autobiographical elements. Writer-oriented devices such as hedges and boosters, self-mention, self-deprecation and even self-effacement all contribute to the personal credibility of the author seeking to make a contribution to a field characterised by a high degree of personality and interpersonality, deploying a wide range of rhetorical features in an attempt to move knowledge forward creatively while safeguarding epistemic conventions and collegiality.

References Austin, John L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1997. Genre-Mixing in Academic Introductions. English for Specific Purposes 16/3, 181-196. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2000. Generic View of Academic Discourse. In: Flowerdew, John (ed.) Academic Discourse. London: Pearson, 21-39. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2002. Applied Genre Analysis: A Multi-perspective Model. Iberica 4, 3-19. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2004. Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based Approach. London: Continuum. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2007. Interdiscursivity in Critical Genre Analysis. Paper given at the Fourth International Symposium on Genre Studies, Unisul, Brazil.

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 Crick, Francis 1990. What Mad Pursuit. London: Penguin. Giannoni, Davide S. 2002. Worlds of Gratitude: A Contrastive Study of Acknowledgement Texts in English and Italian Research Articles. Applied Linguistics 23/1, 1-31. Giannoni, Davide S. 2006. Book Acknowledgements across Disciplines and Texts. In Hyland/Bondi (eds), 151-176. Halliday, Michael A.K. / Matthiessen Christian M.I.M. 1999. Construing Experience through Meaning: A Language-based Approach to Cognition. London: Cassell. Hyland, Ken 2000. Disciplinary Discourses: Social Interactions in Academic Writing, Pearson: Harlow. Hyland, Ken 2005. Metadiscourse: Exploring Interaction in Writing, London: Continuum. Hyland, Ken 2006. Disciplinary Differences: Language Variation in Academic Discourses. In Hyland/Bondi (eds), 17-45. Hyland, Ken / Bondi, Marina (eds) 2006. Academic Discourse Across Disciplines. Bern: Peter Lang. Lave, Jean / Wenger, Etienne 1991. Situated Learning. Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tse, Polly / Hyland, Ken 2006. Gender and Discipline. In Hyland/ Bondi (eds), 177-202.

Appendix: Source texts 1. Stojanovic, Nenad 2011. When is a Country Multinational? Problems with Statistical and Subjective Approaches. Ratio Juris 24/3, 267, fn 1. 2. Dahlman, Christian 2011. When Conventionalism Goes Too Far. Ratio Juris 24/3, 335, fn 1. 3. Augenstein, Daniel 2010. Tolerance and Liberal Justice. Ratio Juris 23/4, 437-459. 4. Walker, Neil 2011. Reconciling MacCormick: Constitutional Pluralism and the Unity of Practical Reason. Ratio Juris. 24 /4, 369-385. 5. Feder Kittay, Eva 2011. The Ethics of Care, Dependence, and Disability. Ratio Juris 24/1, 49-58, esp. 51-52. 6. Martinez Zorrilla, David 2011. Constitutional Dilemmas and Balancing. Ratio Juris 24/3, 347-363, esp. 347-8.


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7. Poscher, Ralf 2009. Insights, Errors and Self-Misconceptions of the Theory of Principles. Ratio Juris 22/4, 425-54, esp.428 8. Abad I Ninet, Antoni / Monserrat Molas, Josep 2009. Constitutional Dilemmas and Balancing. Ratio Juris 22/4, 510-531, esp. 512-3. 9. Abad I Ninet, Antoni / Monserrat Molas, Josep 2009. Constitutional Dilemmas and Balancing. Ratio Juris 22/4, 510-531, esp. 528-9. 10. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp.1. 11. Amatrudo, Anthony 2011. Corporate Personality: a Politico-Jurisprudential Argument. Ratio Juris 24/4, 471-493, esp. fn.14. 12. Martinez Zorrilla, David 2011. Constitutional Dilemmas and Balancing. Ratio Juris 24/3, 347-363, esp. 359. 13. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp. 16. 14. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp.12. 15. Amatrudo, Anthony 2011. Corporate Personality: a Politico-Jurisprudential Argument. Ratio Juris 24/4, 471-493, esp. fn.9. 16. Rijpkema, Peter 2011. The Inevitability of Moral Evaluation. Ratio Juris 24/4, 413-34, esp. 417. 17. Rijpkema, Peter 2011. The Inevitability of Moral Evaluation. Ratio Juris 24/4, 413-34, esp. 431. 18. Amatrudo, Anthony 2011. Corporate Personality: a Politico-Jurisprudential Argument. Ratio Juris 24/4, 471-493, esp. 482-3. 19. Amatrudo, Anthony 2011. Corporate Personality: a Politico-Jurisprudential Argument. Ratio Juris 24/4, 471-493, esp. 475. 20. Dahlman, Christian 2011. When Conventionalism Goes Too Far. Ratio Juris 24/3, 335-346, esp. 342 21. Dahlman, Christian 2011. When Conventionalism Goes Too Far. Ratio Juris 24/3, 335-346, esp. 341. 22. Dahlman, Christian 2011. When Conventionalism Goes Too Far. Ratio Juris 24/3, 335-346, esp. 344. 23. Dahlman, Christian 2011. When Conventionalism Goes Too Far. Ratio Juris 24/3, 342. 24. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp.15. 25. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp. 8. 26. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp. 23. 27. Venema, Derk 2011. Ratio Juris 24/1, 88-108, esp.100. 28. Nussbaum, Martha 2011. Rawls’s Political Liberalism. A Reassessment. Ratio Juris 24/1, 1-24, esp. 8.


‘The title of my paper is…’: Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations

1. Introduction Compared to the huge amount of research on written scientific texts, interest in oral genres has been relatively scarce until recently, with some notable exceptions such as the pioneering research by Dubois (1980, 1987). Of late there seems to be an increased awareness of the importance of academic talk in both educational and research settings. The compilation of the MICASE corpus of spoken academic English by the John Swales group has been a turning point in the field. Since then several other similar corpora have been compiled – T2K-SWAL, BASE and more recently the ELFA corpus –, some important monographs have been published, especially the very influential one by Ventola et al (2002), and individual contributions on various oral academic and research genres are published regularly in specialized journals. A major oral genre in research is the conference presentation (CP), which is broadly comparable, both from a formal and a functional point of view, to its written cousin, the research article (RA). One of the areas where differences between both genres have been noted is in the strategies used by speakers and writers to introduce their research. CP introductions have been found to differ from their RA counterparts both in terms of language and generic structure (Shalom 2002, Hood/Forey 2005, Rowley-Jolivet/Carter-Thomas 2005). They tend to be less informationally-loaded and more interpersonally-oriented, tendencies which may be explained by the influence of two contextual factors: the evident time constraints of the oral presentation, meaning there is no time for an elaborate topic contextu-


Francisco Javier Fernández Polo

alisation, and the need to connect with and create a favourable relationship with an audience that is physically present. Hood/Forey (2005: 294), propose the existence in CP introductions of a ‘set-up stage’, outside the main body of the presentation, whose main function is “to situate the talk in the immediate context, and […] provide the point of departure for the presentation”. This convention is more or less equivalent to Ventola’s ‘contextualization of the paper’ (2002) move preceding the beginning of the paper properly speaking with its standard sequence of IMRD moves (Swales 1990). Generally, the boundary between this contextualizing move, the set-up, and the rest of the presentation is clearly signalled both linguistically (by the use of discourse markers and other metatextual expressions, by falling intonation, by marked pauses), and gesturally, for instance, through changes in gaze and positioning (Hood/Forey 2005: 294). One of the most frequent elements in this set-up stage, or contextualization move is the identification of the topic of the presentation. Rowley-Jolivet and Carter-Thomas (2005), who describe this element as the ‘topic announcement’, find that it tends to occur rather early in the introduction and to be highly redundant, as the topic has already been announced, almost without exception, by the panel chairperson, and it appears in the conference programme published before the conference and distributed to all the conference attendants. In this chapter, we will argue that beyond this apparent redundancy, the repetition of the topic at the beginning of the presentation plays a number of important roles, a factor which explains its widespread occurrence at the opening of many a presentation. Besides marking the boundary with the previous talk and highlighting the importance of the topic (Rowley-Jolivet/Carter-Thomas 2005), topic repetition allows speakers to engage their audiences’ attention and signal the beginning of the presentation in the confusion of the transition from the previous talk, to present the topic from a complementary, for instance, more clarifying perspective, and also, arguably, to manage the speaker’s stress. Specifically, on the basis of evidence obtained from a corpus of conference paper introductions compiled for this study, we will describe the role of the topic announcement in the wider context of the set-up stage, analyze the intertextual relationship between the presenter’s topic announcement

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


and the title slide, and, lastly, characterize the typical internal structure and language features of this important rhetorical element.

2. Materials and methods Our corpus consists of the introductory sections of 31 conference presentations in English. The field is Applied Linguistics and the papers were recently presented at several international conferences in Spain and Portugal. Both the presenters and the audience were native and non-native speakers of English. The presentations were audio- and video-taped and transcribed. For this research only the introductory or set-up sections were analyzed. A rhetorical structure analysis of the 31 set-ups was carried out to identify the presence of a topic identification step. Given the intrinsic uncertainty of this kind of rhetorical analysis, dual rating of the data were carried out throughout and the results contrasted until agreement on a common interpretation was reached. All instances of the topic identification step in our corpus were then submitted to a thorough multimodal analysis, with attention paid to aspects of language, internal structure, gesture and use of visual support. All the analyses were done manually.

3. Results and discussion 3.1. Topic announcement in the context of the set-up stage We observed a great internal variability in our corpus, in terms of the size and complexity of this introductory or set-up section of the presentations. The generic structure analysis of the 31 set-ups revealed the existence of a series of recurrent, distinct components, which we list in Table 1. Obviously, speakers’ presentations differed from each


Francisco Javier Fernández Polo

other greatly both in the number of elements that they contained and in their order of appearance in the set-up; however, their relative places in the list may be taken as an overall reflection of their actual locations in the examined set-ups. Checking technology Thanking moderator Greeting/thanking audience Introduction of self and co-authors Thanking/Praising conference organization (location, organization, etc.) Referring to audience (composition, mention of people present, etc.) Personal anecdotes Reference to the status of the research Appeal to audience (seeking comprehension, sympathy, etc.) Identification of topic Contextualization of the presentation Previewing of content Structure of presentation Reference to support resources (e.g. handout) Transition to next stage Table 1. Rhetorical steps in the set-up stage.

The role of the set-up stage is to contextualize the paper by presenting one’s credentials and creating a favourable relationship with the audience, and by orienting them as to the content and organisation of the paper. Thus, metafunctionally, a clear dichotomy can be observed in the identified steps between more interpersonal and more ideational elements – or listener-oriented and topic-oriented (Shalom 2002: 63). Similarly, Hood and Forey talk about sub-stages that foreground different kinds of meanings – ideational, interpersonal or textual – while Rowley-Jolivet/Carter Thomas (2005), make a distinction between interpersonal framework and discourse framework elements. The topic identification step was one of the most popular elements in our corpus of CP introductions: 20 of the 31 presentations contained this step. As already observed by other authors (RowleyJolivet/Carter-Thomas 2005), it tended to occur rather early in the setup, after the ceremonial greeting and thanksgiving to the panel moderator and/or the audience, or after the self-presentation of the speaker

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


and collaborators. It was often the first ideational element of the presentation and therefore a strong signal for the audience to understand that announcing the topic was actually the beginning of the presentation proper: after the inherent chattiness of the greetings and thanks, the moment has come to settle down and pay attention. And finally, arguably, announcing the topic also provides speakers with a convenient, safe way to break the ice and control stage fright before moving on to the actual presentation (Fortanet Gómez 2008). In our corpus, the introduction of the topic tended to be naturally followed by a preview of the content (hypotheses, major findings, etc.), by a specification of the structure of the presentation, or directly by the transition to the main body of the paper. Exceptionally, the topic announcement step was delayed and placed outside the set-up stage, consequently embedded in the main body of the presentation. This delayed presentation of the topic seems to be characteristic of papers in which there exists a very elaborate written version of the paper that the speaker is going to read out or follow very closely. In such cases, the topic announcement typically follows a long topic-contextualisation move, roughly equivalent to Move 1 in Swales’s (1990) CARS model, and fulfils a sort of ‘occupying-the-niche’ role. Our data confirm the highly redundant nature of this step in the set-ups. In 19 out of 20 papers containing a topic identification element, the panel chair had already presented the topic by reading out the title, which was almost unexceptionally also being projected on an introductory slide showing simultaneously on the screen. Naturally, the title also figured in all the web and paper documents distributed by the conference organizers, notably the conference programme, which in all probability had been checked by the audience before they chose to attend the actual talk.

3.2. The title slides The announcement of the topic by the speaker is particularly redundant when there is a title slide showing simultaneously on the screen. A cursory analysis of the title slides in our corpus suggests that there may figure a number of elements in it, most typically, the title of the


Francisco Javier Fernández Polo

paper – typically at the top, centred and in large type –, the authors’ full names, their e-mails and affiliation – typically their university and research group –, some conference data – dates, place, name of the organizers, name of the conference –, acknowledgements of funding, graphic motives – drawings or photos directly related or not to the research topic – and logos of the university, the research group, the funding agencies, etc. The title slides are often crowded in spite of the advice of experts to reduce their content (Wallwork 2010: 57). On the face of it, the title slide seems to be much more than a simple presentation of the topic and of the speaker. Its role goes well beyond that of a simple ‘framing device’ (Rowley-Jolivet 2002), used by the speaker to announce the beginning of the presentation. In our opinion, the title slide plays another major role at the outset of the event: speakers use it to project a positive self-image before the audience, thus resolving one of the major tensions that arise at the beginning of the presentation (Hood/Forey 2005: 292), regarding the relative status and expertise, therefore the credibility, of the presenter in his/her discourse community: the mentioning of an institutional affiliation and even the inclusion of an institutional rather than a personal e-mail shows the presenter has been admitted by the institution or is part of a consolidated research group, and is therefore reliable. The increasing tendency to include institutional logos prominent on the title slide – sometimes in all slides – plays much the same role, because logos or names of funding agencies show that the presenter has been given financial support and is therefore trustworthy. Finally, the mentioning of the conference title and name of the host institution is clearly a positive politeness strategy targeting the organizers and the audience – as well as an indication, as suggested by Wallwork (2010), that the paper is not being recycled from a previous conference!

3.3. Internal structure of the topic announcement step Similarly to the set-up sections as a whole, the topic identification steps in our corpus of presentations, although generally short, vary

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


considerably in length and complexity, ranging from one single sentence (1) to several sentences (2). (1)

okay so, localising the global in lingua franca talk


okay, right, as you can see, you got the title of my talk on the screen, i’m going to be talking about general_ on the so-called general extenders and in a particular variety of English which is British English (xx) British English of teenagers, okay? so that’s the there’s the general title.

Regarding its internal structure, the topic announcement can consist in one or a combination of several of the following elements: a) a discourse marker – for instance, okay so or okay right –, which signals the beginning of the step; b) a succinct description of the topic, which is the core, default element in the step, and which can sometimes simply consist in a literal repetition of the title of the paper; c) deictic references – for instance, as you can see, you got the title of my talk on the screen; so that’s the general title – to other modes of presentation of the title, such as the book of abstracts, the published conference programme, a handout, the panel chair’s presentation or, most often, the title slide; and d) comments on the topic or the title of the presentation. In what follows, we will describe the different ways in which each of these elements is realized in our materials. 3.3.1. Discourse markers The step tends to be marked off by a short pause with falling intonation contour at the end of the previous element, followed by a discourse marker, often preceded or followed by a hesitation particle (ehm, er, um…), as in the following example: (3)

ehm so my_ in my talk i’m going to look at the use of the that complementizer

Eight out of the 20 instances of the topic identification step in our corpus are headed by one such discourse marker. The discourse markers found in our materials are those typically used to organize discourse on a global level or to demarcate sections in a text (Martin 1992: 219). In this sense, they are similar to Swales and Malczewski’s


Francisco Javier Fernández Polo

(2001: 150), attention-getting devices in new-episode flags (NEFs), used by speakers in MICASE to signal that they are moving from monologue to group discussion in lectures or simply changing the direction of the lecture somehow. The speakers in our corpus used the following discourse markers to signal the inception of the topic identification step: okay, so, well, and the clusters okay so and okay right. Despite the little evidence provided by our corpus, some interesting contrasts with the MICASE data are worth noting. Surprisingly, now, a frequent NEF in MICASE was never used as a flag to indicate the announcement of the topic in our data. In contrast, okay, so and okay so, the three most frequent discourse markers introducing this element in our materials, also figure among the most frequent NEFs in MICASE. Well, although generally recognized as a common topic-shifter in monologic discourse (Norrick 2001, Cuenca 2008), does not figure in Swales/ Malczewski’s short list of frequent NEFs, and the only instance of well in our small corpus actually occurs in a presentation by a non-native speaker. Similarly okay so, the most frequent cluster in MICASE, was only used by native speakers in our presentations, whereas okay right, which does not figure in the group of frequent clusters in the MICASE data, was only used by one of the non-native speaker presenters. Thus, although nothing conclusive can be derived from these cursory observations, the evidence provided by our materials invites further inquiry into the existence of possible differences between native and non-native speakers at conferences regarding the use of these particles to demarcate rhetorical sections of their presentations. 3.3.2. Description of the topic A short description of the topic of the presentation is naturally a nearly obligatory component in the topic identification step: in our corpus, 17 of the 20 papers realising this step contain a succinct topic description. In the remaining papers, although a topic identification step is still clearly discernible, no explicit mention is made of the actual topic that the audience is expected to recover from elsewhere, for instance, from the title slide, the conference programme or the handouts. In these ‘truncated’ instances of the topic identification step, speakers actually

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


direct the audience’s attention to the presence of the title on the screen, comment on the nature of the title or provide anecdotes on the topic, without mentioning it explicitly. Examples 4 and 5 illustrate the kind of reduced topic identification steps found in our materials: (4)

okay… uhm now (i realize that) um the title of my paper is rather grandiloquent. erm when i was preparing uhm a paper for this presentation erm itself erm i noticed that i promised quite a lot both in the title (and in) the abstract and that was presumably a bit too much.


my title is very long uhm, but uhm the EFL classroom that i’ll be talking about today is my classroom the teaching that i do, so anything embarrassing that you see is all my fault

In those cases where there is an explicit topic description – the bulk of the examples in our corpus – it can take a number of standard forms. The basic choice is between personal forms, with the speaker in the agentive position (today I’m going to talk about…) and more impersonal ones, where the paper, the topic or the title take the foreground (my/the topic is…, the title of this/my paper/talk is…). In our corpus, personal forms clearly outnumber impersonal ones (11:6). Generally, the presence of an impersonal form such as the title of my talk is… tends to indicate that the speaker has an intention to read the paper aloud. On the other hand, the use of personal forms in the presentation of the topic contributes to an increased deformalizing of the event and offers speakers the possibility of reducing the gap between themselves and the audience by creating the impression that this is improvised person-to-person communication. Additionally, personal forms allow speakers to opt between monologic verbs (I will talk about, I will look at, I will present…) and dialogic verbs (I will discuss with you, I will share with you…) when seeking to enhance the interpersonal bonds with the audience, crucial at this stage of the presentation (Hood/ Forey 2005). Finally, personal forms of topic presentation in our data tend to be highly modalized: only one of the speakers opts for a straightforward assertion (in this talk I present…); the others generally modalize the verbal processes, for instance, with expressions of intention or volition (I’m going to be talking about, we want to talk


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about…, I’ll try to look into…), as suits the conventional humility characteristic of academic discourse (Myers 1989). An interesting question regarding topic announcement relates to the highly redundant nature of this step. Rowley-Jolivet and Carter Thomas (2005), reasonably ask why presenting the topic again when it already figures in the conference programme and the book of abstracts, has just been introduced by the chairperson and, almost unexceptionally in today’s conferences, is being simultaneously projected on the screen. They note that the repetition has little informational value (except maybe for latecomers!), and that it mostly plays a rhetorical role: appropriating the topic and marking the boundaries with previous talk, or foregrounding its novelty and relevance for the audience. Interestingly, though, in our data presenters rarely – only six out of 20 – repeat verbatim the ‘official’ title of the paper that figures on the conference programme and the title slide. Instead, what they do is to reformulate the topic or paraphrase the title in a number of ways: x Amplification/Explicitation. By amplifying or making the actual content of the paper more explicit, by providing details or examples of the analyzed phenomena, the presenter intends to clarify the topic, which is somehow judged to be too obscure or abstract in the original formulation. (6)

Original title: University-school partnership: Benefits, challenges and sustainability Oral presentation: doctor X and myself uhm will be sharing with you uh experiences of two groups of secondary school teachers who undertook uh inquiries investigations into ways of teaching reading comprehension in secondary schools


Reduction. Sometimes the reformulation takes the opposite direction. The written title is too long and specific, probably the formulation a bit too specialized as well. The oral version, on the other hand, focuses on the general topic area and skips the details in the original.


Original title: Developing teachers’ confidence in their ability to teach English communicatively: A model of inservice teacher training within a Japanese context

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


Oral presentation: and what i essentially would like to do is talk about an inservice, uh teacher training programme that we've been w- running for the past five years.


Updating. The oral version allows the speaker the possibility of updating the title or retuning the topic to make it more consistent with the actual content of the presentation, or correcting possible mistakes in the original title, submitted months before the conference. In the following example the word French has been added by the presenter to reflect the important fact that the scope of the research is narrower than the original title might indicate.


Original title: Evaluative adjectives in scientific writing in humanities and social sciences. Oral presentation: ehm in this talk i present (xx) work on evaluative adjectives in French academic writings, in the humanities and social sciences.


Simplification/Popularisation. Simplification or popularization may operate either at the level of the language exclusively, or at the level of both language and content. In the former, the original tends to be too ‘written’ and detached or too specialized: for instance, the complex noun phrases of the original written title, which are difficult to process, are then unravelled and smoothed out in the oral version.


Original title: Moulding interpersonal relations through conditional clauses: Writer-reader interaction in written academic discourse Oral presentation: er okay er the the topic is moulding interpersonal relations and i’ll try to look into er conditional clause as one of the devices for shaping consensus between the writer and and the reader

The popularisation process can also involve content changes, a shift of perspective, for instance, by adding a component of celebration (Fahnestock 1986), or emphasizing the interest of the research for the expert community or the society at large (Rowley-Jolivet/CarterThomas 2005). Naturally, the latter form of popularisation is more likely to occur in those research areas that are inherently of more human interest for society, such as medicine. No examples of this ‘cele-


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brating’ type of popularisation have been found in the presentation of the topic by our linguists. Interestingly, the kind of relationships existing between the two modes of presentation of the topic, projected slides and oral presentation, reproduce the semantics of the relationships existing between clauses and sentences in texts. The relationship is of the ‘matching’ type (Winter 1994), characterized by a high degree of repetition. Most of the relationships between projected slide and oral presentation consist in the reformulation of a meaning in order to clarify it, which, according to Martin (1992: 210), can be achieved in two ways basically, either by shifting the level of abstraction or by shifting generality. The various forms of reformulation described above can be subsumed under these two basic types. To summarize, comparing the published titles with the actual oral presentation of the topic in the conference setting reveals a conscious attempt on the part of the speaker to present the message in a new light. In this sense, projected title and speaker presentation of the topic are not redundant but complementary. Beyond the apparent repetitiveness of the step, what we see is the adaptation of the message to the new context, a sort of internal translation into a more oral discourse, more suitable for the oral face-to-face presentation, and sometimes also a sort of popularisation. More generally, the intertextual relationship between both versions of the topic – printed title and oral presentation – illustrates the intrinsic hybridity and tension of the CP genre. Speakers are divided between their wish to be recognized as competent members of the specialized discourse community – by sounding professional, by showing their familiarity with the written scientific discourse conventions, as reflected in the written title on the screen and the conference programme – and, at the same time, providing for the special requirements of the oral context of the presentation. These needs reflect the speaker’s desire to hook and build up solidarity with the reader, but also to reduce the processing cost and maximize the comprehensibility of the proposal.

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


3.3.3. References to other modes of presentation Together with the discourse marker that signals the beginning of the step and the description of the topic itself, another frequent component of the topic identification step is references to other simultaneous modes of presentation of the title, most typically in today’s conferences, and in our data, the title slide. Here is an example: (10)

as you can see, the title of this eh paper is crossing the content and language frontiers an international school based init- training initiative

This is the element in the topic announcement that realizes what Ventola (2002) describes as the ‘semiotic spanning’ between the visual and the language codes. These deictic references to the projected title often occur at the beginning of the move, immediately before or after the discourse marker, and consequently serve a subsidiary discourse management role complementary to that of the discourse marker, which consists in informing the audience that, after the ceremonial greeting and thanksgiving, the speaker is moving on to a new stage, i.e. the presentation of the topic. By nature, conference presentations are highly multimodal texts, in which meaning is transmitted simultaneously through different channels: audio, image, gesture, print, etc. (Norris 2004). This enhanced multimodality is one of the advantages of spoken over written discourse, but also a challenge for both speakers and their audiences. Attendants to a conference presentation must strive to integrate the ‘semiotic mix’ (Rowley-Jolivet 2002) they receive through the different channels, while speakers must ensure the synchronicity between images and speech. In this sense, conference presentations abound with deictic references to the co-existing complementary channels, particularly visuals, which play such a crucial role in today’s scientific presentations. The amount and intensity of the deixis employed depends on a variety of contextual factors, including of course the degree of expertise and thoughtfulness of the speaker. For instance, in the following excerpt from our corpus the speaker goes to great lengths to reinforce the links between the two modes of presentation,


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by means of gestural and linguistic deictic expressions and a high degree of repetition: (11)

okay, right, as you can see, you got the title of my talk on the screen , i’m going to be talking about general_ on the so-called general extenders and in a particular variety of English which is British English (xx) British English of teenagers, okay? so that’s the there’s the general title .

As we can see, deictic references to the title slide can be realized through language (here, there, on the screen…), gestures or a combination of both language and gesture, like in the last two examples. In our presentations, gestural deixis is far more common than linguistic deixis: eleven of the presenters use gestures to signal the presence of a title slide, whereas only five use language for this purpose. These deictic gestures typically consist in the presenters nodding towards or, more ostensibly, gazing at the screen, sometimes followed by a short pause to allow the audience to focus on the signalled item. The effectiveness of the gesture, and consequently the intensity of the deixis, can be enhanced by being repeated, like in our examples above. Additionally, some presenters also make an arm movement in the same direction or point at the screen with hands and fingers. And finally, sometimes presenters reinforce the intrinsic deictic potential of the gesture by using focussing expressions, notably as you can see in our data, as Charles and Ventola (2002: 179) would put it: “to thicken semiotic spans with […] the immediately visible semiosis of the slide.” 3.3.4. Comments on the topic or title of the presentation Conference presenters seem to attach great importance to the title of their papers, probably because they are aware that a good title has more chances of attracting more people to the presentation (Wallwork 2010: 59); indeed presenters often go through several drafts of their titles before producing a final version. When presenting the topic, some offer the audience explicit insights into the toils, tears and sweat of the title composition process, like in here:

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations (12)


i’d say this is already a third title eh in my case , i don’t know why i don’t know why it’s changed dramatically from the very first one but the content is more or less the same as in the abstract.

Such personal confidences, as noted by Myers (1989) for scientific writing, are a powerful rhetorical strategy to generate audience involvement and rapport, particularly important at this early stage of the presentation. The sympathetic laughs of the audience in the example are clear evidence that, at least for this speaker, the strategy worked. Personal confessions and comments sometimes take the form of a more or less open manifestation of self-criticism or pessimism as to the adequacy of the title. Generally, a lot of time has elapsed since the submission of the original proposal, and significant changes may have occurred since, both in the methodology and the results of the research, which might render the ‘official’ title inadequate. Being obliged to stick to the original – now inadequate – title, presenters may start by avowing their dissatisfaction with their titles and criticizing them on the grounds, for instance, that they are too long or obscure, that they promise too much or announce an excessively ambitious research plan, like in the following example from our data: (13)

okay… uhm now (i realize that) um the title of my paper is rather grandiloquent. erm and erm when i was preparing uhm a paper for this presentation erm itself erm i noticed that i promised quite a lot both in the title (and in) the abstract and that was presumably a bit too much

Occasionally the discussion about the problematic nature of the paper’s title may transcend the presentation of the topic by the authors themselves. For instance, in the following example from our corpus it is dramatized in a sort of mini-dialogue between the moderator (S2) and the presenter (S1), where the moderator ironically alludes to the probably excessive originality of the title. The moderator’s irony is apparent in her tone, her facial expression (raising eyebrows and smiling) as well as in the unnatural collocation interesting and long title. Similarly, the presenter’s uptake is evident in his defensive well I know and in his half-embarrassed laughter. In all probability, both, who knew each other personally quite well, had been discussing the ‘special’ nature of the title briefly before its presentation to the

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audience, and this dramatization had been half agreed upon in advance. Their mutual exchange of looks reinforces this interpretation of the existence of a spirit of camaraderie and complicity between the two participants. (14)

okay, good afternoon. our first speaker is X, and he_, his talk has a very interesting and long title yes, well, i know (xx) yes. tonight you know? do you do you wanna go out wi- or something cos i’m in London? a preliminary analysis of general extenders in British teenagers’ discourse.

Myers notes that personal confessions tend to be rare in professional scientific writings, as compared, for instance, to interviews with researchers or popular science versions of those writings. The confessional tone that has been noted in some of the opening sections of our conference presentations – in this case in connection with the presentation of the topic, which has been our focus of attention in this chapter – underscores the hybrid nature of the CP genre. In terms of the well-known contingent-empiricist distinction (Gilbert/Mulkay 1984), it seems that conference presentations, like other forms of academic talk, would lie halfway in the cline between both forms of scientific discourse, the deliberately contingent popular science, and the empiricist, depersonalized refined product of the research article (Dubois 1987: 540). As a matter of fact, some conference presenters may feel more comfortable closer to the contingent pole than others, as has been observed elsewhere (Swales 2004: 27).

4. Conclusions In a scientist’s career, the conference presentation plays a similar role to that of the research article. Both are basic vehicles for the transmission and exchange of knowledge, as well as crucial instruments to gain recognition among peers and to earn professional development.

Introducing the Topic in Conference Presentations


However, compared to the immense interest in the research article shown by EAP specialists, the attention paid to conference presentations, and more generally to oral academic and research genres, has been strikingly scarce. Beyond the obvious structural similarities between many conference papers and the published research article, important differences have also been noted, which result from the different contextual constraints of both genres. One major difference concerns the very opening stages. Conference papers have been observed to contain an initial set-up section, absent in research articles, clearly demarcated and functionally distinct from the rest of the paper, in which speakers establish rapport with their audiences, situate their paper in the context of the panel and the conference as a whole, or simply gain time and control stress. One of the most common elements in this set up section is the presentation of the topic, which has been the focus of the present research. It constitutes a clearly distinct rhetorical element in the setup, clearly demarcated from the rest of the introductory section both through language and gesture, and exhibits a series of standard features across conference presentations, including a typical structure and a series of characteristic language features. The core component of the topic identification step is, obviously, the description of the topic itself. Interestingly, the research has revealed that, when presenting the topic to their audiences, speakers seldom reproduce the title of the paper literally, but opt for a sort of paraphrase or retuning of the topic, more suitable to the oral face-toface interaction: this reformulation may operate at the level of the language, the content, or both language and content. The analysis that we presented in this chapter underscores the highly multimodal character of the conference presentation genre as a whole, where the visual and the linguistic channels function in synchrony to convey meaning (Rowley-Jolivet 2002). In this sense, there is bound to be much intertextuality – or semiotic spanning (Ventola 2002) – between both synchronized channels, which results in a high degree of repetition, but also of repetition with variation. Generally, both modes, the visual presentation of the title and the speaker’s actual topic announcement to the audience, are not redundant, but comple-


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mentary: the written title conveys the voice of the expert whereas the spoken presentation talks to the colleague; the written version focuses on the abstract, whereas the speaker presents the particulars of the research topic, etc. These findings have important implications for the teaching of oral conference presentation skills, particularly as regards the effective utilization of the different modes of conveying meaning at the speaker’s disposal. On the face of it, competent presenters exploit the multimodal character of the genre to their own, as well as to their audience’s, advantage: they use the various meaning-transmitting modes to produce different, complementary layers of meaning, resulting in a presentation which is both more convincing and clear. Finally, the analysis of the topic announcement section of CPs presented in this chapter emphasizes the complex rhetorical nature of the conference presentation genre. In such a short episode as this, which can barely take a few seconds, speakers do a myriad of things: simultaneously, they present information, structure their text and create cohesion, ensure the integration of the various co-existing channels and strive to bring the audience on board by creating a favourable self-image and showing deference. This is undoubtedly a particularly daunting task for any speaker, and much more so for those who, besides, are non-native speakers of the language, the vast majority in today’s international conferences.

References Charles, Cassily / Ventola, Eija 2002. A Multi-Semiotic Genre: The Conference Slide Show. In Ventola et al. (eds), 169-209. Cuenca, Maria Josep 2008. Pragmatic Markers in Contrast: The Case of ‘Well’. Journal of Pragmatics 40, 1373-1391. Dubois, Betty Lou 1980. Genre and Structure of Biomedical Speeches. Forum Linguisticum 5, 140-169.

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Dubois, Betty Lou 1987. Something on the Order of around Forty to Forty-four: Imprecise Numerical Expressions in Biomedical Slide Talks. Language in Society 16, 527-541. Fahnestock, Jeanne 1986. Accommodating Science: The Rhetorical Life of Scientific Facts. Written Communication 3, 275-296. Fortanet Gómez, Inmaculada (co-ord.) 2008. Hablar inglés en la universidad. Oviedo: Septem Ediciones. Gilbert, G. Nigel / Mulkay, Michael 1984. Opening Pandora’s Box. A Sociological Analysis of Scientific Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hood, Susan / Forey, Gail 2005. Introducing a Conference Paper: Getting Interpersonal with your Audience. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4, 291-306. Martin, James 1992. English Text. System and Structure. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Myers, Greg 1989. The Pragmatics of Politeness in Scientific Articles. Applied Linguistics 10, 1-35. Norrick, Neal 2001. Discourse Markers in Oral Narrative. Journal of Pragmatics 33, 849-878. Norris, Sigrid. 2004. Analyzing Multimodal Interaction. A Methodological Framework. London: Routledge. Rowley-Jolivet, Elizabeth 2002. Visual Discourse in Scientific Conference Papers: A Genre-based Study. English for Specific Purposes 21, 19-40. Rowley-Jolivet, Elizabeth / Carter-Thomas, Shirley 2005. The Rhetoric of Conference Presentation Introductions: Context, Argument and Interaction. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 15/1, 45-70. Shalom, Celia 2002. The Academic Conference: A Forum for Enacting Genre Knowledge. In Ventola, Eija et al (eds), 50-68. Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis. English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. 2004. Research Genres. Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. / Malczewski, Bonnie 2001. Discourse Management and New Episode Flags in MICASE. In Simpson, Rita C. /


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Swales, John M. (eds) Corpus Linguistics in North America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 145-164. Ventola, Eija 2002. Why and What Kind of Focus on Conference Presentations? In Ventola et al. (eds), 15-50. Ventola, Eija, / Shalom, Celia / Thompson, Susan (eds) 2002. The Language of Conferencing. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Wallwork, Adrian 2010. English for Presentations at International Conferences. New York: Springer. Winter, Eugene 1994. Clause Relations as Information Structure: Two Basic Text Structures in English. In Coulthard, Malcolm (ed.) Advances in Written Text Analysis. London: Routledge, 46-68.


‘Why do we have to write?’: Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts and the Place of Writing

1. Introduction Developments in contemporary communication sharply pose questions about the present role and the likely future development of writing. (Bezemer/Kress 2008: 167)

The anguished question in the title to this chapter was posed by several students enrolled in doctoral programs in the visual and performing arts on occasions when we discussed our research into the written component that comprises part of a doctoral thesis in these fields within Australia. While typically asked of us in an aside, this ‘backstage’ (Goffman 1959) question troubles ‘stabilised for now’ (Schryer 1993: 208) understandings of doctorateness. In this chapter, we explore the possibilities and parameters of theses in these relatively new fields drawing on the findings of our three-year-long study that examined the nature of the written components of what have become known as practice-based doctorates. For the purposes of our study, a practicebased doctorate is one in which there is both a ‘creative’ and a written component which together comprise the thesis which is examined. The completed work is assessed according to criteria of originality and significant contribution to knowledge as with the ‘conventional’ PhD or doctorate. In the course of our study, we frequently heard the view that it should be possible for the creative work itself to embody the characteristics of originality and significant contribution without reference to a written text. While our study found no evidence of this ‘model’ in use anywhere in Australia, it is in a sense entirely logically


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plausible and possible. As such it mounts a challenge to the academy and the notion of doctorateness itself. While the main focus of our chapter is the creative practice-based doctorate in Australia, our work becomes a lens through which to imagine possible doctoral futures.

2. Doctoral theses and the notion of genre Dudley-Evans (1999), Thompson (1999), Dong (1998) and Bunton (2002, 2005) discuss thesis and dissertation writing in a number of different disciplines in the UK and the US. Paltridge (2002) and Starfield/Ravelli (2006) extend this work in an analysis of thesis and dissertation writing in Australia. Thompson (forthcoming) provides an extensive overview of other research in this area. A number of authors have also discussed the teaching of thesis and dissertation writing (see e.g., Paltridge 2003; Paltridge/Starfield 2007). Swales and Feak’s (2004) Academic Writing for Graduate Students and their (2000) English in Today’s Research World are especially important texts. Although not written as research monographs, these books are strongly influenced by research into the thesis and dissertation genre. None of these studies, however, has examined doctoral theses in the visual and performing arts, the focus of this chapter. The characteristic features that are shared by texts that are instances of a particular genre can be understood as the “linguistic/ symbolic solution to a problem in social interaction” (Bazerman 1988: 62). For example, studies of the evolution of the genre of the experimental scientific research article from the late 17th century onwards tell us that in the early years, experiments later reported in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, were performed in public at meetings of members of the Royal Society. This ‘communal witness’ (Bazerman 1988: 74) was an important part of the validation of the experiment. Over time, as Bazerman explains, expert witnesses would travel to laboratories to confirm they had seen the experiment in question performed. By about 1800, the experiment had become a much more

Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts


private affair that the scientist then had to represent in writing (and with some use of visual diagrams) to an audience distant in time and space, persuading the reader in words of the validity and plausibility of the research. In Bazerman’s words, “the account of the experiment has come, at least for the time being, to stand as the proof” (1988: 75). In other words, the genre of the experimental report, with its characteristic features, perhaps the archetypal research genre in terms of its influence on academic writing, developed in a very specific set of sociohistorical circumstances and to resolve a specific set of problems. A genre, as Bazerman reminds us, following Carolyn Miller (1984), is a socially recognised, repeated strategy for responding to social situations which have similar goals and are perceived as being similar. Genre, thus, is a kind of ‘social agreement’ (Miller/Bazerman 2011) about ways of doing things with language in particular social and cultural settings. Genres, in these terms, provide writers with ways of formulating responses to specific situations and readers with ways of recognizing the kinds of message being transmitted. To sum up, “a genre is a social construct that regularizes communication, interaction, and relations” (Bazerman 1988: 62). However as Bazerman and others (Berkenkotter 2007) have demonstrated, genres are not static entities; precisely because they embody strategies deployed in particular social situations, they evolve as situations change. As a genre, the doctoral thesis shares some of the textual characteristics of the typical research article; it does however differ in its contexts and rhetorical purposes. It is a pedagogical genre that is written to be assessed and the student’s task is to persuade its primary readers (i.e. the examiners) that they are worthy of admission to the community of scholars, having served a research apprenticeship, while a journal article is assessed by peers as to its worthiness for publication. In Australia, the first doctorates were only awarded in the postWorld War II era and we cannot trace change on the time scale that, for instance, Bazerman and Bekenkotter were able to. However, drawing on the findings of our study of the written component of practice-based doctorates in the visual and performing arts, we discuss the ‘stabilisedfor-now’ (Schryer 1993: 208) outcomes of complex institutional negotiations in which the practice-based doctorate has emerged in these areas of study. As Bakhtin (1981) argued, genre change occurs as


Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli

the centripetal forces at work in language, those that strive for unity, interact dynamically with the centrifugal forces, those that work for change. In the case of practice-based doctorates, it is possible to discern these forces at work through the academy, as communities and their members discursively position themselves within new contexts of production and reception of texts but, are, at the same time, bounded by the strong, centralising power of the institution of the university

3. The emergence of the practice-based doctorate in the visual and performing arts The creative practice-based doctorate is a relatively new arrival on the doctoral landscape, primarily emerging in the UK and Australia from the late 1980s onward, and showing substantial growth through the 1990s and into the 2000s (1,779 students were enrolled in doctoral study in the visual arts in Australia in 2008). These new kinds of doctorates differ from the more conventional doctorate in that they are comprised of a written and a creative component. If we follow Bazerman’s argument that a genre emerges or changes in response to a problem in the social context that needs resolution, we can briefly survey the changes in both British and Australian higher education that led to its emergence (see, for example, Evans et al. 2003). The merging of art colleges with polytechnics and then polytechnics with universities in the late 1980s led to enormous changes (see Borg 2007 for a more detailed account). Up until then, Art schools had offered the Master of Fine Arts as their terminal degree – essentially a creative work accompanied by a short written commentary known as the exegesis (see Paltridge 2004; Buckley 2009) – but once incorporated into universities they came under pressure to produce research that could be assessed in terms that were recognisable to and valued by other parts of the university, and, in particular, a research-based doctorate or PhD-level offering. This view is epitomised in a 1997 report by the UK Council of Graduate Education:

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Creative works, no matter how highly esteemed, cannot in themselves be regarded as outputs of research. They can only become so in association with explanatory text. (UK Council for Graduate Education 1997: 17)

Writing in 2000, Candlin claimed that at at least one university in the UK it was possible to submit a PhD that was entirely practice-based (i.e. with no accompanying written component). To the best of our knowledge, this has not been the case in Australia. Our study, reported on below, found no evidence of such a possibility, with all doctorates or PhDs in the visual or performing arts requiring a written component although, as discussed below, we found significant differences in the amount of written text required. MacLeod and Holdridge (2004: 157) have noted, however, that “some artists/researchers resist the provision of a written text” as they argue that “their language is visual, and that to make work and submit a written thesis is equivalent to a double doctorate”. More recently, Buckley (2009) has commented that the “role of the [written] text in the PhD” in Australia still remains “unresolved”, despite there being “widespread acceptance that the thesis may be constituted by multiple forms, ranging across painting, sound, performance, installation and text” (2009: 81-82). It is fair to say that a fairly lengthy struggle in regard to gaining doctoral status for the new degrees has been waged within the Australian academy. Fairskye (1993: 2-3) writes that “artists in the academy have felt like ‘gate crashers’ at the University’s dinner party […] asked to show their I.D. before they’re allowed to sit down at the table with everyone else.” Within the academy, a written text still constitutes a large part of that ‘I.D.’. Sone, a recent graduate himself, comments, “as a new form of degree, practice-based doctoral courses in Australia have not yet earned academic legitimacy” and that he sometimes felt he was seen as ‘suspect’, by theorists and artists alike (Sone 2005: 8). Commenting on the ‘newness’ of the PhD in Fine Arts, Ashburn (2003) notes: “as yet, unlike some other disciplines, there are no conventions, recipes or formulas for fine art theses or dissertations” (2003: 3). In Australia, the Strand Report into research in the creative arts (Strand 1998) grappled with questions of how research and publication in the creative arts should be defined and recognised by universities and funding bodies, and recommended the adoption of “the notion of


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research equivalence as an appropriate and valid concept for recognition of research-based practice and performance in the creative arts” (1998: xvii). Research equivalence was explained as the recognition that the “research-based work of academic artists is the equivalent of scientific and scholarly research and of equal value to it in the advancement of knowledge” (1998: xvi). While not specifically referring to doctoral research, the notion of equivalence is nevertheless important for understanding institutional arrangements for creative practice doctorates and the role given to the written component as we will discuss below. The impassioned question of our title, ‘Why do I have to write?’ posed on several occasions by students we have encountered in the course of our study, highlights the very real difficulties experienced by many students whose dominant self concept is that of ‘maker’ and not of researcher/writer that is attested to by much of the literature on these doctorates (for example, Hockey 2003). We would not, of course, wish our work to be interpreted as reinforcing a ‘making/writing binary’ (MacLeod/Holdridge 2004: 175) but, as linguists and applied linguists interested in research genres, our focus is on the doctoral thesis genre as it evolves in response to changes in the socio-educational context. In this chapter, we draw on data from our study, specifically survey and interview data as well as institutional documentation and guidelines to better understand the place of writing in practice-based doctorates in the visual and performing arts. We conclude by reflecting on how these new doctorates may enable us to think about new doctoral possibilities. In the process, we will consider Bazerman’s (1988: 62) intriguing questions: ‘How does the world of events get reduced to the virtual world of words? How did the conventions and procedures for this reduction develop?’ Before discussing our investigative approach, we should briefly describe the examination processes for these new doctorates, noting that they do vary from institution to institution. All the successful doctoral candidates we interviewed as part of our study had included a substantial creative component in their doctoral submissions. As discussed in an earlier article (Paltridge et al. 2013) this is not always immediately evident from the written component alone. Of interest here, though, is that all those we interviewed had either held a studio exhibition of their art work or a performance in front of an audience. In the tradition of

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‘public witnessing’ described earlier, the exhibition or the performance is attended by the examiners who sometimes meet with the candidate but often do not. In many cases, the examiner then receives the student’s written text some months later. In some universities, the examiners, prior to viewing the performance or the exhibition will receive a short framing document that contextualises the student’s creative work.

4. Investigative approach Our study adopted an investigative approach developed by John Swales (1998a, 1998b) and known as textography. Textography is an approach to the analysis of written texts which seeks to combine text analysis with ethnographic techniques including surveys, interviews and other contextual data in order to better understand what texts are like and why. It aims to get an insider view of the worlds in which the texts are written, why they are written as they are, what shapes the writing and the values that underlie the texts that have been written. Our study was carried out in several stages and collected data from multiple sources, enabling triangulation, and enhancing the trustworthiness of our research. Firstly, we established a nation-wide database of institutions, their doctoral programs, forms of assessment and numbers of recent graduates to determine the extent to which practicebased doctoral submissions are taking place in Australia in the visual and performing arts. We then developed an online survey aimed at supervisors of doctoral theses in the visual and performing arts at Australian universities. An email with a link to the survey was sent to 150 academics in these areas at all Australian universities. Initial questions included the participants’ experience of doctoral supervision, the fields of study covered, and characteristics of the examination process. Subsequent questions focused on the written component and asked specifically about the relationship between the written and creative components, the typical length of the written component, its typical organisational patterns, the characteristics of high quality doc-


Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli

toral work in the specific area of study, the nature of university guidelines in relation to practice-based submissions, how a significant contribution to knowledge could be demonstrated in the specific field of study and, finally what students typically found most straightforward and most challenging about their doctoral writing. Responses to the survey were received from 36 supervisors of doctoral students, at 17 Australian universities, a 24 percent response rate. Respondents were asked to indicate whether they would be prepared to be interviewed and also to identify doctoral theses that, in their opinion, could be considered examples of a ‘high quality’ doctoral project in their field. The data discussed below are drawn mainly from the survey but also from the interviews and documentation collected in the scoping component of the study. The next stage of the project involved the collection of the written components of doctoral submissions selected on the advice of those supervisors who had recommended doctoral submissions that, in their view, most desirably represented the doctoral texts submitted in their areas of study. Wherever possible, we also collected copies of the performance or exhibition on DVD or CD. Thirty-six doctoral texts in the areas of theatre, dance, music, painting, sculpture, drawing, digital media and mixed media, each ranging from 30-80,000 words in length were collected. Table 1 provides a summary of the areas of study that indicates that there were more visual arts than performing arts texts, which is generally reflective of enrolments in doctoral study across these two general areas of study. Visual arts Painting Mixed media Drawing Digital media Photography Sculpture

Performing arts 7 5 2 8 2 2

Dance Theatre Music

6 1 3

Table 1. Areas of study in the sample texts.

Fifteen students and 15 supervisors were interviewed, as much as possible paired around a particular student’s work. In the majority of

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cases we were able to interview both the supervisor of the recommended thesis and the student who had produced it. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews lasting approximately one hour each were carried out by two of the authors of this chapter. Interviews were audiorecorded and transcribed and then analysed and coded using NVIVO 8, enabling themes to be identified and cross-referenced. Interview questions included some of the areas examined in the online survey of supervisors but face-to-face interviewing allowed for probing and clarifying as well as for discussion of the student’s written text and its relationship to the doctoral project as a whole. Questions also asked about the features of high and poor quality doctoral texts in the specific area of study and the challenges of supervision. Student interviews followed a similar schedule but focused more on understanding the student’s choice of particular organisational patterns, the use of guidelines, the relationship between the two components of the doctoral thesis and the challenges they had experienced with the writing. We also examined university prospectuses and information given to students in relation to their candidature some of which were collected during the initial scoping phase described above. In the section below, we consider some of the data from institutional guidelines that help locate the place of writing in the creative practice doctorate. We also obtained copies of in-house art school publications and discussion papers as well as attended roundtable discussions (e.g. Baker et al. 2009; Phillips et al. 2008) and exhibition openings of doctoral students’ work. As ‘outsiders’ to these communities, these differing events were crucial for deepening our understanding of the concerns of the fields under study. For example, when we visited the Queensland University of Technology in 2009 to carry out interviews, we were able to view the performance space in which Unstable Acts (referred to below) was performed and gain a sense of how the examiners might have experienced the performance.


Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli

5. The place of writing In our study, many of the responses to questions about the students’ written submissions evoked strong reactions from participants. In the survey we asked supervisors: “What do students find most straightforward in this kind of writing?” A common response was “Nothing”. When we asked them: “What do students find difficult in this kind of writing?” they typically said “Everything”. In response to the question of what they found most challenging when supervising doctoral students, participants frequently cited the written component. When we asked a student about her writing she said, “It was hell”. Another said, “I loved the research, I just hated writing it”. In the interviews, a supervisor said: “I don’t think there is anything straightforward [for these students]” and “I think most of them find the whole idea of the PhD very challenging”. In response to the question as to the typical length of the students’ written texts, responses from the 17 universities represented varied from 20-30,000, 30-40,000 to 60-70,000 words with several supervisors indicating that 80,000 words or more was expected at their institutions. A closer look at some university handbooks suggests that the word limit may be the outcome of a negotiated ‘weighting’. Creative work can be deemed equivalent to an amount of written text and the word length reduced proportionately. For example, at Queensland University of Technology (Handbook 2010), in the Creative Industries Faculty, a distinction is drawn between practice-based research as a method of data collection on the one hand and as a means of reporting on the other. In the former, practice-led research is a research strategy offering up data for analysis. The practice is experimental and the results will be written up in a thesis. There is no reason for examiners to view the actual production. A doctoral thesis in this understanding of practice is expected to have an 80,000 word limit. The submissions that are the focus of our investigation fall into the second category – practice-based research as a means of reporting – and are subject to a weighting between the practice and written components. The practice component

Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts


can constitute from 40 per cent to 75 per cent of the whole study. The minimum length of the written component is therefore 20,000 words, that is, 25 per cent of 80,000 words. In one of the texts in our corpus (Fenton 2007), submitted at Queensland University of Technology, the author sets out precisely how his written submission meets these guidelines: As this thesis follows the methodology of practice-led research with 75% of the total dissertation in the form of a creative work, it is essential to be selective with the remaining 25% which makes up the written component. (Fenton 2007: 18)

The final version of Fenton’s creative component was a performance presented to the examiners of Unstable Acts 3, a performance work he developed over several iterations, all of which we were able to view on DVD. In addition, a CD-Rom included four appendices which traced the genesis of the work over time and provided copies of the author’s journals containing data from his practice as well as photographs. The University of Melbourne’s regulations for its PhD in the creative arts also attempt to quantify the relationship between the two components: In the case of creative arts disciplines where the thesis may take the form of creative works and a dissertation, the integrated thesis should normally represent the equivalent of 80,000 words. The creative work component will be determined between the candidate and supervisor, be approved by the Head of Department and be relevant to the proportion of the thesis submitted as creative work. The length of the dissertation will also depend on what proportion of the thesis it constitutes, but will normally be at least 40,000 words. (Victorian College of the Arts, , accessed 6/06/2011)

In the University of New South Wales’ ‘Conditions for awarding the PhD’ no attempt is made to define a word length but the notion of proportionality is retained: On completing the program of study a candidate must submit a thesis embodying the results of the investigation. Where the research has included a substantial studio/production/exhibition component, the length of the written thesis may be proportionally reduced from the appropriate length of the thesis


Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli in the discipline. ( accessed 6/06/2011)

These clear administrative requirements belie the diversity of views expressed by supervisors who responded to our survey. Participants’ responses to the question of how they would describe the relationship between the written component and other parts of the student’s doctoral work, varied from the simple “fraught”, to the terse “50/50” to lengthier explanations that explored the complexity of the relationship. All, nevertheless, took as given that creative practice doctoral submissions would include a written component, however difficult it seemed to pin down the nature of the relationship. Words like ‘complementary’ and ‘symbiotic’ were used but also “to be in constant negotiation over the time of the inquiry / to follow no set pattern”. While for some supervisors the relationship did not appear problematic, “the exegesis [written component] and artefacts represent the project in its totality. The aim is for a mutually complementary relationship to be evident between the artefacts and exegesis”, other supervisors were less sanguine. Certainly, the complexity of the relationship was noted by many. One supervisor commented that, in her view, the relationship is “troubled for the most part, and [the written component] tends to overshadow the creative work component both in time spent, effort and intellectual engagement”. Nevertheless, the majority of those who responded to this question were in agreement on the need for there to be a relationship but that this could be difficult to articulate: “It need not be dialogic, but it can be. But there must be some connection between the two. I usually allow the connection to be vague” wrote one supervisor. For another, written and creative components are “two complementary modes of demonstrating a particular knowledge (and way of knowing). However, this relationship is complex and diverse and may be manifested differently depending on the particular study”. The written component’s inclusion was perceived as essential in ensuring the student’s admission to the academy and an acknowledgment of what is valued by the academy: At times [the relationship between the two components is] strained. However, a necessary component that is recognised by our candidates for its value in the

Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts


overall submission of the thesis. It is a strong factor in the development of the artist scholar, as opposed to the artist researcher.

Another survey respondent cautioned against the privileging of writing, emphasising the essentially multimodal nature of the research and its realisation: Not all PhD candidates in the creative arts are equally adept at using the vocabulary and conventions of their ‘home’ disciplines in a way that is likely to forward their research goals, or practised enough at writing before they reach the submission phase to deploy the written component as effectively as they might. I would however resist the idea that problems such as a lack of clarity in formulating research question(s), an inability to verbalise the basis on which approaches are chosen or creative decisions are made, amongst other common problems of form, process and perspective, can be addressed through attention to written expression alone. A PhD candidate in the creative arts must be able to demonstrate their capacity to understand the contexts of their practice, to think critically in all expressive modes used in the exploratory, research activity and research reporting phases, to show their ability to move between perspectives and styles of expression as appropriate, using those shifts effectively to progress the overall argument so that it can be assessed by others. I do not believe that the precise nature of these shifts, or the mode and style in which they can best be expressed, can or should be legislated beforehand.

The institutional requirement for a written component was raised in an interview by one of the supervisors who addressed the university regulations that had attempted to pre-empt the possible call for a doctoral submission with no written component: We did say here, the written component shall be a form that communicates to the researchers’ academic and professional peers. So that’s audience. That was really my attempt to head off the people saying, why can’t I dance my written component?

This same supervisor nevertheless invoked the possibility of a multimodal or multiform doctoral thesis, saying: I really think it’s helpful to think of these as multiform doctoral theses. This is a multiform doctoral thesis. One part is the creative work itself. One part is the exegesis. One part is the documentation. How you weave those together, I’m


Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli just waiting for the really clever kid to actually weave the documentation into the work. Like, all of that will happen. We’ll get that.

One of the successful students who supplied written answers to our interview questions had attempted to produce a doctoral project that was to an extent multiform or multimodal. The student presented his entire PhD on a single DVD-ROM containing three interrelated ‘pathways’, one of which he called the ‘writing’ pathway, and which constituted the written component, with the other two being a video pathway and an interactive pathway, all linked by hypermedia. Of all the doctoral projects in our corpus, this work probably uses the affordances of multimedia to explicitly attempt to reconceptualise the binary of writing/making more than any other. The student explained his vision thus: This was designed to integrate the various pathways (as I called them) so that no single aspect of the project was privileged. The different pathways were designed to ‘get at’ various concerns – some embodied, some discursive, some poetic – that together would represent a comprehensive consideration of remembering, liveness and improvisation. In this respect, there is no simple relationship between the writing and the (so-called) creative outcomes. Together they represent the form-content of the entire project. I attempted to avoid the written aspect(s) being a simple justification or contextualisation of the practice. This felt like it simply reinforced a theory-practice binary, as well as traditional logocentric epistemological attitudes.

While many of the written texts in our corpus can be said to be multimodal to some extent in that they contain visual images of one kind or another, these tend to be either visuals of the student’s own creative work that illustrate or elucidate a point or support an argument or reproductions of works of art that form part of the review of the work of other artists that have influenced the student’s own trajectory (see Figure 1). At one institution we visited, we were shown boxes in which the student’s written component and a record of the exhibition were presented “bound together in the one box” as a supervisor of a successful student explained to us, to attempt to better capture the relationship between the two components. This supervisor also explained

Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts


how the use of the digitalisation of the theses had the potential to convey a greater sense of the creative component and its relationship to the written component where for example, colour could be shown. At the same time, however, copyright restriction meant that reproductions of the work of other artists could not be included in the online repository and these images had to be removed from the online copy, leaving blank spaces. Improvements in the technologies available will no doubt support and drive change in doctoral forms but as we suggested above when discussing Bakhtin, countervailing forces for stability and unity may mitigate against these. Overall, there is a sense that the written component does provide some legitimation for the creative work in a currency that is recognisable and valued by the academy at large. Despite the difficulty of writing, supervisors do seem to see value in the written component while some would like its dominance to be questioned more. The survey and interview data also suggested a fluidity of approaches to the relationship between written and creative components and that the nature of the relationship could be adjusted to suit individual students’ needs but it was difficult to gain an exact sense of how this negotiation occurred in practice. However uneasy, the relationship between creative and written components in the practice-based thesis in the visual and performing arts appears to be stabilised for now. Although, as Catherine Schryer reminded us at a recent conference, stabilised for now can mean for just a ‘nano second’ (Catherine Schryer, personal communication, 2011).


Sue Starfield / Brian Paltridge / Louise Ravelli

Figure 1. From D. Fenton. Unstable Acts (PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology, 2007: 76). Available at .

Practice-based Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts


6. Conclusion Our discussion thus far can be understood as a response to the question posed in the title of this chapter and to Bazerman’s (1988: 62) questions cited earlier as to how the world of events gets ‘reduced to the virtual world of words’ and how the conventions and procedures for this reduction developed. Clearly the terrain is a contested one. The practice-based doctorate, inasmuch as it constitutes a challenge to the ‘default’ mode of the doctoral thesis raises a number of intriguing questions for the academy and its prestige assessment genre which also serves as an ‘apprenticeship’ for new scholars. Although we have identified a degree of diversity from institution to institution, the genre currently seems relatively stable in that there is a (slightly uneasy) consensus over the need for a written component for the reasons outlined in this chapter. The dynamic tensions referred to earlier that shape both genre change and stability are, however, at play not far from the surface. Kress (1999) has argued that in periods of greater social change, genres become less stable. In some of our earlier work (Starfield/ Ravelli 2006), we identified, following Hodge (1998), a ‘new humanities’ PhD strongly influenced by postmodernism. As new technologies and new media increase their dominance in communication, they will, and are already exerting pressure on the traditional genres of the academy (witness pedagogic use of wikis, blogs etc). In recent blogpostings, the president of the eminent Modern Languages Association (Smith 2010a ) speculated on the future of the doctorate in languages and literature. “Composing, displaying, and linking a digital project potentially valuable to other scholars, teachers, and students” could, she suggested (among other options), constitute an alternative to the traditional ‘dissertation’. In another post, she questioned whether the dissertation should “remain inflexibly wedded to traditional book-culture formats” as “doctoral students in the modern languages will increasingly create and use digital archives and invent multimodal forms of scholarly presentation and communication”(Smith 2010b ). While the doctorate by publication seems to be gaining a degree of acceptance in Australia, particularly in the sciences and engineering in response to the pressure for early and more publication, quite how computer sciences, multimedia and other disciplines, inter- and trans-disciplines will shape the doctorate remains an open question. As Bezemer and Kress (2008) remind us, in any change of mode of representation there will be gains and losses.

Acknowledgements We would like to thank the Australian Research Council for funding the research on which this chapter is based and all the participants in our study who contributed so willingly

References Ashburn, Elizabeth 2003. New Possibilities: Supervising Fine Art Doctorates. Paper presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Newcastle Mini-Conference. Available at . Baker, Su / Buckley, Brad / Kett, Giselle 2009. Creative Arts PhD: Future-proofing the Quality in Creative Arts Doctoral Programs. Strawberry Hills, NSW: Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Available at . Bakhtin,. Mikhail M.1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. In Holquist, Michael (ed.), Emerson, Caryl / Holquist, Michael (trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press. Bazerman, Charles 1988. Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

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Berkenkotter, Carol 2007. Genre Evolution? The Case for a Diachronic Perspective. In Bhatia, Vijay, K. / Flowerdew, John / Jones, Rodney H. (eds) Advances in Discourse Studies. London: Routledge, 178-191. Bezemer, Jeff / Kress, Gunter 2008. Writing in Multimodal Texts: A Social Semiotic Account of Designs for Learning. Written Communication 25, 166-195. Borg, Erik 2007. Writing in Fine Arts and Design Education in Context. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice 1/1, 85-101. Buckley, Brad 2009. What is with the Ceiling! The Artist, Higher Degrees and Research in the University Art School. In Buckley, Brad / Conomos, John (eds) Rethinking the Contemporary Art School. Halifax, Canada: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 76-86. Bunton, David 2002. Generic Moves in PhD Thesis Introductions. In Flowerdew, John (ed.) Academic Discourse. London: Longman, 57-75. Bunton, David 2005. The Structure of PhD Conclusion Chapters. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4, 207-224. Candlin, Fiona 2000. Practice-based Doctorates and Questions of Academic Legitimacy. International Journal of Art and Design Education 19/1, 96-101. Dong, Yu Ren 1998. Non-native Speaker Graduate Students’ Thesis/ Dissertation Writing in Science: Self-reports by Students and their Advisors from Two U.S. Institutions. English for Specific Purposes 17, 369-390. Dudley-Evans, Tony 1999. The Dissertation: A Case of Neglect? In Thompson, Paul (ed.) Issues in EAP Writing Research and Instruction. Reading, UK: Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Reading, 28-36. Evans, Terry / Macauley, Peter / Pearson, Margot / Tregenza, Karen 2003. A Brief Review of PhDs in Creative and Performing Arts in Australia. Paper presented at AARE mini-conference, Defining the Doctorate. Newcastle. Available at . Fairskye, Merilyn 1993. Frankly, I may be a Genius, but don’t Call me Dale, I’ll Call you. Ornithology and Art? A Bird’s Eye View of


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Conceptual Rigour in Contemporary Art Practice. Brisbane: Queensland Art Gallery. Fenton, David 2007. Unstable Acts: A Practitioner’s Case Study of the Poetics of Postdramatic Theatre and Intermediality. Doctor of Philosophy, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology. Available at . Goffman, Erving 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday. Hockey, John 2003. Practice-based Research Degree Students in Art and Design: Identity and Adaptation. Journal of Art and Design 22/1, 82-91. Hodge, Bob 1998. Monstrous Knowledge: Doing PhDs in the ‘New Humanities’. In Lee, Alison / Green, Bill (eds) Postgraduate Studies: Postgraduate Pedagogy. Sydney: Centre for Language and Literacy, Faculty of Education, University of Technology, 113-128. Kress, Gunter 1999. Genre and the Changing Contexts for English. Language Arts 76/6, 461-469. MacLeod, Katy / Holdridge, Lin 2004. The Doctorate in Fine Art: The Importance of Exemplars to the Research Culture. International Journal of Art and Design Education 23, 155-168. Miller, Carolyn R. 1984. Genre as Social Action. Quarterly Journal of Speech 70, 151-67. Miller, Carolyn R. / Bazerman, Charles 2011. Gêneros textuais (Genres), Available at . Paltridge, Brian 2002. Thesis and Dissertation Writing: An Examination of Published Advice and Actual Practice English for Specific Purposes 21, 125-143. Paltridge, Brian 2003. Teaching Thesis and Dissertation Writing. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics 8, 78-96. Paltridge, Brian 2004. The Exegesis as a Genre: An Ethnographic Examination. In Ravelli, Louise J. / Ellis, Robert A. (eds) Analysing Academic Writing. London: Continuum, 84-103. Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue 2007. Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language. London: Routledge Falmer.

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Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue / Ravelli, Louise / Nicholson, Sarah 2013. Doctoral Writing in the Visual and Performing Arts: Two Ends of a Continuum. Studies in Higher Education 38/1. . Phillips, Maggi / Stock, Cheryl / Vincs, Kim 2008. Dancing between Diversity and Consistency: Refining Assessment in Postgraduate Degrees in Dance. Perth: Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University. Queensland University of Technology 2010. A Handbook for Postgraduate Research Students. Brisbane: Faculty of the Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology. Schryer, Catherine F. 1993. Records as Genre. Written Communication 10, 200-234. Sone, Yuji 2005. Terrible Twins: Art and the Academy. Realtime 68, Aug-Sept, 8. Available at (accessed 8 June 2011). Smith, Sidonie 2010a. An Agenda for the New Dissertation. Modern Languages Association. Available at: . Smith, Sidonie 2010b. Beyond the Dissertation Monograph. Modern Languages Association. Available at: . Starfield, Sue / Ravelli, Louise 2006. ‘The writing of this thesis was a process that I could not explore with the positivistic detachment of the classical sociologist’: Self and Structure in New Humanities Research Theses. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 5, 222-243. Strand, Dennis 1998. Research in the Creative Arts. Canberra: Higher Education Division, Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs. Available at . Swales, John M. 1998a. Textography: Toward a Contextualization of Written Academic Discourse. Research on Language and Social Interaction 31/1, 109-121. Swales, John M. 1998b. Other Floors, Other Voices: A Textography of a Small University Building. Mahwah, NJ; Laurence Erlbaum.


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Swales, John M. / Feak, Christine B. 2000. English in Today’s Research World: A Writing Guide. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Swales, John M. / Feak, Christine B. 2004. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Thompson, Paul 1999. Exploring the Contexts of Writing: Interview with PhD Supervisors. In Paul Thompson (ed.) Issues in EAP Writing Research and Instruction. University of Reading: CALS, 37-54. Thompson, Pau. Forthcoming. Thesis and Dissertation Writing. In Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue (eds) Handbook of English for Specific Purposes. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell. UK Council for Graduate Education 1997. Practice-based Doctorates in the Creative and Performing Arts and Design. Coventry, UK: United Kingdom Council for Graduate Education. University of Melbourne 2011. The PhD in Creative Arts. Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. (accessed 13 July 2011) University of New South Wales 2011. Online Handbook. (accessed 13 July 2011).


A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Introductory Chapters of Literature Ph.D. These

1. Introduction A rapid growth in genre analysis has been witnessed in the last two decades, and the development of diverse approaches has highlighted multifaceted issues in genre research throughout the world (Hyon 1996). Genre analysis, originally established by Swales (1990), involves a wide range of genres and languages and has enhanced understanding of the nature and practice of individual genres from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Since Swales’ (1990) Create A Research Space (CARS) model was launched, it has been extensively applied to written academic genres such as research articles across disciplines and languages. Various sections and aspects of research articles have been investigated hitherto: introductions (Swales/Najjar 1987; Ahmad 1997), methods (Bloor 1999), results (Brett 1994; Williams 1999), discussion (Holmes 1997), abstracts (Santos 1996), abstracts and introductions (Samraj 2005). The focus of genre-based research has also been on cross-linguistic features in research article introductions (English and Polish: Duszak 1994; English and Hungarian: Árvay/Tankó 2004; English and Chinese: Loi 2010). Another growing academic genre is the thesis/dissertation1 as ‘a student-produced genre’ (Samraj 2008: 56). This genre serves a vital role since a number of graduate students are required to write a thesis/  1

Following Bunton (2002: 75) who focuses on the academic context in UK, Hong Kong and Australian universities, the term ‘thesis’ in this study is defined as follows: a ‘thesis’ is written for the research degrees of Ph.D. and M.Phil., while a much shorter ‘dissertation’ is one of the final requirements for a taught Master’s degree.


Masumi Ono

dissertation integral to their academic programme and degree in Japan and the United Kingdom (UK). Despite the importance and need for study of graduate student writing, less attention has been paid to such genre, compared to the study of research articles. At master’s level, dissertations in different disciplines have been examined in terms of rhetorical features, such as, plant biology (Dudley-Evans 1986), highway engineering and plant biology (Dudley-Evans 1993) and philosophy, biology and linguistics (Samraj 2008). Ph.D. theses in different disciplines have also been researched in genre studies from a variety of aspects: the overall structure of theses (Paltridge 2002; Paltridge/Starfield 2007), the macrostructure (visual and performing arts: Paltridge et al. 2011; history and sociology: Starfield/Ravelli 2006), introductions (ten disciplines: Bunton 2002; computing: Soler-Monreal et al. 2011), literature review (eight disciplines: Ridley 2000; applied linguistics: Kwan 2006), and conclusions (ten disciplines: Bunton 2005). The whole text in Ph.D. theses has also been examined in terms of metatext (five disciplines: Bunton 1999) and rhetorical features (ten disciplines: Parry 1998). However, humanities Ph.D. theses, in particular, have not been studied substantially in terms of generic structures. So far, very few studies have probed discourse structure required in Ph.D. theses in the field of literature. Consequently, a full account has not been given to the nature of literature Ph.D. theses and discourse community relevant to this genre. An introductory section is one of the most essential and challenging sections in a Ph.D. thesis, and most Ph.D. theses require introductory remarks at the beginning, regardless of discipline (Paltridge 2002; Paltridge/Starfield 2007). Ph.D. thesis introductions tend to vary in terms of rhetorical features and conventions across disciplines, as found in Bunton’s (2002) study of 45 Ph.D. thesis introductions collected from ten different faculties. Furthermore, Soler-Monreal et al. (2011) reported on cross-linguistic investigations in which Ph.D. thesis introductions written in Spanish and English in the field of computing showed considerable differences. The value of cross-cultural research in this genre is potentially to help Ph.D. students and supervisors enhance their understanding of thesis-writing conventions in a target language and provide them with practical advice on writing and supervising Ph.D. theses. The involve-

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


ment of English theses/dissertations in genre research has an advantage in that findings from the study can be applied to a real-life practice when English for Academic Purposes (EAP) teachers or subject specialists teach thesis/dissertation writing to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. In EFL contexts, like Japan, the development of guidelines for writing a thesis/dissertation in English is valuable, since some departments or universities require undergraduate and postgraduate students to write a thesis/dissertation in English. However, cross-cultural studies which compare Japanese and English Ph.D. theses on generic structure grounds hardly exist. Therefore, this study investigates generic structures in the thesis introductory chapters of Ph.D.s in the field of literature by comparing productions in Japanese and English. This chapter reports part of a larger on-going study with a focus on genre structure of literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters collected from three Japanese and three British universities. The research question to be addressed is whether differences between Japanese and English literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters in terms of generic moves and steps may be found.

2. Methods and data analysis 2.1. The framework and the corpus The framework of this study requires two degrees of comparison, namely, (i) cross-cultural and (ii) intra-cultural comparisons (Figure 1). At a cross-cultural level, Ph.D. theses from three Japanese and three British universities are compared. The intra-cultural level, on the other hand, is used to seek similarities and differences in Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters within the Japanese and British universities. Individual differences within the same institution are also considered since it is assumed that not all theses, even in the same discipline, always have shared organisational features.


Masumi Ono British universities

Japanese universities







Cross-cultural Intra-cultural (national)

Figure 1. The framework of this study (UEA stands for the University of East Anglia).

The total number of 99 introductory chapters of literature Ph.D. theses, consisting of 51 Japanese and 48 English Ph.D. theses written by native speakers of Japanese or English, 2 were collected from three Japanese (Tsukuba: n = 23; Tokyo: n = 22; Chiba: n = 6) and three British (Essex: n = 15; Warwick: n = 26; UEA: n = 7) universities. The target theses were submitted between 2000 and 2008 and the departments from which the theses were selected shared similar features. All six universities had a literature department in which a wide range of literature studies was available: in this way, not only national literature (i.e., Japanese literature in Japan or English literature in England) but also international and comparative literature were studied. Furthermore, the three British universities were comparable in terms of the size of departments, the foundation period of the universities, and the academic rank of the departments as determined by the nationally established ranking system in the UK, the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The three Japanese universities also had similarities among them in that they were established as national universities and their academic level was regarded as high. In selecting the Ph.D. theses, only prose-centred literature theses, which covered fiction, non-fiction or short stories, were chosen. Theses that concentrated on poetry/poets, films, theatre or creative  2

All the English theses were written by British students.

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


writing were excluded from this study since they required considerably different approaches and structure from prose-centred theses. The 99 literature theses selected were divided into three types: (a) singleauthor focus (Japanese 29; English 19), (b) comparative focus (Japanese 0; English 12) and (c) literary-genre focus (Japanese 22; English 17). Single-author focus theses deal with one particular author as a research subject, whilst comparative focus theses target more than one author. Literary-genre focus theses concentrate on a particular subject or theme, such as silence or laughter in literature. The target literature Ph.D. theses consist of a series of topicbased chapters, in line with previous studies which reported on the macrostructure of humanities dissertations/theses (Paltridge 2002; Paltridge/Starfield 2007). Not all the first chapters of the literature theses in this study were necessarily called Introduction as a chapter heading, although the majority of the theses contained a first chapter called Introduction. After examining the content of the first chapter of all the theses, it was found that all the theses had a chapter that plays the role of introducing the thesis in various manners and in varying length. Therefore, in this study, the phrase an ‘introductory chapter’ refers to the first chapter of the main body of a Ph.D. thesis, regardless of what the chapter is called.

2.2. Genre analysis of Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters An analytic framework for literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters was established by means of the following procedures. First, a pilot analysis was conducted by using Bunton’s (2002) model, which required three English and three Japanese introductory chapters to be coded by the author. Another researcher in the field of applied linguistics also coded one of the English introductory chapters, and the two researchers discussed disagreements about the coding. Second, as peer debriefing, two Ph.D. researchers working on genre analysis, coded two English introductory chapters independently, and each of them discussed disagreements and possible modifications of the analytic scheme with the author. Third, a discussion with a Ph.D. researcher in the field of literature was held as an expert refining process,


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and the framework was finalised. Fourth, a cross-analysis was conducted for an inter-coder reliability check involving a native-speakingJapanese literature Ph.D. researcher from a Japanese university and a native-English-speaking literature Ph.D. researcher from a British university. Each researcher was provided with the analytical framework with definitions of moves and steps as well as examples of each step. Each of them coded 6% of Japanese or English introductory chapters individually. Specifically, three introductory chapters were selected from each type of thesis (i.e., single-author focus, comparative-focus, and literary-genre focus). Inter-coder reliability was validated in the following way: the number of steps which had agreement between the coder and the author was divided by the total number of steps identified in the three introductory chapters. Since a relatively high reliability coefficient was obtained (Japanese: 87%; English: 85%), the remaining data was coded by the author. The modified analytic framework consists of three moves, which are constructed by constituent components, called steps. As shown in Table 1, the framework has a total number of 18 steps. Modifications were necessary in order to develop the analytical framework specific to the literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters. First, two new steps were identified: presenting fictional work and/or its author [PRESEN] and writer-centred statement [STATE]. PRESEN occurs when the writer summarises fictional work or provides background information about fictional work and/or its author. In the STATE step the writer states his/her own attitude, interpretation, research interest, motivation, opinions or comments of one’s own work and/or the topic. These steps seem specific to literature theses since previous research investigating introductions in Ph.D. theses (Bunton 2002; Soler-Monreal et al. 2011) or master’s dissertations (Samraj 2008) in other disciplines did not find such steps.

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


MOVE 1: ESTABLISHING A TERRITORY 1: Claiming centrality [CLAIM] 2: Making topic generalisations and giving background information [TOPIC]* 3: Reviewing previous research [REVIEW]* MOVE 2: ESTABLISHING A NICHE 4: Indicating a gap in research [GAP] (4a) a lack of research [LACK] (4b) a problem [PROBLEM] (4c) a need [NEED] (4d) a counterclaim [COUNTERCLAIM] 5: Question-raising [QUEST] 6: Adding to what is known [ADD] MOVE 3: PRESENTING THE PRESENT RESEARCH 7: Announcing present research descriptively and/or purposively [ANNO] 8: Summarising methods [METHOD] 9: Stating the writer’s theoretical position or perspectives [POSIT] 10: Stating the value of the present study [VALUE] 11: Definitional clarifications [DEFINE]* 12: Announcing principal outcomes [OUTCO] 13: Outlining the structure of the thesis [T-STRUC] 14: Outlining the structure of chapters [C-STRUC] 15: Describing relations between chapters [RELATE] 16: Positive justification [JUSTI] 17: Presenting fictional work and/or its author [PRESEN]* 18: Writer-centred statement [STATE]* Table 1. The analytic framework for the literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters. ((4a), (4b), (4c), and (4d) show GAP sub-steps. [CAPITAL] indicates a code for each step or sub-step. * indicates that the step may appear in more than one move. Newly found steps are in italics).

Second, the step of purposes, aims or objectives and the step of work carried out were combined into a single step, namely, announcing present research descriptively and/or purposively (Swales 2004) since in some cases the coders had difficulty in judging which step would be more appropriate. Third, with regard to the step of reviewing previous


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research in Move 1, this step was found to appear in Moves 1, 2 or 3 for different purposes, in line with Swales (2004) and Samraj (2002). Although Swales omits this step from the framework as an independent step, it seems to be used predominantly in Move 1 in the literature thesis introductory chapters. Therefore, I have left this step in Move 1 and examined the actual use of this step in other moves. Fourth, steps in Move 2 were modified since a gap in previous studies can be indicated by pointing out a lack of research [LACK], a problem [PROBLEM] or a need [NEED] found in the field, or by stating a counterclaim [COUNTERCAIM]. In other words, the step of indicating a gap requires sub-steps. Fifth, the step of positive justification was added to Move 3 since it was observed that thesis writers occasionally justify their methods or approaches in announcing their own study. Unlike Samraj (2002, 2008) who locates positive justification in Move 2 in her corpus, which focuses on introductions in non-literature fields, the location of positive justification fits Move 3 in this study. In addition, descriptions of steps in Bunton’s model were rephrased, following the revision made by Swales (2004). A Move-Step analysis was conducted, and the Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters were examined in terms of multiple aspects. As regards analytic procedures, I focused on steps first and then considered moves in relation to each step being involved since some steps were independent of the moves, tending to appear in more than one move. First, the frequency of steps occurring in the introductory chapters was dealt with. Second, I investigated which steps were present in or absent from the introductory chapters in order to probe compulsory or optional roles of individual steps. Third, I focused on the percentage of each step in the total number of steps in each individual introductory chapter. Finally, the Move-Step structure was discussed with regard to rhetorical organisation and the relationship between steps and moves.

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


3. Results and discussion 3.1. Length of the introductory chapters The space occupied by the introductory chapters in the Japanese and English theses was compared by dividing the number of pages of introductory chapters by the total number of pages of the theses. The descriptive result regarding the Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters is shown in Table 2. Country



N of pages in introduction

N of pages in a main body

% of introduction (SD)


Tsukuba Tokyo Chiba Total

23 22 6 51

13.96 10.18 9.33 11.78

185.13 178.64 174.83 181.12

7.63 (4.30) 6.86 (7.47) 5.33 (5.33) 7.03 (5.91)


Essex Warwick UEA Total

15 26 7 48

19.93 30.54 23.14 26.15

260.53 274.73 244.14 265.83

7.98 (5.24) 10.91 (6.15) 9.10 (2.57) 9.73 (5.56)

Table 2. Descriptive features of introductory chapters in the theses (SD stands for standard deviation).

The result of a Mann-Whitney test indicated a significant difference between the Japanese and English groups (p = .003). In other words, the English introductory chapters took up a significantly higher proportion than the Japanese ones. In intra-cultural comparisons, the results of Kruskal-Wallis tests indicated no significant differences among the Japanese group (p = .108) or among the English group (p = .229). This indicates that a very similar percentage of space in the theses is allocated to introductory chapters among the three Japanese universities as well as among the three British universities.


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3.2. Frequency of occurring steps The number of occurrences of each step was counted in each introductory chapter in order to compare the frequency of steps in the Japanese and English groups as well as within each country. Table 3 shows descriptive statistics for the number of steps in the Japanese and English introductory chapters. The mean frequency of steps in the Japanese theses (43.14) is much lower than that in the English ones (Mean = 56.38). The standard deviation in the English group is higher than that in the Japanese group, which implies that the British writers vary more in terms of the frequency of steps in the introductory chapters than the Japanese writers. Country



University Tsukuba Tokyo Chiba Total Essex Warwick UEA Total

N 23 22 6 51 15 26 7 48

Mean 44.52 41.50 43.83 43.14 50.73 56.50 68.00 56.38

SD 17.46 19.53 24.34 18.86 26.41 31.30 17.42 28.25

Min 12.0 11.0 19.0 11.0 9.0 18.0 45.0 9.0

Max 76.0 80.0 88.0 88.0 100.0 138.0 100.0 138.0

Table 3. Statistics about the frequency of steps.

The results of an independent samples t test indicate a significant difference between the Japanese and the English groups in terms of the frequency of steps: t (97) = -2.756, p = .007. In other words, the English theses contained significantly more steps than the Japanese theses. As for intra-cultural comparisons, the result of a One-way ANOVA showed no significant differences within the Japanese group, F (2, 48) = .144, p = .866, nor within the English group, F (2, 45) = .888, p = .419. This finding suggests that there are intra-cultural similarities in terms of the number of occurrences of steps in the literature introductory chapters within the same country. The cross-cultural difference found in the frequency of steps can be attributed to the significant difference between the Japanese and the English groups in terms of the proportion of theses

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


taken up by the introductory chapters (Table 2). That is, the English introductory chapters that took up a significantly higher percentage of theses contained significantly more steps than the Japanese ones.

3.3. Occurrences of different types of steps It is assumed that different introductory chapters contain different types of steps. Presumably, some steps appear in the introductory chapters more frequently than other steps. Firstly, it was necessary to find out which steps appeared in the Japanese and English introductory chapters. Secondly, the number of theses which included each step was counted. In each type of steps, the number of theses which included a given step was divided by the total number of Japanese or English theses. Steps which were frequently present in the introductory chapters were considered as obligatory steps whilst those which occasionally appeared were taken as optional steps. Since 18 steps varied considerably in terms of frequency, four-level categories, instead of two bands such as ‘often present and occasionally present’ (Bunton 2002) or ‘obligatory and optional’ (Swales 1990), were adopted in order to more appropriately reflect the different degrees of step frequency. The four categories are (a) seldom present (0-25%), (b) occasionally present (25-50%) (c) frequently present (50-75%) and (d) highly frequently present (75-100%). The advantage of using the four categories is the possibility of clearly showing the steps which occur in less than 50% of the theses and those which appear in over 50% of the theses. The latter steps are regarded as more important than what occurs in less than half of the theses. The results concerning the frequency of individual steps are shown in Table 4. Both Japanese and English groups share the following six steps as frequently present: x METHOD (summarising methods), x ANNO (announcing present research descriptively and/or purposively), x PRESEN (presenting fictional work and/or its author), x REVIEW (reviewing previous research), x STATE (writer-centred statement) and x C-STRUC (outlining the structure of chapters).

202 Frequency level 75 - 100% Highly frequently present

50 - 75% Frequently present

25 - 50% Occasionally present

0 - 25% Seldom present

Masumi Ono Japanese [1] METHOD (96.08%) [2] ANNO (94.12%) [3] STATE (92.16%) [4] PRESEN (90.20%) [5] REVIEW (88.24%) [5] GAP (88.24%) [6] C-STRUC (80.39%) [7] QUEST (74.51%) [8] TOPIC (70.59%) [9] T-STRUC (52.94%) [9] OUTCO (52.94%) [10] DEFINE (47.06%) [11] CLAIM (41.18%) [11] VALUE (41.18%) [12] POSIT (35.29%) [13] ADD (21.57%) [13] RELATE (21.57%) [14] JUSTI (5.88%)

English [1] ANNO (93.75%) [1] METHOD (93.75%) [1] REVIEW (93.75%) [1] PRESEN (93.75%) [2] C-STRUC (89.58%) [2] STATE (89.58%) [3] TOPIC (87.50%) [4] GAP (68.75%) [5] OUTCO (62.50%) [6] POSIT (60.42%) [7] VALUE (50.00%) [8] DEFINE (47.92%) [9] CLAIM (45.83%) [10] QUEST (41.67%) [11] T-STRUC (25.00%) [12] ADD (10.42%) [13] JUSTI (8.33%) [14] RELATE (4.17%)

Table 4. Frequencies of individual steps in the Japanese and English introductory chapters ([Number] indicates the order of steps in terms of frequency. [1] shows the most frequently occurring steps while [14] indicates the least frequently occurring ones).

In other words, these six steps occurred in the majority of the literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters, regardless of language. This finding emphasises obligatoriness of each of these steps. An interesting finding was that the same number of English introductory theses used ANNO, METHOD, REVIEW and PRESEN whereas the Japanese group did not have this tendency. The two groups, however, differed in that GAP was very frequent in the Japanese group but not in the English sample while the English group included TOPIC very frequently but the Japanese group did not. As for the frequently present steps which appeared in more than 50% and less than 75% of the theses, only OUTCO was shared by the Japanese and English groups. The two groups differed considerably in types of steps at this frequency level. In addition to OUTCO, the Japanese group included QUEST, TOPIC and T-STRUC. On the other hand, the English group employed GAP, POSIT and VALUE. The En-

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


glish writers seemed to favour the TOPIC step more than the Japanese ones whilst the GAP step was more frequently used by the Japanese. Steps that occurred in more than 25% and less than 50% of the Japanese and English groups are DEFINE and CLAIM. Considerable cross-cultural differences were observed in POSIT, QUEST and TSTRUC between the Japanese and the English groups: POSIT (Japan: 35.29%; UK: 60.42%), QUEST (Japan: 74.51%; UK: 41.67%) and TSTRUC (Japan: 52.94%; UK: 25%). For the T-STRUC step, the Japanese group included T-STRUC approximately twice as much as the English group did. It is also clear that C-STRUC occurred more frequently than T-STRUC in both the Japanese and the English groups. The finding that thesis writers focused on the structure and content of individual chapters more than the structure of the whole thesis is inconsistent with Bunton (2002) in that in his corpus the step relevant to thesis structure was more frequently present than the step concerning chapter structure. In Ph.D. theses, “an original contribution to knowledge in the chosen field” (Bunton 2002: 73) should be particularly emphasised. Therefore, stating the VALUE step is considered as important in thesis introductory chapters as obligatory. However, only 41.18% of the Japanese writers and 50% of the English writers included VALUE in their theses. Therefore, this finding suggests that there is incongruence between what should be included in Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters and what was actually present in the theses. As regards this issue, supervisors’ expectations of Ph.D. theses, which may reveal the reasons for this incongruence, are investigated elsewhere. The last category covers steps which occurred in less than 25% of the theses. The Japanese and English groups shared three steps: ADD, RELATE and JUSTI. Although these steps belong to the same frequency category, the Japanese theses included ADD and RELATE more frequently than the English theses: ADD (Japan: 21.57%; UK: 10.42%) and RELATE (Japan: 21.57%; UK: 4.17%). Thus, there seems to be a tendency for steps relevant to Move 2 – where the writer establishes a niche, namely, GAP, QUEST and ADD – to be more often used by Japanese writers than the English ones. This suggests that Japanese writers put more explicit emphasis on Move 2 compared to English writers. Also, steps concerning the thesis structure and rela-


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tionship between chapters, namely, T-STRUC and RELATE, were more favoured by the Japanese group than the English group. Thus, 18 steps showed the varying degree of frequencies, and the Japanese and the English groups varied in the frequency of occurrences of steps. Cross-cultural differences between the Japanese and the English groups seem to exist in less frequently and occasionally present steps, while cross-cultural similarities between the two groups were found in frequently present and seldom present steps.

3.4. Percentage of each step in the total number of steps in each thesis This section deals with step frequency from another perspective, by looking at how many times a step occurs in relation to other steps within the same thesis. First of all, the number of occurrences of each step type in each thesis was counted and then the number was divided by the total number of steps identified in each introductory chapter. Since nearly half of the Japanese and English data did not pass the normality test, a Mann-Whitney test was chosen in order to examine whether there were cross-cultural differences between the Japanese and the English groups in terms of the percentage of each step in the total number of steps occurring in each thesis introductory chapter. As a result, significant differences were found in eight steps out of 18, namely, TOPIC, REVIEW, GAP, QUEST, T-STRUC, RELATE, PRESEN and STATE (Figure 2). The results of a Mann-Whitney test indicated that the Japanese group had significantly higher mean percentages than the English group in the following steps: x GAP (indicating a gap in research), x QUEST (raising a question), x T-STRUC (outlining the structure of the thesis), x RELATE (describing relations between chapters), x STATE (writer-centred statement).

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


Figure 2. The percentage of each step in the total number of steps in the Japanese and English thesis introductory chapters.

Considering the findings, the Japanese group tended to emphasise Move 2, where writers establish a niche, significantly more frequently than the English group did. However, greater frequency of a step does not necessarily entail occupying more textual space since the amount of text occupied by steps typically ranges from a clause to several paragraphs. As for the use of T-STRUC and RELATE, the Japanese group seemed to emphasise the explanation of the thesis structure more than the English group. The finding regarding a significantly more frequent use of STATE in the Japanese group implies that the Japanese writers express their attitudes or associate their own research motivation, interests or experiences with their Ph.D. theses more frequently than the English writers do. The English group, on the contrary, reached significantly higher mean percentages than the Japanese group in the following three steps: TOPIC, REVIEW and PRESEN. Thus, the English writers put more weight on TOPIC, REVIEW and PRESEN in the introductory chapters than the Japanese writers did.


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As regards intra-cultural comparisons, the results of KruskalWallis tests indicated that significant differences were found only in the use of OUTCO among the Japanese theses (Ȥ2 = 7.841, p = .020). In other words, intra-cultural differences were observed in only one step out of 18, namely, OUTCO. The other 17 steps implied intracultural similarities among the Japanese theses and among the English theses. Among the Japanese theses, the Tsukuba theses (5.81%) had a significantly higher percentage of OUTCO than the Tokyo (2.73%) and Chiba ones (1.52%). However, the Japanese and English groups were not statistically different in the proportion of the number of OUTCO in the total number of steps in the thesis. This suggests that institutional variations or writers’ individual differences in their understanding of the conventions of Ph.D. thesis-writing exist when writing outcomes of the research in the introductory chapters. Thus, presenting the findings of the writer’s research in introductory chapters may hinge on their decisions, which depend on their own or their supervisors’ preference, on the thesis type (i.e., single-author, comparative author, and literary genre) or other internal and external factors.

3.5. The relationship between moves and steps The function of each individual steps was found to vary in that some steps strictly belong to one particular move as move-specific steps, whilst other steps associate with more than one move as move-independent steps, depending on their communicative purposes played in the literature introductory chapters. More specifically, it was discovered that among the 18 steps TOPIC, PRESEN, and DEFINE were present in Move 1 and Move 3 whereas REVIEW and STATE appeared in any move. In other words, the six move-independent steps vary in the degree to which each of the steps is related to each move. For instance, TOPIC, REVIEW, and PRESEN prevalently appear in Move 1, where the writer establishes a research territory, and were occasionally present in Move 3, where the writer’s research is introduced. REVIEW and STATE, in particular, were found to be present in Move 2 together with GAP, QUEST or ADD.

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


The existence of independent steps was discussed in previous research (Bunton 2002; Samraj 2002, 2008; Swales 2004). However, the findings in this study are inconsistent with Bunton (2002) in that TOPIC and REVIEW strictly belonged to Move 1 in the Bunton corpus and they did not appear in Move 3. Yet, the result from this study partly supports Swales’ (2004) CARS model framework and Samraj’s (2002, 2008), in that REVIEW occurs in any move; however, TOPIC is associated with Move 1 in the CARS model unlike in the present study. This suggests that introductions in different genres and disciplines require a different rhetorical organisation that is unique to individuals. Nevertheless, it was also observed that Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters and research article introductions contained some common steps, such as, CLAIM, TOPIC, REVIEW, GAP, ANNO, METHOD and OUTCO. This may be attributed to “a common communicative purpose of introducing an academic work” (Bhatia 1997: 182) being shared in ‘academic introductions’ across genres and disciplines. All the 18 steps varied in ways in which they interacted with other steps and moves (Table 5). Whether steps are strictly dedicated to one specific move or occur in more than one move seems to depend on the degree of relatedness to the main aim of the moves. The former type of steps seems to have more specific communicative purposes than move-specific steps that may have a direct relation with the realisation of the move. In contrast, those steps which relate to more than one move appear to have multiple communicative purposes and thereby less direct associations with each move. This type of moveindependent steps includes STATE, TOPIC, REVIEW, DEFINE and PRESEN. REVIEW, which is an obligatory step in the introductory chapter, has a particularly important role for territory-establishment since Move 1 somewhat serves as a literature review in the literature thesis introductory chapters: these rarely have an independent chapter for reviewing previous studies. In Move 2, all the three steps, namely, GAP, QUEST and ADD, are Move 2-specific. At least one of the three steps tends to appear in an introductory chapter. As for Move 3, it is stressed that ANNO, METHOD and C-STRUC are considered as obligatory steps in both the Japanese and English introductory chapters.

208 Move-specific steps MOVE 1: ESTABLISHING A TERRITORY [CLAIM] Claiming centrality MOVE 2: ESTABLISHING A NICHE [GAP] Indicating a gap in research  (a) [LACK] a lack of research (b) [PROBLEM] a problem (c) [NEED] a need (d) [COUNTERCLAIM] a counterclaim [QUEST] Question-raising [ADD] Adding to what is known MOVE 3: PRESENTING THE WRITER’S RESEARCH [ANNO] Announcing present research descriptively and/or purposively [METHOD] Summarising methods [POSIT] Stating the writer’s theoretical position or perspectives [VALUE] Stating the value of the present study [OUTCO] Announcing principal outcomes [T-STRUC] Outlining the structure of the thesis [C-STRUC] Outlining the structure of chapters [RELATE] Describing relations between chapters [JUSTI] Positive justification

Masumi Ono Move-independent steps [TOPIC] Making topic generalisations and giving background information (M1/M3) [DEFINE] Definitional clarifications (M1/M3) [PRESEN] Presenting fictional work and/or its author (M1/M3) [REVIEW] Reviewing previous research (M1/M2/M3) [STATE] Writer-centred statement (M1/M2/M3)

Table 5. The model for literature Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters ((M1/M3) shows that this step appears in Moves 1 and 3 whilst (M1/M2/M3) indicates that this step can be present in any move).

4. Conclusion This study has explored a neglected genre of literature Ph.D. theses and has analysed it cross-culturally by examining and comparing Japanese and English thesis introductory chapters. Moreover, it has provided insights into cross-cultural and intra-cultural similarities and differences in terms of generic structures in this genre. Cross-cultural

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


differences were found in the frequency of steps in each thesis. The English thesis introductory chapters contained significantly more steps than the Japanese ones. In addition, it was found that the Japanese and the English groups did not necessarily share obligatory steps in the introductory chapters. GAP was highly frequently employed as an obligatory step by the Japanese group, whilst it was less frequently used by the English group, who tended to favour TOPIC rather than GAP. In terms of cross-cultural similarities, the Japanese and the English thesis introductory chapters shared six obligatory steps, namely, ANNO, METHOD, REVIEW, PRESEN, STATE and C-STRUC. Furthermore, the Japanese and the English groups showed cross-cultural differences in the use of each step over the total number of steps identified in a thesis. The Japanese group was found to put more emphasis on GAP, QUEST, T-STRUC, RELATE, and STATE whereas in the English group the considerable use of TOPIC, REVIEW, and PRESEN was observed. It was found that the English group had less than frequent realisation of Move 2. This discovery is somewhat in contrast with findings in Soler-Moreal et al. (2011) in that Move 2 was obligatory in the English theses on computing but not necessarily in the Spanish theses. It implies the existence of disciplinary variations in rhetorical features in this genre. Another interesting finding is that steps varied in the degree to which each step is related to each move. Accordingly, 18 steps are categorised either as move-specific steps or as move-independent steps, which shows the varying degree of ‘independency’ of moves. Among move-independent steps, TOPIC, PRESEN and DEFINE belong to Moves 1 and 3 while STATE and REVIEW may appear in any move, regardless of the language being used in the theses. Although this study has focused on a single discipline, namely literature, PRESEN (presenting fictional work and/or its author) seems to be disciplinespecific, as Samraj (2002, 2008) similarly suggested for the occurrence of discipline-specific steps in her cross-disciplinary studies. In writing Ph.D. thesis introductory chapters, it is important to: (1) understand each step and move, their communicative purpose, and the relation among different steps as well as between steps and moves; (2) fulfil what is expected in literature introductory chapters in reference to obligatory and optional functions of steps. Since there is no


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fixed number of steps for constituting each move and an introductory chapter as a whole, it may be useful to take stock of the fact that steps belonging to the same move tend to have considerably stronger connections among them than steps across moves. More specifically, combining steps relevant to the same move seems to be an effective technique in establishing coherence in an introductory chapter, especially in Move 3, where a number of steps are intricately related to each other. In Move 3, the importance of VALUE should be more emphasised in thesis-writing teaching and supervising since the VALUE steps play an essential role in displaying the originality of the writer’s research, and promotes the value of research to discourse community in the field. Guidelines for writing a thesis/dissertation based on this study may prove useful for Ph.D. students and supervisors being involved in thesis-writing settings in Japan, the UK, and possibly other English-speaking countries, as Bunton (2002) previously attempted in his teaching context. Limitations of this study concern its methodological procedure. This study has relied on the number of pages in theses, rather than the number of characters in Japanese or the number of words in English, in order to equate the procedure of calculation between the two corpora. Therefore, the percentage of space allocated to the introductory chapters is an approximation and does not reflect the actual length of the introductory chapters. Furthermore, this study cannot fully reveal the rhetorical feature of a newly found step, STATE, which has multiple communicative purposes as a move-independent step. In order to investigate the STATE step in depth, issues on evaluation and stance should be taken into consideration (Hyland 1999; Hunston/ Thompson 2001; Dueñas 2010). Further studies can be developed in various ways. First, interviews with thesis writers, supervisors, and examiners may help us understand thesis-writing conventions, discourse features, and expectations about this genre from wider perspectives. Second, the combination of the Move-Step analysis and examinations of other aspects, such as metadiscourse (Bunton 1999; Hyland 2005), the use of citations (Thompson 2000; Petriü 2007), and the use of first person pronouns (Starfield/Ravelli 2006; Samraj 2008), may also prove worthwhile. Third, the introductory chapters can be discussed in relation to

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


the overall organisation of theses, abstracts and conclusions, since the link between them is similar. Fourth, genre analysis of Ph.D. theses in excluded areas within the field of literature, such as, film, theatre, and creative writing may also be investigated for the purpose of shedding light on intra-disciplinary variations within a single discipline.

References Ahmad, Ummul K. 1997. Research Article Introductions in Malay: Rhetoric in an Emerging Research Community. In Duszak, Anna (ed.) Culture and Styles of Academic Discourse. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 273-303. Árvay, Anett / Tankó, Gyula 2004. A Contrastive Analysis of English and Hungarian Theoretical Article Introductions. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 42/1, 71-100. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1997. Genre-Mixing in Academic Introductions. English for Specific Purposes 16/3, 181-195. Bloor, Meriel 1999. Variation in the Methods Sections of Research Articles across Disciplines: The Case Study of Fast and Slow Text. In Thompson, Paul (ed.) Issues in EAP Writing Research and Instruction. Reading: Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Reading, 84-106. Brett, Paul 1994. A Genre Analysis of the Results Section of Sociology Articles. English for Specific Purposes 13/1, 47-59. Bunton, David 1999. The Use of Higher Level Metatext in Ph.D. Theses. English for Specific Purposes 18, 41-56. Bunton, David 2002. Generic Moves in Ph.D. Thesis Introductions. In Flowerdew, John (ed.) Academic Discourse. London: Longman, 57-75. Bunton, David 2005. The Structure of PhD Conclusion Chapters. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4/3, 207-224. Dudley-Evans, Tony 1986. Genre Analysis: An Investigation of Introductions and Discussion Sections of MSc Dissertations. In


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Coulthard, Malcolm (ed.) Talking about Text. Birmingham: English Language Research, University of Birmingham, 128-145. Dudley-Evans, Tony 1993. Variation in Communication Patterns between Discourse Communities: The Case of Highway Engineering and Plant Biology. In Blue, George M. (ed.) Language, Learning and Success: Studying through English. London: Modern English Publications, 141-147. Dueñas, Pilar Mur 2010. Attitude Markers in Business Management Research Articles: A Cross-cultural Corpus-driven Approach. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 20/1, 50-72. Duszak, Anna 1994. Academic Discourse and Intellectual Styles. Journal of Pragmatics 21/3, 291-313. Holmes, Richard 1997. Genre Analysis, and the Social Sciences: An Investigation of the Structure of Research Article Discussion Sections in Three Disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 16/4, 321-337. Hunston, Susan / Thompson, Geoff (eds) 2001. Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hyland, Ken 1999. Disciplinary Discourses: Writer Stance in Research Articles. In Candlin, Christopher N. / Hyland, Ken (eds) Writing: Texts, Processes and Practices. London: Longman, 99-121. Hyland, Ken 2005. Metadiscourse: Exploring Interaction in Writing. London: Continuum. Hyon, Sunny 1996. Genre in Three Traditions: Implications for ESL. TESOL Quarterly 30/4, 693-722. Kwan, Becky S.C. 2006. The Schematic Structure of Literature Reviews in Doctoral Theses of Applied Linguistics. English for Specific Purposes 25/1, 30-55. Loi, Chek Kim 2010. Research Article Introductions in Chinese and English: A Comparative Genre-based Study. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9/4, 267-279. Paltridge, Brian 2002. Thesis and Dissertation Writing: An Examination of Published Advice and Actual Practice. English for Specific Purposes 21/2, 125-143.

A Genre Analysis of Japanese and English Ph.D. Theses


Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue 2007. Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: A Handbook for Supervisors. London: Routledge. Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue / Ravelli, Louise J. / Tuckwell, Kathryn / Nicholson, Sarah 2011. Doctoral Writing in the Visual and Performing Arts: An Examination of an Evolving Genre. Paper presented at the CERLIS2011 Conference: Genre Variation in English Academic Communication. University of Bergamo, Italy. Parry, S 1998. Disciplinary Discourse in Doctoral Theses. Higher Education 36/3, 273-299. Petriü, Bojana 2007. Rhetorical Functions of Citations in High- and Low-rated Master’s Theses. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 6/3, 238-253. Ridley, Diana 2000. The Different Guises of a PhD Thesis and the Roles of a Literature Review. In Thompson, Paul (ed.) Patterns and Perspectives: Insights into EAP Writing Practice. Reading: Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Reading, 61-75. Samraj, Betty 2002. Introductions in Research Articles: Variations across Disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 21/1, 1-17. Samraj, Betty 2005. An Exploration of a Genre Set: Research Article Abstracts and Introductions in Two Disciplines. English for Specific Purposes 24/2, 141-156. Samraj, Betty 2008. A Discourse Analysis of Master’s Theses across Disciplines with a Focus on Introductions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 7/1, 55-67. Santos, Mauro Bittencourt Dos 1996. The Textual Organization of Research Paper Abstracts in Applied Linguistics. Text 16/4, 481-499. Soler-Monreal, Carmen / Carbonell-Olivares, María / Gil-Salom, Luz 2011. A Contrastive Study of the Rhetorical Organisation of English and Spanish PhD Thesis Introductions. English for Specific Purposes 30/1, 4-17. Starfield, Sue / Ravelli, Louise J. 2006. ‘The writing of this thesis was a process that I could not explore with the positivistic detachment of the classical sociologist’: Self and Structure in New Humanities Research Theses. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 5/3, 222-243.


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Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. 2004. Research Genres: Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John M. / Najjar, Hazem 1987. The Writing of Research Article Introductions. Written Communication 4/2, 175-191. Thompson, Paul 2000. Citation Practices in PhD Theses. In Burnard, Lou / McEnery, Tony (eds) Rethinking Language Pedagogy from a Corpus Perspective. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 91-101. Williams, I. A. 1999. Results Sections of Medical Research Articles: Analysis of Rhetorical Categories for Pedagogical Purposes. English for Specific Purposes 18/2, 347-366.

Reviewing and Popularising Research Insights


The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews

1. Introduction Review genres have increasingly attracted attention in the field of genre studies in recent years. “Very much a public discourse”, as stated by Hyland and Diani (2009: 2), review genres are highly interactional and interpersonally complex, since they are at the same time ‘critically engaged’ with a particular text (a book, a film or a theatrical performance) as well as with the author of such a text. Researchers in the field of genre analysis have approached review genres from various perspectives, focusing both on academic and journalistic discourse, printed or online-based. Studies concerning review genres and academic discourse include Motta-Roth’s (1998) seminal work on book reviews, and Diani’s (2004) analysis of the book review article. Radighieri (2006) has approached the art review in the context of quality press, while in recent years online-based review genres have been the object of research (De Carvalho 2010; Taboada 2011). In the present chapter, I set out to investigate a review genre that, to the best of my knowledge, has not yet been the object of a linguistic analysis: the academic theatre review (ATR). The purpose of this analysis is to provide an outline of its prototypical move structure and identify aspects of diachronic variation that may have occurred to the genre over ten years, between 1991 and 2001. The theoretical framework for the genre analysis is drawn from Swales (1990) in combination with Bhatia (1993; 2004). Moreover, the chapter relies on the assumption that “professional genres and professional practices complement each other, in that they are co-constructed in specific context” (Bhatia 2008: 319). This seems to be particularly the case for the ATR, and, in a more general sense, for the theatre review at large,


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since a review is the actual realization of the professional practice of the critic. As a result, I have hypothesised that the changes occurring within the critics’ professional environment will affect their professional practice and as, a consequence, their writing. Few studies exist on theatre reviews, and even fewer on academic theatre reviews. Nonetheless, professionals and scholars working in the field of theatrical studies seem to share a widespread belief that “there is something formulaic about the theatre review” (Armstrong 2008), that is to say that ATRs are perceived as featuring a structure that is part of a shared knowledge among professionals in the field. Armstrong aimed at capturing “the format, texture, and tone of the conventional academic theatre review” (2008: 118) by means of what he calls ‘inductive research’. Armstrong is not a linguist; however, he has collected a corpus of academic theatre reviews of Romeo and Juliet, and has analysed the data looking for a shared rationale beyond the single text. Theatre reviews have also been analysed by Roberts (1997, 1998, 1999). Roberts’ research concerns newspaperbased reviews, and is one of the very few contributions to the study of theatre reviews. His work is important to the present study since the approach and methodology used were overtly corpus-based. Roberts’ interest was centred on the frequency of keywords and, in particular, on what he has defined as the ‘“working core of the reviewer’s discourse’” (1999: 336). Dealing mainly with keywords, Roberts has pointed out how play and production constitute two of the most frequent occurrences in his corpus. As a consequence, he has decided not to focus on those two words as keywords stating that “To know the incidence of ‘play’ and ‘production’ is unlikely to be of value” (1999: 336) because they were too frequent to appear statistically significant. In this chapter I aim to bring the analysis one step further, by demonstrating that a study of the concordances of play and production may well be of interest, by pointing out the role of their dichotomy as a double focus of the review text, one which shapes its internal organisation.

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1.1. A terminological note It seems important to provide some clarification in this chapter on the sense that will be attributed to keywords drawn from theatrical terminology. Play and dramatic text will be used as synonyms of what Fortier calls drama: “written language, the words ascribed to the characters which […] are spoken by the actors.”(2006: 4). Performance instead will be intended in the sense of theatre: “theatre is performance (though often the performance of a drama text) and entails not only words but space, actors, props, audience and the complex relations among these elements”(Fortier 2006: 4). Production refers to all the technical and directorial aspects of the performance, related to the activity of staging a specific play.

2. Materials and methods 2.1. Data The data comprises a small corpus of monographic ATRs (67 texts, 95,700 words). The texts were published in six academic journals (New Theatre Quarterly (NTQ); Shakespeare Quarterly (SQ); Theater (TH); Theatre Research International (TRI); The Drama Review (TDR); Theatre Journal (TJ)). This corpus includes two sub-corpora, one containing texts published in 1991 (32 texts, 48,733 words), and the other including texts published in 2001 (35 texts, 46.967 words).

2.2. Methods The first part of the analysis was directed towards the investigation of aspects of synchronic variation of the ATR and aimed at identifying the rhetorical moves that constitute the structure of the genre. The methodologies used in this phase were based on works by Motta-Roth


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(1998), Diani (2004) and Radighieri (2006). The second phase of the analysis involved investigating aspects of diachronic variation, first in terms of rhetorical organization, and secondly, taking into account other possible features emerging from the study. During the first phase of the process of move analysis, the move frequency rate was determined on a synchronic basis, taking into account only the 2001 corpus, in order to identify obligatory and optional moves. Subsequently, the same process was applied to the 1991 corpus and the two data sets were then compared. The diachronic evaluation of the move frequency rate was aimed at determining which variations might have affected moves, whether some moves had lost or acquired relevance, and whether new moves might either have appeared or been eliminated. The qualitative analysis focussed on the features of each move, identifying their functions, at the same time keeping in mind the multimodal nature of the text that the review was referring to, the theatrical event. A theatrical event is a multi-layered, multi-semiotic act of signification, one in which different texts govern different layers of theatrical communication (Bondi/Stermieri 2011: 232). Consequently, I also searched for elements in the text whose function was that of reporting and reproducing the superposition of the different layers of signification (acting, stage design, music, script) that constitute the theatrical event.

2.3. Procedures The corpus has been tagged in order to identify the textual and nontextual sections that constitute the review. Only the sections occurring in all texts were taken into account for the analysis, excluding (cf. Table 1). In particular, the software was programmed for considering only the sections tagged as and , with the purpose of maintaining a balance in the word count among texts featuring different components, e.g. long and detailed footnotes, captions and abstracts. The figures provided in Section 2.1 only refer to those text parts.

The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews

2001 35 35 3 35 1 34 33 4 1 3

% 100% 100% 9% 100% 3% 97% 94% 11% 3% 9%

221 1991 32 32 0 32 0 14 14 2 2 4

% 100% 100% 0% 100% 0% 44% 44% 6% 6% 13%

Table 1. Sections mark up.

The preliminary analysis of the moves was carried out on the basis of the move schemes presented in Motta-Roth’s (1998) study of book reviews (Table 2), Diani’s (2004) study on review articles (Table 3) and Radighieri’s (2006) study of the art review (Table 4). Move 1 INTRODUCING THE BOOK Sub-function 1 Defining the general topic of the book and/or Sub-function 2 Informing about potential readership and/or Sub-function 3 Informing about the author and/or Sub-function 4 Making topic generalizations and /or Sub-function 5 Inserting book in the field Move 2 OUTLINING THE BOOK Sub-function 6 Providing general view of the organization of the book and/or Sub-function 7 Stating the topic of each chapter and/or Sub-function 8 Citing extra-text material Move 3 HIGHLIGHTING PARTS OF THE BOOK Sub-function 9 Providing focused evaluation Move 4 PROVIDING CLOSING EVALUATION OF THE BOOK Sub-function 10/A Definitely recommending/disqualifying the book or Sub-function 10/B Recommending the book despite indicated shortcomings Table 2. Rhetorical moves in book reviews (Motta-Roth 1998: 35).

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Introduction Move 1 INTRODUCING THE BOOK Step 1 Defining the general topic of the book Step 2 Providing reader with some background against which to appreciate book Step 3 Providing a general view of the organisation of the book Move 2 OUTLINING THE BOOK Step 4 Announcing reviewer’s discourse goals (his perspective in reviewing book) Step 5 Indicating in varying degrees of detail the structure of reviewer’s argument Step 6 Providing general view of the organization of the book Critique Move 3 HIGHLIGHTING PARTS OF THE BOOK Step 7 Commenting on the content of the book Step 8 Offering evaluations on textual features Step 9 Making recommendations to potential readers Conclusion Move 4 PROVIDING CLOSING EVALUATION OF THE BOOK Step 10 Stating reviewer’s point of view in a definitive/final appraisal of the book Table 3. Rhetorical moves in book review articles (Diani 2004: 109). [1] Presenting the exhibition (often Opening Move) [2] Biographical/developmental Move Narrating the development/details about artist’s life and his/her artistic production or the development of the exhibition/museum/event [3] Describing Move Providing visual details of the exhibition [4] Evaluating Move Judgements on artists and their art / the collections / the institutions / the exhibition / the curator and curator’s choices [5] Summarizing Move Often providing a summarizing and closing global evaluation of the exhibition Table 4. Rhetorical Move Structure (ARRMS), simplified version (Radighieri 2006: 99-100).

I checked whether moves with a similar function might be present in the texts included in my corpus. For the purpose of this study, I use the definition of move as given by Motta-Roth: A move is defined here as a stretch of discourse (extending for one or more sentences) that realizes a specific communicative function and that represents

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a stage in the development of an overall structure of information that is commonly associated with the genre. (1998: 33)

The preliminary analysis was carried out on a sample of ten reviews from the 2001 corpus, and then results where validated extending the scheme to the whole corpus in order to determine move frequency, and identify obligatory and optional moves. The methodology used to identify each move followed the steps listed below: ł identification of textual segments seeming to carry out a single communicative function; ł identification of linguistic clues confirming the communicative function assigned to the moves in Step 1; ł identification of the moves in the entire 2001 corpus; ł identification of the moves in the entire 1991 corpus.

3. The move structure of academic theatre reviews Table 5 shows the frequency of the moves in the ATR structure, valid for both subcorpora. The analysis demonstrated that no significant changes had occurred to the move structure. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that the frequency of Move 2 has increased, from 59% (1991 corpus) to 73% (2001 corpus). 1. 2. 3. 4.

Introductory Move Contextualising Move Narrative Move Evaluative Move

Table 5. ATRs move structure.

2001 35 26 31 35

% 100% 73% 96% 100%

1991 31 19 30 31

% 97% 59% 94% 97%

TOT. 66 45 61 66

% 98.5% 67% 91% 98.5%

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224 3.1. Introductory move

The review opens with a move whose function is to introduce the reader to the production and the play. This move, similar to Move 1 in Motta-Roth’s scheme, provides basic background information on the theatrical event, such as venue, title of the play, director and playwright, similar to the way in which Motta-Roth’s Move 1 introduced the book to the reader. This information aims to direct the attention of the reader to the object of the review. This move often includes elements of preliminary overall evaluation and provides further information concerning the play and/or the production, broadly setting it into its historical, literary and socio-cultural context. (1)

A world lingering upon the brink of destruction was the resonant image for Sir Peter Hall’s disputatious Denver Center for the Performing Arts production of John Barton’s Tantalus. As one might expect from so enormous and ambitious an undertaking, Tantalus was fraught with highly publicized behind-the-scenes drama. [...] The drama was a valiant effort at re-conceptualizing the shards of ancient Greek myth and legend from a post millennial perspective that confronted the rude and offensive, as well as the great and lofty. The text made use of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, while also attempting to re-invent the Epic Cycle, a lost saga of Troy and the house of Agamemnon. (tj_01_13)

In (1) the first paragraph provides the background for the theatrical event (here put in italics): the paragraph includes the names of the director and of the playwright, the location of the performance and the title of the play. Evaluation (underlined here) pervades the text from the very beginning (“resonant image”), and a very brief hint on what to expect from the production is given as well (“A world lingering upon the brink of destruction”). In this move, the critic also establishes the role of the subjects involved in the theatrical event: venue, director, playwright, and title of the play. In the second paragraph, the overall evaluation is taken a step further, as the critic provides details of the production. (2)

The ‘Dirty War’ dictatorship may have ended, but for many Argentines, the torture continues. In Eduardo Pavlovsky’s Paso de dos (Pas de deux) are inscribed all of the charged themes in present-day Argentina – torture, complicity, the contamination and rewriting of history. Highly controversial (and

The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews


more bitterly so on the left), the show is the reference point for the 1990 season. Even those who haven’t seen it, or who refuse to see it, manage to read and argue about the play. It is running at the Babilonia, an alternative arts center on the last desolate block of Guardia Vicja in Almagro, the neighborhood where Carlos Gardel, the father of the modern tango, once lived. In a year when scores of theatres have closed and starving actors are returning to their native provinces, to the family farms and businesses they once fled, Paso de dos is packing the house for its twice-weekly performances. Tickets must be reserved three weeks in advance, unusual in this city even when times are good. As of this writing the production is scheduled for the Cadiz Festival and a U.S. tour. A European tour is also anticipated. Paso de dos is a violent, ambiguous, and deeply troubling work. (tdr_2_91)

Example 2 is more articulated than (1), but both share similar features: basic information on the theatrical event (here in italics) is provided, and it is preceded by a long and detailed description of the historical background of the play. Elements of preliminary overall evaluation can be noticed as well (underlined here), pointing to the most problematic or striking aspects of the production. Evaluation is pervasive in the move, affecting either the topic of the positioning or the theatrical event in the field of theatrical production at large. Its function in this move is to highlight the most controversial aspects that constitute the main features of novelty and appeal of the theatrical event. Usually this move features highly emphatic evaluative language, in order to attract the attention of the reader, as shown in (1) and (2), by means of hyperbole, e.g., adjectives such as “resonant”; “enormous and ambitious”, “valiant”, or expression such as “deeply troubling”, “packing the house”, “the reference point”. The analysis of Move 1 has revealed that it carries out two main functions, which can be compared to the two main steps identified by Motta-Roth in her first move (1998: 49). The first function is (1.1) Setting the production in the field. The second one is (1.2) Presenting the topic of the play, that is to say presenting the main themes and plot elements that feature the play. The first function includes the details provided about the director and/or the playwright and the venue, which inform the readers about the kind of event they might expect, relying on their own knowledge of the theatrical field. This function was also specified in Diani’s scheme. The theatre review differs from

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the genres studied by Diani and Motta-Roth in that it does not provide information about the potential audience. The art review (Radighieri 2006: 99) lacks this function as well. We find here a first confirmation of what Armstrong (2008: 118) has observed, that critics seem not to take audiences into account, in spite of their fundamental role in the process of meaning creation.

3.2. Contextualizing move The second move is entirely different from its corresponding move in Motta-Roth and Diani, although it has lots in common with Radighieri’s Move 2 (Biographical/Developmental Move: narrating the development/details about artist’s life and his/her artistic production or the development of the exhibition/museum/event). In the ATR, this is where explicit reference is made to the director or to the playwright, although also to the translator in case of productions based on an adaptation/translation. I have defined this move a ‘contextualizing move’ because it sets the production/play in the context of the director’s/playwright’s previous work. As well, it provides a detailed account of his/her previous experience, approach to the theatre, and theatrical theories and techniques. Usually, evaluation expressed in this move includes an appraisal of the professional profile and/or the director’s/playwright’s/translator’s previous work. See, for example, how the director is said to be “dynamic” in (3), or how the playwright is described as having been “a renowned fiction writer for some twenty years” in (2). These descriptions seem to be part of a hedging strategy used by the reviewer to mitigate the criticism that will follow in the analysis. Examples (3), (4) and (5) will provide an overview of the various types of foci that can be retrieved in this move. (3)

Amal Allana, the dynamic young Indian director, staged the play in 1989, in the village complex of Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. [...] In her Hindi adaptation, she located the story in the desert land of Rajasthan, where sand and sword sparkle. [...]. In her directorial note (theatre and television associates 1989), Allana observes that Lear has reached a stage in his life when he wishes to divest himself of his kingdom – but goes through [...]. And on the other the dark painful journey into an abyss of insight by the old Lear and his

The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews


shadow, Gloucester (62), Allana interprets the conflicts of generations, “the struggle for power by ruthless individuals, the headlong fall of an impetuous, egocentric being in his search for love/truth. (tdr_1_91) (4)

Mungan has been a renowned fiction writer for some twenty years. His most outstanding work for the theatre, Mesopotamian Trilogy, was conceived intermittently between 1980 and 1999. Its first part, Mahmut and Yezida, performed initially by amateur groups and college theatres, had its professional premiere in 1993 at the Ankara State Theatre. The second part, Tazije, premiered after its early appearance in 1984 at the Ankara Sanat Theatre, and was later followed by the staging of the third play, Deers’ Curse in 1992. The dramatic trilogy was published in 1993, and in 1994 all three plays were produced at the Antalya State Theatre and at the International Istanbul Festival in a more than ten hour long performance.[…]. (tj_01_20)


Luckily for us (and also for Molière), we have Richard Wilbur to help reintroduce The Bungler. Wilbur has revolutionized Molière in English with his versions of The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, The School for Wives, and others. The ease with which he converts the French Alexandrine into English iambic pentameter, and the creativity and verbal dexterity with which he makes his couplets rhyme, help make Molière’s texts alive and playable in our tongue; this latest translation is no exception.[…]. (t_01_3)

In (3) the focus is on the director. The critic is concentrating the analysis on aspects concerning the production, on the process of staging a certain play in a certain style, providing a very specific reading of the script that shapes the staging choices of the director. In (4), the focus is on the playwright, his previous works are described and evaluated in order to provide background for the appreciation of the play under review. In (5), where the focus is on the translator, the critic enthusiastically comments on his work and on his skills as a professional. Focusing on the translator, the critic is providing context for the play, and is also taking into account the playwright. This happens very often in the case of famous plays, or when dealing with famous playwrights of the past, as is the case in (5), where the play under review is by Molière. Radighieri has pointed out that the in art reviews (ARs) the Biographical Move “may indeed lead to two very different kinds of biography – the biography of the artist and the biography of the exhibition. This is due primarily to the fact that the AR, as a meta-representation, has a double object, the artwork and the exhibition” (2006: 107).

Anna Stermieri


This seems to be very similar to the theatre review: this move, though straightforwardly identifying the playwright, the director or the translator, has the main function of building up a context, but that can also be seen as a sort of ‘biography’ of the theatrical work under review, referring either to the production or the play, according to whether the focus is on the director or on the playwright. We have already noted that the ATR, similarly to the art review, has a double object, which is realized by the dichotomy between play and production. As mentioned above, the frequency of Move 2 has increased, from 59% to 73%. On the basis of the lack of attention given to the condition of production in ATRs pointed out by Armstrong (2008) and Knowles (2004), we may hypothesise that other professional writers trained in an academic context to be theatre critics might have perceived the same issue, and might have gained awareness of it. Therefore, they might have modified their writing habits in order to improve their work, including this move in their texts more often than they used to do. Also, it is possible that new members entering the discourse community have been trained to include this move as part of their professional practice.

3.3. Narrative move Move 3 deals with the narration and description of the events taking place on stage. It seems to be similar in function to Moves 3 and 4 from Radighieri’s scheme. The similarity is mainly based on the fact that the ATR is a ‘meta-representation’, a text about a multimodal text (the theatrical event). In Move 3 the critic steps further into the analytical process, and accounts for the visual/audio/performative elements characterizing a certain scene that will be taken as the basis for his/her evaluation, either positive or negative. In this move, due to the necessity of highlighting relevant moments in the production, the critic must account for the story, and as a consequence, he/she will have to deal with issues of time and space in order to describe the sequence of events and action which is taking place on stage. (6)

Fadrique, although always professing his loyalty to his brother, returned from wars abroad a hero, his popularity secretly disturbing to the king. Moreover,

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he was a scholar who wrote on astrology and astronomy. Believing life on earth to be the microcosm of the universe, Fadrique built a fantastic tower as a place to study the heavens and privately conduct his research. The audience was herded into a small square area, covered in sand marked with magic traingles and squares, on the opposite side of the tower. Here Fadrique, backlit by a light inside the tower, burnt incense in an urn and performed rituals, attempting to understand the invisible world behind the visible one. Accosted by the Archbishop, he was told not to defy God’s will by seeking knowledge beyond what the Church has deemed suitable for human intelligence. The men chased and charged each other in the tiny space, but their clichéd debate between religion and science was overwhelmed by their intensity and the spontaneity they brought to the conflict. The argument ended in a sweeping gesture by the Archbishop who, suddenly overturning the urn, cast burning ashes at the feet of startled spectators. In a powerful scene back on the courtyard platform, the Archbishop presented proof that Fadrique intended to overthrow the king by occult means, and confidently sat on the throne. (tj_01_17)

In (6) it is interesting to note that the critic makes reference to two different spaces while describing the action in a certain scene. We have highlighted in italics those deictics that refer to a fictional space, that is to say, to the setting of the action as it is defined in the play. “Abroad” and “returned” are not used with reference to the location of the performance, but they are related to the setting of the story. The “tower” that Fadrigue builds as a place to study (in italics, line 5) is not the same “tower” we find in line 7 (underlined), although the tower in line 7 is meant to represent it. The fictional space (in italics in line 5) is then opposed to a real space (underlined, in line 6), the actual stage where the action is taking place, that is to say the “courtyard platform” in line 16, the “tiny space” in line 12, where burning ashes are cast “at the feet” of startled spectators. Example (7) shows an example of what happens to the time of narration: (7)

The production opens with people standing at all six doors, lit only in silhouette, while classical music plays. They begin to move about the space, adjusting objects, putting on coats and hats, until everyone holds a pewter mug as they toast and talk unintelligibly beneath the music. This scene gradually transforms into the scene from Uncle Vanya when Vanya tries to shoot Serebryakov. All of the Chekhovian characters then exit and Rita’s story begins. We learn about Pepe’s infidelity and the emptiness of their marriage, intercut with scenes from Uncle Vanya that either comment upon or obliquely

Anna Stermieri


connect with Rita’s situation. Rita gradually begins to interact with Chekhov’s characters until Sonya’s final monologue is spoken by Rita herself. Pepe leaves once more on one of his innumerable ‘business’ trips, while the characters in Uncle Vanya make their goodbyes.[...] She then waters their plants while Chekhov’s characters all say goodbye, closing all six sets of French doors behind them. When they have left Rita fills a basin, Andrés’ latest gift from his father’s possessions, with water, places it on the floor, and washes her hands as the lights fade. (tj_2_91)

Deictics referring to the time of the production (underlined in (7)) follow one another in a strict chronological order, beginning with “opens”, in line 1, and finishing with “as the lights fade”, which is usually the signal marking the finale of a theatrical performance. In italics are highlighted the deictics referring to the time of the play. The time of the play constitutes a separate plan from the time of the action as the order of the events does not have to be strictly chronological. Deictics that refer to the time of the play provide a temporal framework for elements that are not actually part of the action on stage at that moment, but that the critic nonetheless includes in the narration as additional details. When in line 14, Rita fills the basin, the critic provides a detail that sets that object within the time frame of the play, separated from the action to which it is subjected at that specific moment. In other words, he tells us it has been the “latest” gift from Andrés, positing the existence of other gifts, preceding it in time. In line 11, “once more” is referred not to the action which is actually taking place on stage (Pepe leaving), but to all the other times this action has been performed and repeated in the past, within the time frame of the play. Deixis appears therefore as a privileged device for the rendition of the superposition of the different layers of signification that constitute the theatrical event, combining in a single narration aspects of fiction and reality that are usually simultaneously provided only to the audience attending the performance.

3.4. Evaluative move Usually occupying the last paragraphs of the review, the evaluative move concerns features that have been introduced in previous moves (e.g. staging choices, playwriting, set design, acting, rendering of cha-

The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews


racters). Evaluation here reveals the reviewer’s stance, highlighting the features he has liked or disliked most. This move often appears to be divided into two parts: part (A) providing evaluation of the most relevant feature(s) of the theatrical event, and part (B) delivering a final, usually sentence-long evaluative statement, conveying the reviewer’s overall positive or negative evaluation of the play/production. This bipartite structure recalls Moves 3 and 4 in Motta-Roth’s and Diani’s schemes, and Moves 4 and 5 in Radighieri’s. I have identified detailed evaluation and final evaluation as sub-functions of a single move because the analysis of the corpus revealed part B to be optional, not obligatory, and sometimes heavily dependent on the preceding evaluative statements, instead of being self-sufficient as it seems to be the case for art reviews and book reviews. Evaluation in ATRs is more an analytical process than a promotional one, and a catchy closing sentence is not an obligatory feature as might be the case for newspaper art reviews. Part B, in fact, is heavily promotional, and even though promotional discourse is a relevant part of reviewing genres (Bhatia 2004: 91), ATRs, being published usually three/six months after a theatrical event taking place for a very limited time, have a less incisive impact on the event itself, compared to art reviews published in a daily paper or to book reviews dealing with freshly released books. In (8) we have an example of a ‘full’ realization of Move 4, including both part A and part B (the latter in italics): (8)

Director Tisch Jones cut many of the Victorian era terms of endearment, which would be laughable to late-twentieth-century audiences. Cuts also made some lengthy monologues more manageable for the actors, while rendering their meaning and emotion clearer and more effective.[…] The drama depicts a part of the American experience that the stage too often neglects. It conveys the pain of feeling less than human but also the undaunted determination of those who refuse to succumb to the debilitating effects of racism. Seventy-four years should not pass again before its next production. (tj_17_91)

Evaluation provided in (9) is not followed by a strong final sentence, as happens in (8). While in (8) we have a very strong statement, including strong modality (should not) and entirely independent from what precedes it, in (9) we have a closing paragraph which in the first part (underlined here) expresses the critic’s stance and belief towards the

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production, pointing at a weakness he has perceived during the theatrical event (“something is too safe here”). What follows is a rhetorically organized list (“Perhaps... Perhaps... perhaps...”) of possible reasons for that weakness, adding details that strengthen the critic’s argument. (9)

Aside from gender questions, if that’s possible – they’re basic to the Byzantine narrative (as well as the Duck’s and even Europe’s, however differently) – something’s too safe here. There’s no anger at the audience, and no passion to break down their prejudices, challenge their smugness, condemn their values. No anger at those bosses at home, whose greed, racism, ‘cleansing’, wars, and crimes have driven their citizens away. All that remains is the background. This may be fine for the participants, who know it anyway. For the audience, Prince Igor only confirms images already deeply held. Perhaps it’s not possible to go too far, that is, to go far enough, in a coproduction funded by a multitude of institutions from the corporate and cultural establishment. Perhaps the belief that life in history is only a matter of conflicting narratives takes the teeth out of conflict itself. Or perhaps Stefanovski and his directors simply wanted, with all due irony and ambivalence, to celebrate easternness and let the Viennese feel whatever they felt, including condescension, irritation, sympathy, admiration, and occasionally – oh that wonderful opera conjured from a tub! – delighted surprise. (t_01_05)

4. Aspects of diachronic variation A qualitative analysis based on the reading of the texts suggested an increase in evaluative expressions, and a shift towards a more involved position of the critic. In particular, the use of superlatives and comparatives seems to be significant (Table 6). Superlatives and comparatives seem to be increasing over time, with the exception of the form ‘the *est’ which decreases dramatically, while its related form, ‘most’ increases by 58%. Moreover, the increasing presence of superlatives and comparatives is supported by the frequency of the other elements considered, that is to say ‘more’ and the comparative form ending in -er, that display a similar increase rate, 16% and 20% respectively.

The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews

most the *est *er (comp.) More

1991 50 22 87 71

233 2001 79 8 101 85

% 58% - 63% 16% 20%

Table 6. Superlatives and comparatives in the two subcorpora.

Table 7 compares two instances of Move 1 taken from the two subcorpora. I have highlighted in italics all the evaluative elements in the text. The table clearly shows the frequent evaluative expressions in (10) (2001), compared to the only one marked evaluative element in (11) (1991). The data seems therefore to support our hypothesis of a shift of evaluative stance towards a more involved position of the critic, but further study is needed in order to define the exact relevance of this variation and to understand its causes. It is possible that this shift is caused by a variation of conditions in the professional activity of the critic (Bhatia 2008) or we could hypothesise that the expression of evaluation in the academic review has been influenced by journalistic writing, where criticism is usually expressed in a very involved way. 2001 (10) Not since the nineteenth century have London theatregoers congregated in large numbers in the unfashionable East End district of Shoreditch. However, the Almeida company, in one of their more notable experiments, put Shoreditch briefly back on the theatrical map this past summer, staging two of Shakespeare’s most politically complex plays, Coriolanus and Richard II, at the derelict, soon-to-be demolished Gainesborough Studios, a film studio known as the home of Hitchcock thrillers and costume melodramas. In the case of Coriolanus, this setting was key. [...] Fortunately, the set did not

1991 (11) In 1989, England’s National Theatre commissioned and premiered at the Cottlesloe Theatre in London a bold adaptation by Adrian Mitchell of Fuente Ovejuna, Lope de Vega’s classic Siglo de Oro political revenge drama. The British adaptation made its American debut the following year at Berkeley Repertory Theatre under the direction of Artistic Director Sharon Ott. Two other American productions, in Chicago and Washington D.C., are scheduled to follow. Fuente Ovejuna, one of Lope’s mature works, was written around 1619 when the playwright was in his early 50s and had already been writing dramas for over twenty-five years, The play is an example of Lope’s comedias villanescas, or peasant plays. The son of an Austrian embroiderer, all of Lope’s dramatic work is characterized by a

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234 overwhelm the cast. Ralph Fiennes allowed his Coriolanus degrees of emotion and a greater subtlety than is often seen in the part. A warrior and aristocrat, Coriolanus spends much of the play angry, and there is a real danger that any production can degenerate into a formless rant. (tj_01_11)

strong social relevance. Fuente Ovejuna can also be classified as one of Lope’s ‘honor’ plays in that we are introduced to the highest ranking members of the military Order of Calatrava – the villainous middle-aged Commander and his superior, the extremely young Grand Master – who struggle violently to gain or maintain that most ephemeral and noble of Spanish virtues, honor. (tj_03_91)

Table 7. Distribution of evaluative elements in 1991 vs 2001.

5. Concluding remarks This chapter has demonstrated that the ATR as a genre has a consistent pattern of rhetorical organization, which not only is perceived as existing by the professionals producing the genre, but which can be retrieved with a certain degree of regularity in the texts produced by members of the discourse community considered. A pattern accounting for the rhetorical organization of the genre has been provided, together with a description of the four main moves characterising the genre: the Introductory Move, the Contextualising Move, the Narrative Move and the Evaluative Move. The analysis revealed that the obligatory moves are Move 1 and Move 4. Comparing results from the 1991 corpus and the 2001 corpus, the pattern does not seem to have undergone significant variations, although the quantitative analysis has highlighted an increase in the frequency of Move 2, usually providing information on the playwright or director. The analysis of the moves has revealed an interesting feature characterizing Move 3, that is to say the double deixis of time and space that is used by the critic in narrating and describing the events taking place on stage. A theatre performance is a complex, multilayered text, emerging from the co-existence and co-occurrence of a series of different texts, each characterised by its internal deixis. This dichotomy supports our thesis that ATRs, similarly to production presentations, are

The Move Structure of Academic Theatre Reviews


characterised by a double focus, due to the fact that the primary text they refer to is an extremely complex one. Deixis appears therefore as a privileged device for the rendition of the superposition of the different layers of signification that constitute the theatrical event, combining in a single narration aspects of fiction and reality that are usually simultaneously provided only to the audience attending the performance The second part of the analysis, focusing on elements of diachronic variation, has highlighted a tendency towards a shift of the stance of the critic to a more involved position, which seems to be supported by the increasing frequency of evaluative expressions (e.g. superlatives and comparatives). Further study is needed in order to determine the causes of this variation, which might be due to changes occurring to the critic’s professional environment.

References Armstrong, Alan 2008. Romeo and Juliet Academic Theatre Review Kit. Shakespeare Bulletin 26, 1109-1124. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman. Bhatia, Vijay K. 2004. Worlds of Written Discourse. London: Continuum. Bhatia Vijay K. 2008. Genre Analysis, ESP and Professional Practice. English for Specific Purposes 27, 161-74. Bondi, Marina / Stermieri, Anna 2011. Promoting the Theatre: Production Presentations as a Genre. In Di Sabato, Bruna / Mazzotta, Patrizia (eds) Linguistica e didattica delle lingue e dell’inglese contemporaneo. Studi in onore di Gianfranco Porcelli. Lecce: Pensa Multimedia Editore, 229-250. De Carvalho, Gisele 2010. One Genre in Two Digital Media Sources: An Analysis of the Review Genre from a Systemic-functional Perspective. Revista signos 43, 63-76. Diani, Giuliana 2004. A Genre Based Approach to Analysing Academic Review Articles. In Bondi, Marina / Gavioli, Laura / Silver,


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Marc S. (eds) Academic Discourse, Genre and Small Corpora. Roma: Officina Edizioni, 105-126. Fortier, Mark 2006. Theory/Theatre. London: Routledge. Hyland, Ken / Diani, Giuliana (eds) 2009. Academic Evaluation in University Settings. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Knowles, Ric 2004. Reading the Material Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Motta-Roth, Desiree 1998. Discourse Analysis and Academic Book Reviews: A Study of Text and Disciplinary Cultures. In Fortanet, Inmaculada et al. (eds) Genre Studies in English for Academic Purposes. Castelló de la Plana: Publicaciones de la Universitat Jaume I, 29-58. Radighieri, Sara 2006. Describing, Explaining and Evaluating in the Art Review: A Genre-based Analysis. PhD Dissertation, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy) [unpublished]. Roberts, David 1997. Towards a Study of Theatre Journalism. Studies in Theatre Production 16,129-138. Roberts, David 1999. Making the Word Count. Towards an Analytic Database of Theatre Reviews. New Theatre Quarterly 15/4, 332-338. Roberts, David / Woodman, Lance 1998. A Corpus Linguistics Study of the Theatre Review: First steps. Studies in Theatre Production 18, 6-27. Swales, John 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Taboada, Maite 2011. Stages in an Online Review Genre. Text & Talk 31/2, 247-269.


The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia

1. Introduction Science Daily publishes the latest research news from scientists worldwide at . It publishes press releases from universities, adapts research articles into a more readerfriendly format and is used pedagogically in courses such as Taxonomy of Flowering Plants at the University of Texas A&M University (Biology 301, Fall 2010). The reports make students aware of the discipline’s relevance to society and provide input for topics suitable for written assignments. From an academic point of view it provides all the necessary information for citation purposes, and the bibliographical reference to the source article from academic journals is invaluable for the linguist wishing to compare discourse strategies used within the strictly scientific community with those adopted in popular discourse. As a text type the science report is particularly difficult to classify. Parts of it can be particularly technical, parts pedagogic, parts sensational. Our main endeavour in this chapter is to gain insight into redrafting techniques in the popularization of scientific knowledge by comparing the original research abstracts (when available) and their derived popular science reports. In particular the chapter will focus on lexical issues in order to throw light on the close interconnection between author, reader and commercial interest.


Susan Kermas

2. Aims and method Botany is a particularly interesting field of research from a lexical viewpoint not only because each plant has an internationally-recognized Latin name in addition to the local popular names of the genus and species but also because it has numerous disciplinary applications and scope for text analysis. Indeed, since the topics can range from environmental issues, conservation and climate change to cloning, genetic modification and health issues, all of varying technicality and interest to a diverse readership, this search will contribute to shedding light on factors determining the choice of lexis and consequently on the science report as a mixed genre. Initially our investigation entailed searching for science reports containing plant names in Science Daily and compiling a corpus of these reports and their respective source texts, the academic research abstracts. The research is qualitative rather than quantitative and focuses on the lexicon as used in the two different genres with the purpose of gaining further insight into the under-researched popularization process (cf. Askehave 2002; Gotti 2011) on the one hand, and into variation within the science news report itself, on the other. The science news report is a useful source of information for the researcher and student alike as well indeed for the lay reader, and as a text type therefore it can be very challenging. In some cases it is extremely technical with features of specialized texts addressed to a purely scientific community; in others it is a popularized informative text with occasional pedagogic features useful for the future specialist or people involved in professions linked to botany; sometimes it contains journalistic features in order to draw the attention of lay readers. Our search of Latin names and their popular equivalents in a selection of reports from Science Daily seeks to throw light on the versatility of the text type on the one hand and gain insight into factors determining lexical choices on the other. For this chapter we have analyzed 47 reports from the field of botany between 2006 and 2011 along with the relative academic abstracts of 26 of these reports.1 What we purport to  1

All reports and research abstracts were retrieved 17th-24th May 2011.

The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia


 do is demonstrate that the science news report is fundamentally academic and adapts its style according to the hypothetical recipient’s needs. We will first of all try to understand why some news articles favour scientific nomenclature while others opt for the common names of plants. We will then attempt to understand why articles on health matters tend to use the popular name only, even in the original scientific abstracts themselves. Since one of the major contributing factors to distinguishing between the purely academic abstract and the popularized text lies in the recipient, we will focus on the relationship between the topic and the recipients’ needs throughout. Since botany has many sub-disciplines and applications in society, the articles have been divided according to topics and varying degree of technicality and interest to a lay audience. We will begin with the more technical reports addressed prevalently to the scientist and then proceed with those of particular interest to the non-expert.

3. The neutral stance of plant biology texts An analysis of the science news reports from the field of botany in Science Daily is particularly interesting in that it demonstrates that the choice of nomenclature – scientific binomial or common name – is determined both by the field and the interlocutor. As would be expected, the purely botanical articles describing the timing process of the flowering of plants in ‘Genetic Snooze Button Governs Timing of Spring Flowers’ (10/8/06) or the influence of insect pollination on the evolution of flower shape in ‘How Pollinators Sculpt Flowers’ (17/12/10) make exclusive use of binomials, the official Latin names of plants, the first part of which identifies the genus, the second part the species.2 These two texts are addressed prevalently to the scientist;  2

All botanical terms are governed by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature and updated every six years. They are often referred to as Latin names because of the grammar. Whatever the source language, the generic name is always a noun while the epithet may be either a noun, an adjective, or


Susan Kermas

nonetheless the plants are briefly described for the lay reader. Arabidopsis is briefly described as a small mustard plant commonly used to study plant genetics in the former and E. mediohispanicum as a wild herb common in mountainous regions of Spain in the latter. There is no point in giving the specific popular plant names since they are only instrumental to the studies conducted and the non-specialist reader would not be familiar with them anyway. Neither article is particularly technical. The one investigating the flowering process is also of interest to the agronomist and is slightly more varied both from a stylistic and lexical viewpoint. It has an exiguous number of technical terms in the body of the article (‘vernalization’ and ‘meristem’) all of which are provided with definitions3 and one colloquial phrase “you need to make dam sure” (10/8/06) in the words of one of the researchers who takes into consideration the economic impact of premature flowering. However, this stylistic deviation should be considered negligible in view of the length of the text (799 words) and the general alternation of direct and indirect speech throughout the report. In general both texts are informative and are lay-reader-oriented, the one of economic importance slightly pedagogic and varied stylistically, the one on Darwinian natural selection of plants merely summarizes and redrafts the original research abstract in simple terms. The final paragraph in each summarizes the progress and relevance of the study in question, a pattern recurring in all science reports even those addressed prevalently to a non-expert target group. Articles on ecology are also of interest both to the general reader and the scientific community and the choice of nomenclature is determined by the recipient’s needs. The article entitled ‘Climbers Leave Rare Plants’ Genetic Variation on the Rocks’ (4/5/11) discussing the effect of climbers on the rare yellow whitlowgrass (Draba azoides) is of interest to a mixed readership but since the plant in question is rare both names are given. On the other hand, the article  3

a participle treated as an adjective. In a binomial, the species epithet must always agree with the generic name in gender (cf. Eggli/Newton 2010: xii). Exposure to the cold triggers a process in plants known as vernalization, where the meristem – a region on the growing point of a plant where rapidly dividing cells differentiate into shoots, roots and flowers – is rendered competent to flower.

The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia


 ‘Risks and Benefits of Using Poplars for Biofuels: Scientific Risk Assessment Conducted on Introduction of Exotic Species’ (14/10/10) has the Latin names since it is addressed to the researcher seeking to develop trees with a higher yield as biofuels. The article ‘Environmental Data Improves Effectiveness of Invasive Species Range Predictions’ has no Latin names because the focus is not on the actual plants but on the researchers’ “models that can be modified and used in other systems to predict biological invasions anywhere in the world” (19/3/09). In this case the names of “the New England invasive plants: Japanese barberry, bittersweet and winged euonymus (or burning bush)” are simply illustrative and the common names would be sufficient for both the specialist and the lay reader. In the introductions to these articles we have hypernyms (a ‘rare plant’ in the first article, ‘poplars’ in the second and ‘invasive plants’ in the third) while the actual specific terms are used in the body of the texts. The original research abstracts also first introduce the plants by using hypernyms: the ‘rare plant’ in the preview of research abstract about Draba aizoides, ‘poplars and their hybrids’ in the second abstract followed by the various specific Latin names and finally ‘three commonly found invasive woody plant species in New England’ followed by the Latin equivalents, Berberis thunbergii, Celastrus orbiculatus and Euonymus alatus in the third. The only science report with technical terms – the one on poplars – has definitions. What also emerges is the use of the zero plural marker in common names of plants in the science news report in lieu of the binomials as a means of making the texts appear to be expository and scientific. We have ‘New England invasive plants: Japanese barberry, bittersweet and winged euonymus (or burning bush)’ (19/3/09) and ‘native populations of Poplar’ (14/10/10) in two of the three reports on ecology which add to their scientific stance. Certainly this form is influenced by the scientific names themselves which have a zero plural formation and also by the high frequency of words such as ‘grass’ and ‘cabbage’ within the field of botany which can be considered both countable and uncountable. Course books briefly mention this special category of nouns limiting the examples to ‘sheep’, ‘fish’ and ‘cod’ but none focus on plants, not even authoritative texts such as the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (Biber et al. 1999).


Susan Kermas

Leech and Svartvik (2002: 41) include ‘wood’ and ‘grass’ as examples of mass nouns and give the plural of the latter as ‘blades of grass’ but do not even take into consideration the botanical use of ‘grasses’, meaning species of grass which is used both in specialized and general discourse let alone its stylistic pertinence. In effect, it is a feature encountered in 39 of the 47 science reports examined and appears to be a means of reinforcing the scientific feel of the texts without necessarily using the Latin names themselves. It may be objected that one particular term – ‘euonymus’ – happens to be both the scientific and common name but only three other nouns encountered in the reports examined (‘poinsettia’, ‘chrysanthemum’ and ‘hibiscus’) have the same term in both registers. The two articles on the environment are also addressed to a mixed readership – scientists and anyone concerned about global warming. Neither has particularly technical terminology and neither has binomials. Both articles ‘Right Mix of Trees Fights Global Warming/Environmental Scientists Find Tree Combo for Carbon Sequestration’ (1/5/07) and ‘Reviving American Chestnut Trees May Mitigate Climate Change’ (15/6/09) also contain an exiguous number of features typical of news articles such as ‘the perfect mix’ and ‘winning combination’ (in the former), ‘incredibly fast-growing tree’ (in the latter), but overall they too summarize the findings in a neutral way. The non-American reader might not be familiar with all the trees mentioned, i.e. the sycamore, hawthorn, the American elm, dogwood, and red hickory in the first and (American) chestnut, black walnut, northern red oak, quaking aspen, red pine, and white pine in the second but the common names would be more self-explanatory to users of other varieties of English than the scientific name for American chestnut encountered in the source abstract (Castadeaden tata). What is important is that these texts are applied to real life situations. The names of the plants in the first report illustrate that environmentalists would need to examine the right trees for any particular zone and the focus of the other is on determining the advantages of introducing a new hybrid chestnut tree. The concluding remarks of the first report demonstrate that “the goal is to get people to protect and plant those trees in their neighborhoods, so everyone can make a change” and the comparison: “It’s like using solar cells on your roof or driving a

The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia


 hybrid car. It’s something the individual can do so they know they are making a difference” (1/5/07) further reinforces the overall lay reader orientation. The other is slightly more scientist-oriented in approach. The zero plural of plant names is used and the report concludes by saying “since this study looked at aboveground carbon sequestration, future studies would seek to understand more about how forests that contain American chestnuts store carbon below the ground” (15/6/09) and specifies who funded the research. Both texts are informative rather than persuasive and limit their scope to summarizing ongoing research in non-technical terms. Reports discussing the adaptation of plants and climate change are likewise of interest to both the scientific community and environmentalists. While those discussing studies of the adaptation of specific species specify the Latin names – three delicate purple European marshorchids (Dactylorhiza) of hybrid origin in ‘Common Orchid Gives Scientists Hope in Face of Climate Change’ (10/8/10), Arabidopsis in ‘Why Some Plants Flower in Spring, Autumn and Some in Summer’ (20/7/10) and early spider orchid (Ophrys sphegodes) in ‘Ecologists Find New Clues to Climate Change in 150-Year-Old Pressed Plants’ (23/9/10) – the ones generalizing about the phenomenon of climate change (‘Invasive Plants are Beneficiaries of Climate Change in Thoreau’s Woods’, 10/2/10 and ‘Striking Ecological Impact on Canada’s Arctic Coastline Linked to Global Climate Change’, 16/5/11) give only the common names even when present in the research abstract. None of these reports is particularly technical, none contains colloquialisms or particularly evaluative language and they all reflect the original research sources where available. The two reports on climate change have the regular plural forms of countable nouns, e.g. ‘lilies’, ‘orchids’, ‘violets’, ‘roses’ and ‘dogwoods’ in the report on Thoreau’s Woods and ‘alder shrubs’ in the other, while the zero-plural forms (‘Poinsettia’ and ‘Chrysanthemum’) in the one on flowering seasons (20/7/10) and ‘early spider orchid’ in the other (23/9/10). True, the two in the former happen to be also the scientific names of the genus of plants as indeed ‘winged euonymus’ in the ecology group but they are of widespread use in general language and do throw light on a stylistic feature commonly encountered in popular science reports since the regular plural could have been used in this case.


Susan Kermas

Articles discussing endangered species are also of interest to both scientists and environmentalists. Of the six articles examined the two regarding specific endangered species – the lady’s slipper orchid (Cypridpedium calceolus) growing on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees and Western Australia’s underground orchid (Rhizanthella gardneri) – are given their respective scientific binomials already in the lead.4 Another article, the one discussing 48 species of rosewood facing extinction thanks to illegal logging in Madagascar also indicates the scientific name of the genus (Dalbergia), this time in the first sentence of the body of the text and for the sake of specification since rosewood has several referents.5 The other three do not have the scientific names because they are of little relevance to the reader. The one discussing rare orchid species growing in the forests of Borneo are unknown to the reader. Even though the original research abstract gives the specific names, the generic name is sufficient for the nonspecialist. The other two discuss the possible reintroduction of the American chestnut trees thanks to the introduction of a gene from the blight-resistant Chinese chestnut. The focus is on the scientists’ work in progress and the scientific name of the new chestnut is probably unavailable anyway. With the exception of the report ‘Western Australia’s Incredible Underground Orchid’ – which has “Rhizanthella gardneri is a cute, quirky and critically endangered orchid that lives all its life underground. It even blooms underground, making it virtually unique amongst plants” (9/2/11) in the lead – there is very little colloquial or sensational language in any of these reports. Though the approach is prevalently academic, the terminology is nonetheless accessible to the  4


‘Natural Reforestation in Southern Pyrenees Favours Orchid’ (3/12/10) refers to the plant as the ‘orchid species (Cypripedium calceolus)’ in the lead, the ‘lady’s slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus)’ in the body of the text and the Cypripedium calceolus in the conclusive part. The other, entitled ‘Western Australia’s Incredible Underground Orchid’ (9/2/11), has the Latin names throughout. Besides other species of rosewood the common name can refer to several West Indian trees of the genus Amyris and Australasian trees including Dysoxylum fraserianum. Moreover, it can refer to two Canary Island bindweeds (Convolvus floridus and C. scoparius).

The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia


 lay reader. There are only two instances of undefined technical terms (‘chloroplasts – the site of photosynthesis in plants’ and ‘plant chloroplast genomes’), both in the report on the orchid. In short, the reports are simple reformulations of the original texts and those with the Latin names reflect the source research abstracts. We have the ‘underground orchid’, Rhizanthella and Rhizanthella gardneri in the report and the ‘underground orchid, Rhizanthella gardneri’ in the abstract, an ‘orchid species (Cypripedium calceolus)’ in the report and a ‘rare Euroasiatic orchid (Cypripedium calceolus)’ in the abstract and finally ‘species of rosewood (Dalbergia)’ in the popular text as opposed to ‘rosewood (genus Dalbergia) species’ in the research abstract. The fact that the only report that fails to use the zero plural form of the common name is the one on orchids in Borneo is perfectly justifiable because the term refers to the various species of orchid.

4. The science report as a mixed genre The reports analyzed in this section are more varied from a stylistic point of view because the addressee is sometimes the prospective buyer and some features of promotional discourse are evident. The three articles dealing with cloning are indeed addressed not only to the scientific community and plant breeders but also to the prospective purchaser because of the value of the plants both as ornamentals and as fruits and spices. In these articles it is interesting to note not only the use of both the Latin and common names of plants but also the distribution of these terms according to the exigencies of the message. Indeed in these articles we have instances of evaluative language in the title and lead, a typical feature of news discourse, and sometimes also in the concluding remarks. Each article has the popular name in the title and two of the three use positive evaluative adjectives either in the heading or in the lead in order to draw the attention of the reader. The title of the first ‘Vanilla: Preserving a World Favourite’ has “It’s one of the world’s two best-loved flavours” (18/4/11) in the lead,


Susan Kermas

the second one ‘Tahitian Vanilla Originated in Maya Forests, Says Botanist’ draws attention to the fruit described as “the source of the rare and highly esteemed gourmet French Polynesian spice” (25/8/08) in the lead. Even though the third report ‘Scientists Release First Cultivated Ohelo Berry for Hawaii’ has no such adjectives, it nonetheless draws attention to the scientists who released it. The first article is also evaluative from the research point of view. It says in the final section that “To date, this is the first study investigating the possible occurrence of genetic variants of Vanilla planifolia” (24/9/10), a form typically used in research abstracts and also found in the concluding remarks of other science news reports. The second article at first appears to be different because the Latin name Vanilla tahitensis is already introduced in the lead but its use is typical of a popular text type. It is not used functionally. It simply draws attention to the fact that it is “known by the scientific name Vanilla tahitensis” (25/8/08). In each case there appears to be a preference for the common name since overall science reports prefer plain language. The third article only uses the scientific name in the introductory description “ƿhelo (Vaccinium reticulatum Smith)” (24/9/10); after that, ǀhelo6 is used throughout. The other two, on the other hand, use the scientific names when specifying the species of vanilla in descriptions such as “They discovered that Tahitian vanilla fit the pattern of being a hybrid offspring between Vanilla planifolia and Vanilla odorata” (25/8/08) and for specifications such as “The research is concentrating on the most common cultivated vanilla orchid, Vanilla planifolia, a perennial which produces the pods from which the natural vanillin is extracted” (18/4/11). All three reports are based on press releases but apart from the reference to subclones that have to be ‘scrapped’ in the first article, colloquialisms are negligible in all three reports. This group of texts is also of interest because in two of the three reports it is sometimes taken for granted that the reader needs no definitions of technical terms. We have instances such as ‘cycles of subculturing in tissue culture’ in the first and ‘a vanilla germplasm collection’ in the second  6

It also includes the epithet for the new cultivar ‘Kilauea’.

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 and the concluding remarks of the first report appear to be far removed from the initial lay reader orientation.7 The six articles concerning genetic modification also have features pertaining to both academia and journalism. None of these articles is particularly technical and though they are mainly consumeroriented they are not particularly evaluative and neither are they particularly colloquial in spite of the presence of direct speech. The only report to have such language is the one on roses which alternately has technical words alongside colloquialisms (e.g. “fungal pathogens, the bad guys that infect plants”) as well as definitions (such as “botrytis, or petal blight”, “a sugar alcohol called mannitol” and “a gene called mannitol dehydrogenase”, 14/2/11) typical of any pedagogic text book. Indeed this report is the most varied in this group and epitomizes the mixed features of the genre. What also emerges from these texts is that the titles and lead of three of the reports include a discrete play on words, typical of journalism. In actual fact the report entitled ‘Blue Breed: Rare Hibiscus Color is Achieved Thanks to Flower Breeding Project’ (the only one to have evaluative adjectives such as the ‘magic 12-inch diameter’ flower of a ‘rare fantastic blue hue’) plays on the word ‘blue’ in the lead where “Dr. Dariusz Malinowski is seeing blue, and he is very excited” (7/9/10). The lead of the article entitled ‘Roses Get Celery Gene to Help Fight Disease’ even adapts a famous quotation from Shakespeare8 to “A rose by any other name would smell ... like celery?” (14/2/11) and ‘Scientists Trumpeting Possible New Adaptation of Tropical Flower’ is also of interest because it is a pun on the common name of the flower in question – angel(‘s) trumpet. Goodman and Graddol (1996) suggest that the first section of a news story,  7


The final paragraph – “To date, this is the first study investigating the possible occurrence of genetic variants of Vanilla planifolia through these types of regeneration protocols. Findings from the study will provide useful guidance on the suitability of tissue culture protocols for long term use for vanilla regeneration without risk of genetic instability” (18/4/11) – is purely scientific. On the other hand, the opening title and subtitle (“Vanilla: Preserving a World Favorite Flavor – It’s one of the world’s two best-loved flavours, and demand for it is increasing all the time. [...]”) is lay-reader-oriented. Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 47-48.


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the lead, functions as its abstract. Indeed, the inclusion of these puns is not at all detrimental to the overall function of the abstract. The continuation of the Shakespearean note summarizes the aims of the study: “North Carolina State University research intended to extend the ‘vase life’ of roses inserts a gene from celery inside rose plants to help fight off botrytis, or petal blight, one of the rose’s major post-harvest diseases” (14/2/11). The one on angel’s trumpet is lay-reader-oriented: “Texas AgriLife Research scientists are trying to bring more beauty to the colder regions of the state by breeding winter-hardiness into a tropical ornamental plant, the angel’s trumpet flower” (3/3/11) but outlines the project with a neutral stance. Even though the first one is triumphalistic about the new breed of hibiscus, it likewise summarizes the successful results of the project. As for the botanical nomenclature only three of the six reports have scientific names, the ones describing plants ready for the market (the Inca lily, Easter lily9 and Angel’s trumpet): Alstroemeria, Lilium longiflorum and Brugmansia. The fact that the other three discussing the progress of breeders trying to create stronger blight-resistant roses, hibiscuses with blue blooms or even winter-hardy hybrids do not is probably because they are not ready for the market and there is no immediate commercial need therefore. The report on bulb dipping is the only one based on a research article and has precisely the same forms found in the source abstract, i.e. Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum) and ‘Nellie White’ Easter Lily (28/12/10), the forms also encountered in ‘Pink Lily Look-Alike Blooms All Summer Long’ which has “Inca lily (Alstroemeria)” and ‘Mauve Majesty’ in addition to ‘Alstroemeria flowers’ (12/1/08). The other report to include the scientific name does so in order to draw attention to the plant: “Angel’s trumpet is the generic name for the Brugmansia genus of flowering plants native to the subtropical regions of South America” (3/3/11) and is not used functionally. Indeed, this report is particularly consumer-oriented and the concluding remarks anticipate that “One of [... their] goals is to create flowers with multiple colors [...]. One of the lines has double flowers, where the outside skirt is white and the inside skirt is yellow 9

In this case scientists have discovered how to produce plants of uniform height useful for shipping.

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 ish. Another line also has double flowers, with the outside skirt in light pink and the inside skirt in dark pink” (3/3/11). All in all then, these texts use the common names of plants, which reflects the overall simple terminology used throughout. The scientific name is provided when indispensable as indeed unavoidable technical terms such as ‘paclobutrazol’, the substance used in bulb dipping, and semi-technical terms such as ‘plant growth retardants (PGRs)’ ‘cultivars’, ‘hybridization’ and ‘stigma’. Evaluation is also limited to phraseology such as ‘an effective strategy’, ‘to achieve optimal aesthetic value’ and ‘exceptional commercial value’ (all permissible in academia) and colloquialisms such as ‘fancy restaurants’. Articles describing new species are different. The Latin names are given in all five articles in spite of the general readership also because these plants are unknown and do not have common names.10 Moreover, in three of them we also have the same scientific names of the family which are provided in the original research abstracts. Two of the articles on new species of flowers include information about the naming of the plants, something the lay reader would appreciate,11 and the scientific names of the dandelion-like plants (16/2/11), Yasunia (4/4/11) and Hondurodendron (17/10/10), are even given in the lead. The article describing the new southern highbush blueberry even indicates the epithets ‘Blue Suede’ and ‘O’Neal’ that will be used for distributional purposes. All in all, these reports give more details of the nomenclature because of the abundant information provided in the source texts themselves. Indeed, though the reports do not include the  10


Names such as Hondurodendron (tree of Honduras) and Yasunia are likely to become also common names. Suffice it to remember that Rhododendron is both the common name and scientific name of the genus. We are told for instance that Hondurodendron means ‘tree of Honduras’ and its Latin epithet – urceolatum – ‘shaped like a pitcher or urn’ because of the striking form of the fruit. In the article describing two ‘dandelion’-like plants discovered in Spain, we are informed that the Taraxacum decastroi is named after the naturalists Emilio de Castro and Pérez de Castro while the Taraxacum lacianense is named for the area in which it grows, i.e. Laciana in the Montes de León. Indeed, the literature suggests that the popular text is more likely to give etymological and explicative remarks about technical terms (cf. Gotti 2011:188-189).


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names of the classifiers, i.e. the authors of the scientific name of the plant, this information is included both for the binomial (Hondurodendron urceolatum C. Ulloa, Nickrent, Whitef. & Kelley) and the family (Aptandraceae Miers) in the research abstract on Hondurodendron. Since the scientific name of the family is not familiar and untranslatable, in this case the author explains that it is “related to the sandalwoods” (17/10/10). In effect, of these reports only the one discussing the process governing speciation is rather technical and fails to adapt the text to the audience. Though most of the technical words in this particular article are defined and the ancestral groups of plant families (clades) are given both their common names and the scientific names (e.g. grasses (Poaceae), orchids (Orchidaceae) and sunflowers (Asteraceae)), there are some classifications, e.g. eudicots (Eudicotyledoneae) and monocots (Monocottyledoneae) that may not be entirely comprehensible to the lay reader. The article on the conservation of the world’s familiar blueberries and lesser known wild relatives is of interest to both the general reader, breeder and the scientific community. As this is a general introduction to a collection of species, there is a description of various forms of blueberry from different geographic areas with no indication of the nomenclature. The scientific name is indicated only for the prized specimen Vaccinium praestans (also known as redberry Kraznika or rock azalea) from Russia, China and Japan because attention is drawn to its commercial potential both for its edible fruit and its possible use as “attractive ground cover” (8/5/11). Indeed, in all cases the choice of nomenclature is conditioned by the interlocutor’s expectations on the one hand and the disciplinespecific content on the other. The fact that an article on consumer preferences for Hawaiian orchids (20/4/10) has no binomial is justifiable since the aim of the study described is to reveal what governs the consumer’s choices, i.e. colour and size. Similarly, two articles out of three on disease control focus on damage caused by insects, the use of wasps in destroying the tree-killing beetle in one (7/4/11) and the destruction of Redbay and oak trees in the US caused by the longhorned beetle in the other (7/12/10), and the binomials are not required. The only article to have the scientific nomenclature is the one

The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia


 describing a study seeking to find out which trees are more resistant to fungi than others (29/12/10). In this case the information is of interest to urban forestry professionals and to anyone with such trees in their gardens, hence the need to know the specific names.

5. Health matters and the interlocutor The ten science news stories dealing with health issues are totally different. In this field of knowledge only two have binomials. In the first one on St. John’s wort for treating ADHD in children and teens (10/6/08), the binomial was included partly because of the description of a clinical trial on young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, partly because chunks were copied directly from the original academic abstract. The actual common name is used alongside the binomial because it is a well-known anti-depressant and because the text is not exclusive to the scientific community.12 The other text describes the newly certified reference materials for measuring amounts of organic acids in dietary supplements formulated with Vaccinium berries – cranberries, blueberries and bilberries – and is likewise addressed to both specialists, i.e. the “manufacturers and researchers [who] can use this new suite of standard reference as quality assurance tools” (11/11/10) and to the consumer who will benefit from these reference codes for the disambiguation of labeling. The eight articles with no binomials are all addressed to a vast audience and the topics are all of widespread interest. ‘Meals as medicine: anti-obesity effects of soy in rat model of menopause’ (26/7/10) or ‘Blueberries or other purple fruits to ward off Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s’ (8/12/10) would draw the attention of a broad readership as indeed ‘Peaches, plums induce deliciously promi 12

In this article it is also stated that besides St. John’s wort, other herbal treatments include Echinacea species and Ginkgo biloba. Since these plants are not so widespread as St. John’s wort, the first endemic to North America, the second to China, the scientific names appear to be an appropriate choice.


Susan Kermas

sing death of breast cancer cells’ (2/6/10) and ‘Blueberry juice improves memory in older adults’ (21/1/10). The ‘new botanical drug [which] may silence peanut allergies [...]’ (17/2/09) and the ‘native Australian fruits [which] bear sweet antioxidants’ (6/8/07) are also of interest to people with minor health problems or people simply seeking a healthy lifestyle. Two of the articles with common names of fruit only are even slightly promotional. The one entitled ‘Super-fruits: tropical blueberries extremely high in healthful antioxidants, study suggests’ (29/4/11) tries to show that the 600 species or so of blueberries and blueberry-like fruits might be the ‘extreme super fruits’ that provide ‘protection against heart disease, cancer and other conditions’. The other – ‘Plums poised to give blueberries run for the money’ (4/2/09) – is slightly sensational: ‘there’s plum good news’ and ‘there’s an emerging star in the super-food world’ are typically journalistic puns. In all eight articles there is very little technical language and no particular need for the scientific name. Even if we do not know the tropical species of blueberry or the Australian species of plum13 (6/8/07), the focus is on the benefits of all of these fruits and the binomials would be superfluous. Moreover, the few technical words included in these texts are all defined for the reader. What is different about the article discussing the new botanical drug is that we are not told which Chinese herbs are used. We are told that the “Food Allergy Herbal Formula (FAHF-2) produced long-term protection following treatment against peanut-induced anaphylaxis in mice” and that “FAHF-2 treatment protected mice from anaphylaxis for more than 36 weeks after treatment was discontinued”, and that “currently human clinical trials are being conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of FAHF-2 on multiple food allergies” (17/2/09). Clearly, there is commercial interest since the studies show that this botanical drug has the potential to be developed into the first efficient treatment available for patients with food allergies. Nonetheless, we  13

The article includes the Kadadu plum, Illawarra plum, Burdekin plum, Davidson’s plum, riberry, red and yellow finger limes, Tasmanian pepper, brush cherry, Cedar Bay cherry, muntries, Molucca raspberry and the Biloxi cultivar of blueberry.

The Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge in Academia


 have to bear in mind that there is an information gap since the formulae remain undefined. What is of further interest is that while all academic abstracts addressed to the scientific community dealing with botany, ecological matters, new species, endangered species, genetic modification, and consumer preferences indicate the binomials and some also the classifier,14 only three of seven academic abstracts relating to health issues have the Latin names, i.e. the ones discussing St John’s wort, the high anti-oxidant values of tropical blueberries and the reference codes of a suite of Vaccinium berry useful to the consumer. The others do not. Understandably, the one discussing complex biochemical networks in degenerative diseases does not mention plant names at all since it focuses on the process of poorly liganded iron leading to cell death and only hints at the multiple interventions that might inhibit the development of degenerative diseases in the abstract. In the science news reports on the other hand the readers’ needs have been met. What they want to know is the names of these diseases and more importantly the possible remedies. They are informed that “purple fruits have the best chance of binding the iron effectively” (8/12/10) and keeping Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s at bay. In other words there is no need for binomials in either text type and the redrafting of the academic text to the needs of the recipient of the popularized version has been fully realized. In the case of the abstract evaluating the cancer suppression activity of extracts from common varieties of peach and plum, the inclusion of the common epithets ‘Rich Lady’ and ‘Black Splendor’ respectively is likewise sufficient for identification purposes. The fact that the epithets are not given in the science news text is of little importance since the thrust of the discourse points to the possible benefits of peaches and plums in general. The abstract on the new potentially-effective botanical drug for silencing food allergies on the other hand contains technical formulae  14

Only two academic abstracts in the other groups have no binomials: one which focuses on a process – phenology, “a suite of traits related to the timing of seasonal events such as flowering, leaf growth, germination and migration” (10/2/10) – the other on disease control where the focus is on the insects threatening the US National forest (7/12/10).


Susan Kermas

that only the specialist can understand. The Immunobiology Group at the Center for Chinese Herbal Therapies focuses on research and development of current ASHMI and FAHF-2 and a new TCM formulation for allergic disorders without hinting at the contents. This is perfectly permissible within the specific scientific context. The problem lies with the adaptation of the text to a broader readership. While the scientific community would know the acronym and formulae, the recipients of the popularized version are not informed about the Chinese herbal ingredients, neither are they told that ASHMI stands for ‘antiasthma herbal medicine intervention’ and that ‘TCM’ simply means Traditional Chinese Medicine.15 Likewise, in the case of the texts dealing with the benefits of blueberries on older adults with early memory loss, the actual study uses wild blueberry juice while the Science Daily news article suggests that any commercially available blueberry juice may be beneficial. In this case the missing binomial may be important. Indeed, while the other news article on the health benefits of various species of blueberries compensates for the loss of the binomials in the target text by informing the reader that neotropical blueberries contain more antioxidants than those sold in supermarkets, in this case there is no such suggestion and the omission may be of relevance.

6. Conclusions As would be expected, the difference between academic abstracts and science news reports lies in the use of Latin names in the former, the use of the common names in the latter. With few exceptions, research abstracts indicate the binomials with additional information about the classifier, the family of plants and sometimes even the popular names while the Science Daily texts prefer the common names – especially  15

A quick search on the Internet gives contrasting information. At (accessed on 20/6/2011) we are told that FAHF-2 is composed of nine Chinese herbs while at we are told that it is composed of two Chinese herbs (Wu Mei Wan and Ling Zhi).

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 the well-known ones – and indicate the scientific names in cases of possible ambiguity or where there is commercial interest. This chapter has thrown light on how lexical choices are made according to the topic and readership. However, from the point of view of technical language at large, the reports are mostly adjusted to the lay readership. With few exceptions, those containing technical words have definitions very similar to those encountered in pedagogic text books and processes are occasionally described metaphorically. What distinguishes the science news reports from everyday journalism is the impersonal, neutral format. Though some of the headlines themselves draw the attention of the reader, the lack of sensational language and the use of impersonal language in the body of the texts distinguish them from ordinary journalism. The literature on popularization also suggests that the popular text is more likely to give etymological information than scientific ones. Only two articles in effect give such information – those dealing with new species – and what really transpires is the frequent use of the zero-plural form of common plant names (e.g. rose, Easter lily, angel’s trumpet) which enhances the scientific feel of the reports. Reports from the field of health and nutrition are a special category. While the three academic abstracts with binomials have been adapted to the mixed readership of Science Daily texts, the two regarding the botanical drug and blueberry juice have not fully taken into account the real needs of the recipient. While the information gap in the one on blueberry juice is minimal, the one on Chinese herbs is disturbing especially in view of the fact that my original search for plant names from India and China had to be dismissed because none of them are included in Science Daily in spite of ongoing research into their possible therapeutic use in cancer prevention and treatment.16


Selection of information for publication is unavoidable in view of the flood of news from around the world (Jucker 2005: 14); however, there is evidence of political bias in science news reports (Kermas forthcoming b).


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References Askehave, Inger 2002. Drug Information for Laymen: Good or Bad Medicine? In Candlin, Christopher (ed.) Research and Practice in Professional Discourse. Hong Kong: Hong Kong City University Press, 279-292. Biber, Douglas et al. 1999. Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Pearson. Eggli, Urs / Newton, Leonard E. 2010. Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names. Berlin: Springer. Goodman, Sharon / Graddol, David 1996. Redesigning English – New Texts, New Identities. London: Routledge. Gotti, Maurizio 32011. Investigating Specialized Discourse. Bern: Peter Lang. Jucker, Andreas H. 2005. News Discourse: Mass Media Communication from the Seventeenth to the Twenty-first Century. In Skaffari, Janne et al. (eds) Opening Windows on Texts and Discourses of the Past. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 7-21. Kermas, Susan (forthcoming a). Culture-specific Lexis and Knowledge Sharing in the Global Village. In Facchinetti, Roberta (ed.) Cultural Identities in English Lexicography. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Kermas, Susan (forthcoming b). Science News Reports and Herbal Remedies in Focus. In Chiavetta, Eleonora / Sciarrino, Silvana (eds) The Popularization of Botanical, Legal and Commercial Language. Rome: XL Edizioni. Leech, Geoffrey / Svartvik, Jan 2002. A Communicative Grammar of English. Harlow: Pearson.


Blurred Genres: Hybrid Functions in the Medical Field

1. Introduction The number of journals carrying reports of the most newsworthy findings of science for a lay audience has dramatically increased in recent years. Academic texts are central to scientific knowledge constructed through the negotiation of claims with reviewers, editors and readers, while written pieces for the general public seek to link issues in the specialist domain to those of everyday life. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries the need to simplify findings so as to make science comprehensible to a non-specialist public became more acutely felt. In the 20th century popularizations were facilitated by the radio and television. The advent of new communication technology, such as the Internet, promoted information for a non-specialist public and members of different communities. The Internet responds to an increasing need for medical knowledge. This global tool, which allows constant scientific developments to spread at a high speed, displays adaptations of medical research articles (Med-RAs) comprehensible to a broad audience. This channel of communication feeds the growing community of information consumers mainly coding these texts in English. These potential readers are usually patients in search of information relevant to their immediate medical needs or to their concerns on health prevention or care. Nevertheless, the issue of reliability arises: Can we believe everything that can be read on the Net? More and more, there are hospitals, practitioners and specialised journalists who design their own web-sites in order to respond to the public demands. We are now dealing with emerging trends regarding medical knowledge dissemination.


Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

Medical electronic popularizations (Med-E-Pops) have very often been problematized as non-academic texts yet considered as a core aspect of a current social debate. Previous literature focused on the contrastive analysis of scientific RAs and popularizations is varied yet not extensive. Hyland (2009: 164) observes how science journalism “established the novelty, relevance and newsworthiness of topics” turning scientific developments into narratives related to lay people concerns. Hewings (2007) for instance, reflects on how the popular press creates scientists’ public images and how this type of media portrays their work. As patients, we expect to be adequately informed and to participate actively in our own therapy. In order to be involved in our own treatment choices, we require information that doctors are often unable to provide due to the lack of time, or simply because the medical technologies involved are too sophisticated to be explained in depth to laypeople. Therefore, complex information needs to be adequately reformulated and made comprehensible for an audience who does not have an adequate scientific background. The fact that “popularizations deal with the dissemination of scientific findings outside the scientific community” (Giannoni 2008: 215) does not always imply that Med-E-Pops should be simple reformulations of an original medical RA carried out by a specialised journalist, a practitioner or a lay writer. As Myers (1989) states, a key difference between the medical RA and Med-E-Pop genres is that they provide contrasting views of medicine as a science. Popularizations focus on the objects of study and articles on the disciplinary procedures by which they are studied. There are also differences in language choices. These choices not only convey different meanings of both RAs and Med-EPops, but also mean that writers or readers of one narrative cannot easily understand the other. Previous studies have stated that scientific popularizations reformulate RAs to clarify notions. The linguistic strategies used to translate these RAs into popularizations have been observed by different scholars. Calsamiglia and Van Dijk (2004) have explored among other devices how popularization writers paraphrase, reformulate or explain when transferring knowledge from RAs into popularizations. Garzone (2006) has studied the lower density of argumentative meta-discourse markers and frequency of technical words, and Guillén (1996, 2001) has studied the

Blurred Genres


complexity of nominalizations in medical RAs and popularizations. These popularizations, which are written to be read by a lay audience, have also been approached from the angle of the authorial voice (De Oliveira/Pagano 2006). In this chapter a similar angle is taken when reflecting on the potential implications of quoting the writer´s voice or the researchers’ voices (cf. Shaw 1992, Thomas/ Hawes 1994, Thompson 1996, Myers 1999). Other scholars have also focused on linguistic aspects such as the cohesive devices used in scientific RAs and their popularizations (Myers 1991), the variation in the communicative functions of hedges (Varttala 1999) or the distribution and functions of connectives in popular and specialist discourse (Bondi forthcoming). The context of popularizations and therefore the context of the addressee or potential reader has been studied by scholars such as Nwogu (1991), Moirand (2003) or Calsamiglia/Van Dijk (2004). One of the aims of this chapter is to distinguish the Med-E-Pops genre from former approaches. Academics such as Bhatia (1999) or Swales (1990) have claimed that texts fall into categories and therefore particular genres are characterised by various linguistic conventions and rhetorical features. In this study I explore the genre of Med-E-Pops conducting a contrastive study of 40 Med-RAs, corpus A, and their corresponding popularizations published on recommended web-sites, corpus B. The present study adopts a corpus and discourse perspective while conducting a cross-genre study. Contrasting these corpora highlights the existing genre hybridization between medical RAs and Med-E-Pops. The concept of hybridisation is nowadays related to several issues. For instance, in genetics, hybridisation is the process of combining different varieties or species of organisms to create a hybrid. In molecular biology, nucleic acid hybridisation is the process of joining two complementary strands of DNA. Referring to vehicles, hybridisation refers to the alteration of a vehicle into a hybrid electric vehicle. In Globalisation theory, hybridisation refers to an on-going blending of cultures. Varghese/Abraham (2004) adopted this concept to describe the contrastive study among scientific popularizations, research articles and book-length scholarly essays. In linguistics, hybridisation is a term to describe the process of one language variety blending with another variety.


Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

Extending these examples to the issue under study, I therefore place emphasis on the fact that the linguistic features of the textual organization of Med-E-Pops are the result of a hybrid combination of medical RAs and the writer’s intention to create more reliable texts. These new texts that may mirror medical RAs would project credibility, reliability and accessibility under a virtual mask of Med-E-Pops. Needless to say, any piece of written discourse has distinctive and conventional characteristics (Gotti 2003) and genres evolve (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1993). More concretely, Med-E-Pops are the result of the bloom of new technologies. Fortanet et al. (1999: 94) state the following: A drastic change was brought about in the mid 90s when, along with an enormous – almost uncontrolled – expansion of network, the commercial possibilities in both economic exchange and advertising products have completely altered the initial concept of an academic internet. This transformation has had a rippling effect in the way genres – originally designed for a different context and situation – are being reproduced on the net.

In the case of peer reviewed medical journals, information is organised in distinct sections that describe the different steps of a scientific process. The rigid format used by researchers when writing Med-RAs, known as IMRD, includes the following sections: Introduction, Method and Patients, Results and Discussion. Nwogu (1997) points out that there is even an internal ordering of the information presented in the different sections of the RA. On the contrary, according to the prevailing approaches, popularizations do not have a fixed format. Among other researchers, Gil Salom (2000) claims that a standard format would diminish the imagination needed in order to match the scientific findings and language used. The scientific adaptations or versions addressed to a lay audience do not always pursue clarity and objectivity. Moreover, to be widely read, controversy and ambiguity are indispensable factors. Contrary to previous research, this chapter aims to show that although Med-E-Pops are addressed to a virtual lay audience, writers make their texts mirror their corresponding Med-RAs to promote their research and raise credibility towards their writing by adapting the Med-RAs into texts comprehensible to a wide readership.

Blurred Genres


2. Method To observe the level of hybridization between Med-RAs and Med-EPops I selected 40 Med-E-Pops published on different web-sites recommended by my medical informants and published in the year 2009.1 I turned to these web-sites because medical practitioners stated they read them and also recommended them to their patients for further reading. These texts had an average of 400 words. If the title of the RA, date of publication of the RA and authors were mentioned I looked for the academic counterpart. If the counterpart fulfilled the fixed conventions of the Med-RA genre, I selected both the RA and its corresponding popularization. The latter was added to corpus B while the former was included in corpus A. Corpus A comprises 124,172 words and Corpus B comprises 34,214 words. The texts were then scanned manually.2 It is beyond the scope of the present study to contribute to the widely studied medical RA genre. Thus, in this chapter no further reflection is made about Med-RAs and all my attention is focused on defining Med-E-Pops contrasting them with their academic counterparts. As regards the span of time of publication of the Med-E-Pops, it can be observed that only two out of 40 counterparts were published one month after the RA publication. The other 38 Med-E-Pops were published the same day or one day after the RA publication. The texts were not plain. In other words, all of them were hyperlinked to the Med-RA abstract or the authors´ hospital, university, etc. Though all the Med-E-Pops named the physician-authors, date and journal of 1


This type of Med-E-Pops is displayed on the web-sites of private and public institutions such as Doc’ s Guide, New York Times Health Guide, Health Day News, Health Day News, Johns Hopkins News Release, Medical News Today, Health News or Science Daily. The details of the publications are given in the Appendix. I would like to acknowledge CAI and my local authorities (Diputación General de Aragón) for the research scholarship Programa Europa XXI (CH 34/09) which enabled me to be a visiting researcher at the English Department of the University of Sheffield in 2009. This mixed commission (CONAI+I and CAI) funded the research visit which was a key experience to gather the corpora for the present and other studies.


Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

publication, 17 of them did not mention the E-pop writer. This characteristic is shared by three web-sites: Doc´s Guide, Medical News Today and Health Day News. As regards potential guidelines for writing their popularizations and the publishing policy, I sent emails to the Med-E-Pops authors, editors and general enquiries department four times in the past two years and I got no answer. Nevertheless, six out of the seven web-sites pointed out that there were no guidelines for this kind of publication.

3. Results and discussion To carry out a preliminary description of the Med-E-Pops genre, I have focused my analysis first on the move structure. The textual organization of Med-E-Pops is divided into four or five moves depending on the communicative purpose of the writer and depending on the electronic journal publishing style. The first distinctive characteristic that ensues from the contrastive analysis of my corpora is that Med-E-Pop moves or sections have no heading, in contrast to medical RA sections. Table 1 shows the correspondence among moves, which casts light on the organization of Med-E-Pop texts: Conventional Med-RA Structure Introduction

Methods (and patients) Results Discussion (findings or/and conclusions)

Med-E-Pop Structure Introduction which summarises the Med-RA conclusions and which names the authors, date and journal of publication Contextualization of the research process: Methods: What researchers did Further Results Conclusions: x Reflection and/or evaluation of the research x Advice (with further implications)

Table 1. Move correspondence between Med-RAs and Med-E-Pops according to the communicative purposes.

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All the Med-E-Pops shared the same sections or moves. It has been observed that all the introductory sections or moves gather the MedRA conclusions. Most of the Med-E-Pops introduce the RA source, the name of the main researchers and date of publication in this section. The following section (the Context of Research) generally consists of a summary of the RA Method section. Four Med-E-Pops chose to name the RA source again in this section. The third section of Med-E-Pops shows the results of the RAs. Three writers named the source of the RAs in this section. The fourth and fifth sections or moves vary according to the electronic publication. Those Med-EPops which only had four sections tended to include in their fourth and last section a reflection on the need of further and future research to reinforce the results obtained. The Med-E-Pops with five sections usually include in their final sections further information about the researchers involved in the Med-RAs and external researchers’ reviews on the subject under study. See for instance two examples to observe the correspondence between the medical RA move structure and that of the Med-E-Pop genre: (1)

Materials and Methods Laboratory technicians were blinded to all food labelling information. All samples were ground before analysis. Potassium was measured using the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) official method 985.01. Phosphorus was measured using AOAC official method 984.27; both the potassium and phosphorus assays are inductively coupled plasma atomic spectroscopy procedures. Protein was measured using the AOAC official method 990.03, the Dumas nitrogen combustion method, with the Elementar Americas Rapid-N apparatus (Elementar Americas, Mt. Laurel, NJ). A Perkin-Elmer model Optima 2000 DV equipped with a model AS 90 plus Autosampler was used (PerkinElmer, Waltham, MA). Sample weights were obtained with a Sartorius model U 4800P balance (Sartorius Corp., Edgewood, NY). All instruments were calibrated according to manufacturers’ specifications. Samples from the laboratory were routinely analyzed for accuracy by the American Association of Feed Control Officials and the American Oil Chemists Society. (Med-RA34)


In the new study, Dr. Richard Sherman and Dr. Ojas Mehta from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, looked at the potassium and phosphate content in ‘enhanced’ and additive-free meats and poultry from area supermarkets. (Med-E-Pop34)


Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

Examples 1 and 2 have been selected to represent in brief what is constant in my corpora. Researchers use the passive voice, which is an academic convention adopted in medical RAs to present the methodology used in an objective way. Meanwhile researchers themselves adopt an agentless attitude towards their own research. However, Med-E-Pop writers directly named the medical researchers and used the active voice combined with a flexible tense: the past simple. Med-E-Pops simply narrate in a direct way what researchers did. Moreover, they also quote their professional affiliation to raise concern on their good reputation. As commented above, the most recurrent move structure is the one that introduces the medical RA date of publication, authors and specialised journal at the very beginning as shown in (3). In addition, a very brief comment that may summarise the RA conclusions is also included in these introductions: (3)

CHICAGO – October 12, 2009 – Critical illness among Canadian patients with influenza A(H1N1) occurred rapidly after hospital admission, often in young adults, and was associated with severely low levels of oxygen in the blood, multi-system organ failure, a need for prolonged mechanical ventilation, and frequent use of rescue therapies, according to a study to appear in the November 4 issue of [JAMA]. (Med-RA40)

It is also characteristic of Med-E-Pops that all of them put an end to their narrative with a reflection or further recommendations as in (4), (5) and (6): (4)

It may be more complex when sand is involved, said the lead author of the study, Christopher D. Heaney of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It may be that the bacteria can continue to live in the sand even after the bacteria in the water has returned to normal levels. Dr. Heaney said people should wash their hands before they eat on the beach. (Med-E-Pop20)


The study is ongoing, but Kabat recommended that postmenopausal women try to keep insulin at normal levels through weight loss, regular exercise and other methods. (Med-E-Pop35)


Matlaga explains that kidney stones are often caused by an excess of a dietary component known as oxalate, which normally binds with calcium and is flushed out of the body. Roux-en-Y surgery might reduce the amount of calcium that patients absorb, contributing to kidney stone formation. Conse-

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quently, Matlaga adds, doctors may be able to help patients avoid kidney stones through calcium supplements or other interventions. Kidney stones are solid mineral crystals that form within the kidneys and can cause pain that is frequently severe. Each year, people make almost 3 million visits to health care providers and more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. (Med-E-Pop19)

The titles of RAs were longer (almost twice as long) and more complex than those selected for Med-E-Pops, which were clearer. There was only one case in which the title of the Med-E-Pops was considerably longer than its counterpart: (7)

Bone Mineral Density in Estrogen-Deficient Young Women. (Med-E-RA22)


Study Defines Strategy to Protect Bones in Women, Girls with Primary Ovarian Insufficiency. (Med-E-Pop22)

Turning our attention to some of the linguistic features, it should be commented that electronic popularizations have suffered strategic choices in order to make their narratives more readily accessible, while preserving their reliability. It can be observed that the writers try to remain neutral and aim to make the text objective by depersonalising their RA adaptation. However, Med-E-Pops mirror their RA counterparts using different lexicogrammatical choices which raise credibility and assure their comprehension. As this is a preliminary study, I include the most notable features observed in the corpora analysis. Mitigation and reinforcement towards the research is introduced in the description of what researchers found by using reported speech (Semino/Short/ Culpeper 1997). Writers bring the researchers’ voices into the text as can be seen in Table 2, using neutral reporting verbs that do not imply any further interpretation or added value:


Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

Reporting verbs Occurrences Found in Med-E-Pops numbered Said 131 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 36, 37, 38, 39 Wrote 13 21, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 38, 40 Found 12 4, 22, 24, 29,31, 32, 33, 34, 39 Noted 12 4, 16, 18, 29, 32, 34, 35, 37, 39 Added 11 5, 12, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 33. 36 Concluded 10 8, 12, 13, 17, 22, 24, 25, 26, 32. 38, 39 Explained 6 19, 29, 30, 32, 39 Report 5 14, 17, 19, 32, 34 Suggested 5 3, 21, 29, 32, 33 Acnowledged 2 1, 15 According to 3 10, 28, 35 Believed that 3 28, 39 Agreed 2 16, 17 Cautioned 2 26, 32 Propose 1 8 Pointed out 2 28, 32 Advised 2 29, 33 Caution 1 14 Emphasize 1 14 Assumed 1 19 Stated 1 13 Estimated 1 23 Recommend 1 33 Told 1 36 Table 2. Number of occurrences of each reporting verb in Med-E-Pops.

Med-E-Pop writers quote Med-RA authors to enhance strong points and also to mitigate the weak points. Examples 9 and 10 show how writers mitigate their responsibility and establish a rhetorical distance from the researchers. In the Med-E-Pop corpus 118 instances (3.44 per 1,000 words) have been found: (9)

Caveats. While this is the largest study of its kind, there are a number of caveats. Our cases and controls were derived from another study hypothesis and were not matched to each other. Furthermore, 217 separate analyses were performed on the individual viruses, with 10.6% (23) yielding significant associations. Such multiple analyses increase the likelihood of identifying chance statistical associations (type 1 error) and because of small numbers in some of

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the subanalyses, associations cannot be confidently excluded (type 2 error). Limitations imposed by our ethics committee meant that we were unable to access case notes or other relevant clinical information about our cases and controls. Information such as Doppler studies on umbilical and uterine arteries, if available, would have enhanced this study. (Med-RA1) (10)

The authors acknowledged that their cases and controls were not matched and that the small number of cases of pre-eclampsia in their sample (23) made it difficult to draw firm conclusions. (Med-E-Pop1)

Med-E-Pop writers always bring the researchers’ voices into their texts. Apart from eluding their involvement with the research if this research itself admits to have remarkable limitations, they also enhance the strong points and therefore the value of the research itself. When writers highlight the importance of the medical study, a reference to the researchers’ professional post is always included to convey the academic status of the worthy researcher. 119 tokens (3.47 per 1,000 words) of reinforcement have been found in the Med-E-Pop corpus. Some of these tokens are voices of external researchers who also praise the advantages of the medical piece of research. The following extract will exemplify this point: (11)

“Depression during pregnancy is frequently dismissed or underdiagnosed,” said Dr. De-Kun Li, the lead author. “I hope our study will raise a red flag.” Dr. Li, who is an epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente’ s research division in Oakland, Calif., said that the safety of antidepressant use during pregnancy was not known, but that treatment did not have to involve drugs. “Support from peers, family and friends can help,” he said. “If you do have to use medication, you have to weigh the risks and benefits with your doctor.” (Med-E-Pop2)

There are more nominalization instances (291 tokens) than reported comments (237 tokens). This highlights the role of nominalizations as a trace of impersonality. These nominalizations are the subject of active verbs and apparently perform human actions: (12)

The study [conducted by these researchers] shows [that …]. (Med-E-Pop13)

126 instances (3.68 per 1,000 words) of passive constructions have been found in corpus B. The passive voice is widely known to be used

Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo


in RA methods and the active in the rest of the RAs. In Med-E-Pops there is a wide use of active forms. This usage helps to improve reader’s comprehension of the text of Med-E-Pops. As regards modality, 94 instances were found (2.74 per 1,000 words) and indicate that writers just transfer the same modal verbs and perceptions from the Med-RA into the Med-E-Pop. Other linguistic choices such as the use of Existential There or traces of evaluation cannot be fully commented on as their occurrences are very limited. The occurrences of the main linguistic data mentioned above is summarised in Table 3:

Number of instances in raw numbers Tokens per 1,000 words

Nominalizations 291 8.50

Reported Speech 237 6.92

Passive Voice 126 3.68

Modality 94 2.74

Table 3. Number of tokens expressed in raw number and per 1,000 words.

4. Conclusions Challenging the prevailing knowledge, the analysis has shown that informality is no longer a characteristic of medical popularizations published on the net. Electronic popularizations do not belong to the world of the academia because they are not accepted as a channel of academic knowledge dissemination. Nevertheless, contrary to previous conceptualizations of medical popularizations, Med-E-Pops do not seem to be chatty and subjective RA versions, which trigger panicking among populations from a sensationalist perspective. These texts aim to have a neutral and informative purpose disseminating scientific knowledge outside the scientific community mainly focusing on the findings of the Med-RAs. Their discourse mirrors that of Med-RAs in order to create an atmosphere of reliability, objectivity and professionalism. As regards audience, their potential readers are not just patients who turn to reliable

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and accessible information coming from specific Med-RAs. Supported by other ethnographic research (Herrando 2010), it may be said that this genre has a mixed audience composed of interested patients and doctors who may not have enough time to read all the Med-RAs that are published every day or who may not be fluent in English. The data suggest that the Med-E-Pop genre is reader-centred. Writers perceive the needs of the audience and of the context of publication. Their readership belongs to many different communities yet they all share a potential mastery of the channel of publication, the Internet. Thus, more dynamic and accessible journalistic reported versions (Nwogu 1991) are published on the net nowadays aiming to reach a broader audience. Med-E-Pop writers may be said to be influenced by this target audience when producing their electronic medical versions. In spite of the fact that on the websites under study there are no traces of publishing guidelines or publishing policies, these sites use the same discourse conventions. Medical content is not distributed randomly but according to the communicative purpose of each section or move. Hence, writers raise credibility on their writing by creating hybrid versions of the Med-RAs while reproducing the RA moves into more comprehensible sections and ‘domesticating’ complex information. In addition, writers also manipulate the RA communicative content placing the research conclusion at the beginning of the Med-E-Pops together with their source of publication to enhance the value of the popularized versions and to guarantee the quality of their content. Some of these texts introduce a final section with further recommendations that may hide commercial objectives as the advice given is likely to support the commercial intentions of the lab that funded the medical research. The hybridity of the genre of Med-E-Pops also defines the genre itself as far as language choices are concerned. The linguistic features that characterise this genre are always bridging the RA academic formality to the comprehension demanded by the Med-E-Pop readership. The language used seeks neutrality and impersonality in order to raise credibility. This study has observed how the passive voice so frequently used in peer reviewed scientific medical RAs is transformed into active voice. Moreover, the subjects of these active constructions are always human and personal, and generally correspond to the Med-RA researchers. Moreover, Med-E-Pop writers seek


Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

to distance themselves from the texts in order to project neutrality and objectivity by using nominalizations. However, the most frequent linguistic feature that has been observed in this exploratory approach to the Med-E-Pop genre is the use of reported speech. Med-E-Pop writers quote and cite the RA researchers in all the popularizations analysed here. They give voice to researchers to mitigate the potential impact of the research itself and avoid any kind of personal linkage to the research. This may be due to the weakness of some aspects of the research and to the aim of establishing distance between themselves as writers and the final Med-E-Pop. There is a balance in the use of reporting verbs for mitigating and for reinforcing the research. The other potential aim of using this linguistic device is to enhance the credibility of the Med-E-Pops giving voice to the protagonists of the research: the researchers. Moreover, writers sometimes bring in the voices of other medical experts external to the research process of the RA to highlight the importance and value of the study. It is obvious that the two genres are clear-cut and it would not be possible to talk about genre blending as far as Med-RAs and MedE-Pops are concerned. Whereas Med-RAs and Med-E-Pops have been conceptualised as vaguely similar cousins, this study shows that MedRAs and Med-E-Pops could be conceptualised as fraternal twins due the strong influence of RAs on the generic and argumentative structure of Med-E-Pops.

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/ Caliendo, Giuditta (eds) The Language of Popularization: Theoretical and Descriptive Models / Die Sprache der Popularisierung: Theoretische und Deskriptive Modelle. Bern: Peter Lang. Calsamiglia, Helena / Van Dijk, Teun A. 2004. Popularization Discourse and Knowledge about the Genome. Discourse & Society 15/4, 369-389. De Oliveira, Janaina Minnelli / Pagano, Adriana Silvina 2006. The Research Article and the Science Popularization Article: A Probabilistic Functional Grammar Perspective on Direct Discourse Representation. Discourse Studies 8/5, 627-646. Fortanet, Inmaculada / Palmer, Juan Carlos / Posteguillo, Santiago 1999. The Emerge of a New Genre: Advertising on the Internet (Nerverising). Hermes, Journal of Linguistics 23, 93-113. Giannoni, Davide 2008. Popularizing Features in English Journal Editorials. English for Specific Purposes 27, 212-232. Garzone, Giuliana 2006. Perspectives on ESP and Popularization. Milano: CUEM. Gil Salom, Luz 2000. El discurso de la ciencia y la tecnología: El artículo científico de investigación vs. el artículo de divulgación científica. RESLA 14, 429-449. Gotti, Maurizio 2003. Specialized Discourse. Linguistic Features and Changing Conventions. Bern: Peter Lang. Guillén, Ignacio 1996. Is Intertextuality behind the Characteristic Nominalizations of the Medical Journal? Using Grammatical Metaphor as an Intertextual Signal. The Intertextual Dimensions of Discourse. Pragmalinguistic/Cognitive/Hermeneutic Approaches. Zaragoza: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Zaragoza, 57-76. Guillén, Ignacio 2001. Ideational Grammatical Metaphor in the Area of Written Medical English: Model and Uses in Journal Articles and Popularisations. University of Zaragoza. PhD Thesis. (Unpublished). Herrando, Isabel 2010. ‘If you suffer from...Check the Internet’: The Role of Self Mentions and Engagement Markers in Medical Research Articles and Electronic Popularizations. In Lores-Sanz. Rosa / MurDueñas, Pilar / Lafuente-Millan, Enrique (eds) Constructing Interpersonality: Multiple Perspectives on Written Academic Genres. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 255-275.


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Hewings, Martin 2007. Boffins Create ‘Supermouse’: The Role of the Popular Press in Creating the Public Image of Scientists and their Work. In Gea-Valor, Luisa / García-Izquierdo, Isabel / Esteve, Maria Jose (eds) Linguistic and Translations Studies in Scientific Language. Bern: Peter Lang, 15-39. Hyland, Ken 2009. Academic Discourse. London: Continuum. Hyland, Ken 2010. Constructing Proximity: Relating to Readers in Popular and Professional Science. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9, 116-127. Moirand, Sophie 2003. Communicative and Cognitive Dimensions of Discourse on Science in the French Mass Media. Discourse Studies 5/2, 175-206. Myers, Greg 1989. The Pragmatics of Politeness in Scientific Articles. Applied Linguistics 10/1, 1-35. Myers, Greg 1991. Lexical Cohesion. and Specialized Knowledge in Science and Popular Science Texts. Discourse Processes 14/1, 1-26. Myers, Greg 1999. Functions of Reported Speech in Group Discussions. Applied Linguistics 20/3, 376-401. Nwogu, Kevin N. 1991. Structure of Science Popularizations: A Genre-Analysis Approach to the Schema of Popularized Medical Texts. English Specific Purposes 10, 111-123. Nwogu, Kevin N. 1997. The Medical Research Paper: Structure and Functions. English for Specific Purposes 16 /2, 119-138. Semino, Elena / Short, Mick / Culpeper, Jonathan 1997. Using a Corpus to Test a Model of Speech and Thought Presentation. Poetics 25, 17-43. Shaw, Philip 1992. Reasons for the Correlation of Voice, Tense and Sentence Function in Reporting Verbs. Applied Linguistics. 13/3, 302-319. Swales, John M. 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thomas, Sarah / Hawes, Thomas P. 1994. Reporting Verbs in Medical Journal Articles. English for Specific Purposes 13/2, 129-148. Thompson, Geoff 1996. Voices in the Text: Discourse Perspectives on Language Reports. Applied Linguistics 17/4, 501-530. Varttala, Teppo 1999. Remarks on the Communicative Functions of Hedging in Popular Scientific and Specialist Research Articles on Medicine. English for Specific Purposes 18/2, 177-200.

Human Reproduction, Vol.24, No.1 pp. 146– 153.

BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Vol. 72 February 10th 2009

December 2008




Tests May Predict Driving Safety in People with Alzheimer’ s Disease

Opening the door to TB

Having a Baby: Depression Linked to Premature Deliveries

Having a Baby: Blood Pressure Troubles Linked to a Virus Infection

Health News


New York Times Health

New York Times Health


February 2009

February 2009

November 4th , 2008

March 4th, 2008



Plos Pathogens

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RA Title


Varghese, Susheela A. / Abraham, Sunita A. 2004. Book-Length Scholarly Essays as a Hybrid Genre in Science. Written Communication 21/2, 201-231.

Fetal exposure to herpesviruses may be associated with pregnancy-induced hypertensive disorders and preterm birth in a Caucasian population


Presence of depressive symptoms during early pregnancy and the risk of preterm delivery: a prospective cohort study

POP Title

Identification of Tuberculosis Susceptibility Genes with Human Macrophage Gene Expression Profiles

Med-RAs and their corresponding Med-E-Pops




4 Predictors of driving safety in early Alzheimer disease

Timing of initiation of antiretroviral therapy in AIDS-free HIV1-infected patients: a collaborative analysis of 18 HIV cohort studies

Comparing the Quality of the Suture Anastomosis and the Learning Curves Associated with Performing Open, Freehand, and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty in a Swine Animal Model

Predicting risk of type 2 diabetes in England and Wales: prospective derivation and validation of QDScore

Gynecol Oncol (2009), doi:10.1016/j.ygyno. 2009.02.018

The Lancet Published online DOI: 10.1016/S01406736(09)60612-7

American College of Surgeons

British Medical Journal


April 26th, 2009

Vol 373 April 25th , 2009

April 9th , 2009

April 4th , 2009

March 25th, 2009


New Treatment Shows Promise Against Recurrent Gynecologic Cancers

The First Completely Autologous TissueEngineered Vascular Grafts For Dialysis Patients - ‘ A Revolutionary Milestone’

AIDS: Earlier Drug Treatment for AIDS Saves More Lives, Study Finds

Robot Improves Suture Proficiency More Rapidly for Surgeons Inexperienced in Laparoscopic Techniques

Awareness: Calculator Gives Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Doctor´s Guide

Medical News Today

New York Times Health

Doctor´s Guide

New York Times Health


July 21st , 2009

April 28th, 2009

April 13th , 2009

April 20th , 2009

March 24th, 2009


RA Title

Effectiveness of haemodialysis access with an autologous tissue-engineered vascular graft: a multicentre cohort study






9 A phase II study of weekly topotecan and docetaxel in heavily treated patients with recurrent uterine and ovarian cancers

Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

POP Title

Aspirin in the primary and secondary prevention of vascular disease: collaborative metaanalysis of individual participant data from randomised trials

The Child Anxiety Prevention Study: Intervention Model and Primary Outcomes

Disorders of Balance and Vestibular Function in US Adults

The Lancet

J Allergy Clin Immunol

Journal of the National Medical Association

The Lancet

Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology

Arch. Intern. Med.


Vol 373(9680): 2041–53 June 13, 2009

Vol.123, No. 6: 1253-1259 June 2009

Vol. 101, Nº. 6, June 2009 569

Vol 373 May 30, 2009

2009, Vol. 77, No. 3, 580– 587

Vol.169(10):93 8-944. May 25th, 2009


Mental Illness: Far More Chinese Have Mental Disorders Than Previously Reported, Study Finds

Folic Acid May Help Treat Allergies, Asthma

Study Suggests Obese Women Should Not Gain Weight During Pregnancy

Benefits of Aspirin as Primary Prevention of Vascular Events Do Not Outweigh Risks

Children of Adults with Anxiety Disorder May Need Help Too

Survey Suggests Higher Risks of Falls Due To Dizziness In MiddleAged And Older Ameri-

POP Title

New York Times Health

Johns Hopkins News Release

Doctor´s Guide

Doctor´s Guide

Johns Hopkins News Release

Johns Hopkins News Release


June 16th, 2009

April 30th, 2009

June 2nd, 2009

May 29th, 2009

May 20th, 2009


June 1st, 2009


Perinatal Outcomes in Nutritionally Monitored Obese Pregnant Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial

RA Title

Higher serum folate levels are associated with a lower risk of atopy and wheeze

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15 Prevalence, treatment, and associated disability of mental disorders in four provinces in China during 2001–05: an epidemiological survey

Contact With Beach Sand Among Beachgoers and Risk of Illness

Effect of Gastric Bypass Surgery on Kidney Stone Disease

Venom immunotherapy reduces large local reactions to insect stings

Interaction Between the Serotonin Transporter Gene (5HTTLPR), Stressful Life Events, and Risk of Depression

Mediterranean Diet, Alzheimer Disease, and Vascular Mediation

J Clin Endocrinol Metab

The Lancet

American Journal of Epidemiology

The Journal of Urology

J Allergy Clin Immunol Available online May 14, 2009


Archives of Neurology


94(7):2277– 2283 July 2009

Vol 8 (7): 635642July 2009

Vol. 170, No. 2:164–172. June 18th, 2009

Vol. 181, 2573-2577, June 2009

Vol.123, No. 6:1371-1375. June 2009

Vol 301, No. 23 June 17, 2009

June 16th , 2009


Study Defines Strategy to Protect Bones in Women, Girls With Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Improvements in Diagnosis, Treatment Linked to Reduced Risk of Death in Patients With Brain

Hazards: At the Beach, Watch Out for Dirty Sand, Too

ROUX-EN-Y Weight Loss Surgery Raises Kidney Stone Risk

Insect Venom Shots Work For Severe “Local” Sting Reactions, Too

Report on Gene for Depression Is Now Faulted

Mediterranean Diet Aids the Aging Brain: Study Eating plan seems to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment, dementia

Doctor´s Guide

Doctor´s Guide

New York Times Health

Johns Hopkins News Release

Johns Hopkins News Release

New York Times Health

Health Day News


June19th , 2009

June 3rd, 2009

July 21st, 2009

June 17th, 2009

June 29th, 2009

June 17th, 2009

February 2009


RA Title

Changes in case fatality of aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage over time, according to age, sex, and region: a meta-analysis








22 Bone Mineral Density in EstrogenDeficient Young Women

Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

POP Title

Use of fertility drugs and risk of ovarian cancer: Danish population based cohort study

A Pooled Analysis of the Effect of Condoms in Preventing HSV-2 Acquisition

Prevalence and Repair of Intraoperatively Diagnosed Patent Foramen Ovale and Association With Perioperative Outcomes and Long-term Survival

Rates of Serious Infection after Changes in Regimens for Medical Abortion

RA Title

Clin Cancer Res



Arch Intern Med.


New England Journal of Medicine


Vol, 15(14) 45614571 July 15, 2009

July 15th, 2009 302(3):298305

July 15th, 2009 2009;338;b249

Vol 169, No 13:1233-1240. July 13, 2009

Vol 302(3):290-297 July 2009

July 9th, 2009 Vol 361;2


Circulating Blood Cells Are Important Predictors of Cancer Spread in Children

Hormone Therapy Use Associated With Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Fertility Drugs and Ovarian Cancer Not Linked, Study Says

Condoms Associated With Moderate Protection Against Herpes Simplex Virus 2

Not Clear Benefit Seen for Incidentally Repairing Patent Foramen Ovale

Abortion Pill Study Suggests Way to Limit Infection

Doctor´s Guide

Doctor´s Guide

New York Times Health

Doctor´s Guide

Doctor´s Guide

New York Times Health


July 15th, 2009

July 15th, 2009

July 15th, 2009

July 15th, 2009

July 14th, 2009

July 9th, 2009


POP Title

Hormone Therapy and Ovarian Cancer

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28 High Levels of CirculatingVEGFR2+ Bone Marrow Derived Progenitor Cells Correlate with Metastatic Disease in Patients with Pediatric Solid Malignancies


Prenatal Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure and Child IQ at Age 5 Years

Positive and Negative Religious Coping and Well-Being in Women with Breast Cancer

Evolution and Survival on Eutherian Sex Chromosomes

Parenting stress and psychological functioning among mothers of preschool children with autism and developmental delay

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol Draft available on July 23rd, 2009

Pediatrics published online July 20, 2009

Pediatrics published online July 20, 2009

Journal of Palliative Medicine

Plos Genetics Published on line July



4: 1370-1373, August, 2009

Vol. 124. Nº 2, e180-e186 August 2009

Vol. 124. Nº 2,e195e202August

Vol 12, No 6:537-545 July 2009

Vol 5( 7): e1000568

Vol 13(4); 375-387. 2009


Fresh-Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients

Internet May Be Newest Venue for Teen Tobacco Exposure

Exposure to Common Pollutant in Womb Might Lower IQ

Spiritual Outlook Can Affect Mental Health in Breast Cancer

Male Sex Chromosome on Its Way Out: Study

Parents of Children With Autism Report High Stress Levels

HealthDay News

HealthDay News

HealthDay News

Health Day News

Health Day News

Health Day News


July 23rd, 2009

July 20th, 2009

July 20th, 2009

July 17th, 2009

July 17th, 2009

July 17th, 2009


RA Title

Exposure to Tobacco on the Internet: Content Analysis of Adolescents’ Internet Use







34 Phosphorus and Potassium Content of Enhanced Meat and Poultry Products: Implications for Patients Who Receive Dialysis

Isabel Herrando-Rodrigo

POP Title

Surgical Mask vs N95 Respirator for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Workers

Peginterferon Alfa-2b or Alfa-2a with Ribavirin for Treatment of Hepatitis C Infection

When to Start Antiretroviral Therapy in ResourceLimited Settings

Repeated measures of serum glucose and insulin in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer

JAMA Journal of American Medical Association

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

JAMA Journal of American Medical Association

N Engl J Med

Ann Intern Med.

Int. J. Cancer. Intern. Union Against Cancer online July 23rd, 2009 as a draft for the Medical School of the University of Sheffield


October 21st 2009

October 15th 2009

October 10th 2009

August 6th, 2009;361:580 -93

Vol.151, No 3:157-166. August 4,

Available on line in August. 2009 in press: Dec 1; 125(11): 2704-10


Influenza A(H1N1) Critical Illness Can Occur Rapidly; Predominantly in Young Patients

Smog Tougher on the Obese

Surgical Masks Non-Inferior to N95 Respirators for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Workers

Top Hepatitis C Treatments Equally Effective

Treatment For HIV In South Africa Would Be More Effective If Started Earlier

Einstein Scientists Link Elevated Insulin to Increased Breast Cancer Risk




Johns Hopkins News Release

Medical News Today

Science Daliy


October 21st , 2009

October 15th , 2009

October 10th, 2009

July 22nd, 2009

July 21st, 2009

July 9th, 2009


RA Title

Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter and Acute Effects on Blood Pressure: Effect Modification by Measures of Obesity and Location

Blurred Genres






40 Critically Ill Patients With 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Infection in Canada

POP Title



Comments in Academic Blogs as a New Form of Scholarly Interaction

1. Introduction In the era of Internet communication, it is necessary to understand and address the changes that computer-mediated communication (CMC) genres are bringing about in academic literacy practices (Hyland/ Hamp-Lyons 2002). A genre that is becoming increasingly popular among academics as a tool for personal publishing and discussion is the weblog, which suggests that academic weblogs are meeting specific communicative needs and filling a gap in the system of genres of scholarly communication. However, to date little research has been carried out on the discursive features and interpersonal strategies of academic blogs. In addition, most research on academic blogs has focused on the blogger’s discourse, without paying much attention to the interaction developing in comments (Luzón 2006; Stuart 2006). The aim of the research reported in this chapter is to study how the interpersonal strategies in blog comments compare to those used in other academic and CMC genres. For this purpose, I will analyze the interaction that takes place through comments, focusing on those features that act as markers of relational behaviour (i.e. both social and antisocial behaviour). The questions that I address in this chapter are: (i) what are the markers of relational behaviour in comments in academic blogs?; (ii) what is their incidence?; (iii) how do blogs compare with other academic genres in the type and incidence of markers of relational behaviour? The results will help us to better understand the nature of academic blog comments and to draw some preliminary conclusions about their place within the system of academic genres.


María José Luzón

2. Background 2.1. The blog as a hybrid form of communication Genres are dynamic rhetorical forms, which change to meet the communicative needs of the community that owns them (Berkenkotter/ Huckin 1995). Most genres on the Internet are a result of the reproduction and adaptation of existing communicative genres whose features of content, form and functionality are already familiar to the users (Yates/Orlikowsky 1992). Agre (1995) explains the development of online genres in relation to a community’s activities: they are designed or have evolved for specific communities and “fit into particular activities in the lives of that community’s members”. Two of the most remarkable features of digital genres are dynamism and hybridity: genres change and evolve to adapt to new uses and purposes and this mutability often involves their incorporating and combining elements from several other genres. As Kwasnik and Crowston (2005: 9) put it, “many technologies are converging – voice, image, text, databases, computing – creating opportunities for combining and recombining genres of many different kinds in inventive ways and for unexpected purposes”. One of the best examples of combining and repurposing of elements from other genres (both online genres and pre-digital antecedents) is the weblog (or blog). Miller and Shepherd (2004) described the blog as a hybrid genre combining features from three types of genres: (i) filtering genres used to collect and organize information; (ii) genres of political journalism, where commentary is highlighted (e.g. editorial, opinion column); (iii) the journal and the diary, along with the home page. Miller and Shepherd suggested that what makes this combination of features successful is the rhetorical motive of the genre, i.e. the validation of the self and the relation between selves. In this sense, they pointed out that the blog combines “the personal and the public in ways that are distinctive to the blog as a rhetorical form”. Herring et al. (2005) also considered the blog as a mixed genre that bridges the personal home page and interactive computer-mediated communication,

Comments in Academic Blogs


defining it as “a hybrid of existing genres rendered unique by the combination of features of the source genres they adapt, and by their distinctive technical affordances” (2005: 160). Although there is general agreement on the hybrid nature of blogs, the status of the blog as a genre is currently being challenged by several researchers. Already in 2005 Herring et al. predicted that “the purposes to which weblog software will be put and the conventions that will arise around them will become so diverse in the future that it will no longer be meaningful to speak of weblogs as a single genre” (2005: 167). Today there are many different types of blogs (e.g. journalism blogs, political blogs, academic blogs, personal blogs, classroom blogs), which share technical features and certain stylistic patterns, but vary in terms of subject matter, purpose and community (Puschmann 2011). For Myers (2010: 15), blogs are defined mainly by the uses to which they are put and by the interaction between these uses and the construction of social identities and communities. A notion used by several researchers (e.g. Miller/Shepherd 2009; Myers 2010) to explain the nature of blogs is that of ‘affordance’. Miller and Shepherd (2009) state that the blog is not a single genre but is constituted by a multiplicity of generic resources and they add that “the blog, it seems clear now, is a technology, a medium, a constellation of affordances – and not a genre” (2009: 283). Interestingly, they remark that when blogging technology appeared, it fitted “a particular exigence arising out of the late 1990s” (i.e. the validation of the self through mediation, through the self-expression and exhibitionism afforded by the media). They highlight the interaction between social action and technological affordances: “The migration and adaptation of established genres into the new Internet medium, as well as the emergence of native genres, suggests that affordances are not determining but rather they interact with the exigence, as objectified social need” (2009: 283). In the case of the blog, they consider that the medium affordances coaxed into being a latent social need that had not yet been met. That is, the affordances of the blog provided a fitting response to the latent exigence of validation of the self. Myers (2010) also points out that to find what is specific to the blog we have to look at the interaction of a complex technology which provides some affordances (making some things, such as linking or commenting, easy

María José Luzón


to do) and its use by the blogger for personal development and community creation. If we focus on academic blogs, their adoption by an increasing number of academics to engage in interaction with others may be due to the fact that, thanks to their technological affordances, they can respond better than other genres to specific rhetorical needs of disciplinary communities.

2.2. Comments in academic weblogs Academic weblogs are blogs about academic- and discipline-related topics written by persons with some expertise in an academic field. Most of them include different types of posts, reflecting different facets of the blogger’s public and private identity, e.g. disciplinerelated, political, personal posts (Davies/Merchant 2007). Although they share features with other types of blogs (i.e. features typical of the blog hypergenre1), they are also shaped to serve specific rhetorical needs of the academic community. Research on academic blogs (e.g. Mortensen/Walker 2002; Luzón 2006; Walker 2006; Davies/Merchant 2007) has revealed that they are used, among other purposes, to disseminate information, publicize the bloggers’ research, test ideas and share them with a broad audience, and collaborate and interact with other like-minded scholars, and thus establish and reinforce links within a virtual community. Blogs usually include different communication features, such as comments. These are readers’ responses to the blog entry or to another comment, which allow weblog participants to engage in a discussion which appears on a separate page from the blog’s main page. They are used by blog readers to provide feedback and evaluate the blog entry and to share views and discuss any point related to the post both with other readers and with the blogger (bloggers themselves very frequently answer back and provide further information through comments, thus taking part in the interaction). In blogs with commenting 1

Maingueneau (2010: 33-34) uses the term ‘hypergenre’ to refer to structures that are situated above genre: they frame a wide range of texts, imposing very poor constraints on the communicative situation, e.g. dialogue, letter, blog.

Comments in Academic Blogs


capabilities, comments offer connectivity after the post publication and thus play a key role in fulfilling some of the functions of academic blogs, namely, interaction and collaboration with others and the creation and support of communities (Dennen/Pashnyak 2008). To understand the discursive features of comments in academic blogs, it is necessary to take into account that they are a form of online scholarly communication. The timeliness of the weblog, its personal nature, and its medium-afforded attributes (e.g. openness, shorter communication time, highly social nature, lack of spatial, social, and temporal boundaries) distinguish the blog (and blog comments) from other academic genres. Participants in blog interactions construct their online identity and form online social relations and connections with others through their posts in this online space, and, therefore, relations of social power among them are defined in a different way from faceto-face communication. The unrestricted membership of most of these blogging communities, which invites interdisciplinary discussion (where even interested general public may take part), and the sense of anonymity minimize offline power/status differences.

3. Corpus and method 3.1. Corpus For the corpus of this study, I selected eleven academic blogs from different disciplines (see Appendix). The process of corpus selection consisted in several steps. I first established the criteria that the blogs in the corpus should meet: (i) they should be ‘research blogs’ (Walker 2006), i.e. used to record and share research and ideas; (ii) there should be no more than two blogs related to a single discipline; (iii) they should be active at the moment of analysis (i.e. frequently updated) and used for interaction among scholars. In order to select a representative list of blogs meeting these criteria I first tracked academic blogs with the help of two academic weblog directories:


María José Luzón () and The Academic Blog Portal (). I created an initial sample of 57 weblogs that met criteria (i) and (iii) above. From this sample, eleven blogs were randomly selected, paying attention to criterion (ii) and thus not including a blog if there were already two blogs from that discipline. From each selected weblog I analyzed comments to 15 postings, beginning with the postings from October 1st 2008, backwards. Since the blogs differed greatly in the number of comments that postings received, in order to make all the blogs in the corpus more similar in the number of comments analyzed and to facilitate analysis, when there were more than ten comments to a posting, only the first ten were included in the corpus. Seven hundred and fifty-three messages were examined, totalling 98,024 words.

3.2. Analytical framework In order to examine social interaction through comments in academic blogs, I analyzed the corpus looking for indicators both of social presence and of rude or verbally offensive behaviour. Social presence is the feeling of the other participants’ immediacy and involvement in the communicative interaction. Short, Williams, and Christie (1976: 65), who first introduced the term ‘social presence’, defined it as “the salience of the other in a mediated communication and the consequent salience of their interpersonal interactions”. Social presence is a useful concept to consider when analyzing positive relational behaviour in any type of CMC. However, in order to analyze indicators of antisocial behaviour, I also drew on concepts related to the idea of rudeness (i.e. flaming and competitive impoliteness). The concept of impoliteness was proposed by Culpeper (1996) to account for the cases in which the speaker does not attempt to support the other’s face but to be explicitly impolite. Most studies of social presence in CMC have used content analysis and have adopted the analytical template developed by Rourke et al. (1999) to analyze social presence in online discussions. Rourke et al. (1999) identified twelve indicators of social presence be-

Comments in Academic Blogs


longing to three categories: affective indicators, interactive indicators, and indicators of cohesiveness and group commitment. The data in this study were analyzed on a coding scheme based on Rourke et al.’s (1999) categories and further research on social presence in CMC (e.g. Swan 2002), but also on research on interpersonal interaction, especially in academic discourse (e.g. Hyland 2000, 2008), uninhibited behaviour and impoliteness (e.g. Wang/Hong 1995; Culpeper 1996), and on indicators emerging from the data. Following previous research, three categories of indicators of social presence were identified: affective indicators (i.e. personal expressions of emotion, feelings and mood), cohesive indicators (i.e. verbal behaviours that convey a sense of group commitment), and interactive indicators (i.e. indicators providing evidence that the other is attending to the interaction and willing to contribute). The different types of indicators of social presence that were coded for are presented in Table 1 in the following section. In order to account for rude/antisocial behaviour in blogs I devised a template similar to that of social presence, including three types of indicators: indicators of negative socioemotional behaviour (i.e. personal expressions of negative emotions or feelings which project conflict), indicators of group exclusion (i.e. expressions of relational dominance and refusal to consider the other as a valid member of the community), and indicators of confrontational interaction (i.e. interaction intended to seek confrontation). The different types of indicators of antisocial behaviour that were coded for are presented in Table 2 in the following section.

4. Results In the comments analyzed I found a total of 2,074 indicators of social presence (483 affective, 418 cohesive and 1,173 interactive), with an average of 2.75 indicators per comment. The number of indicators of antisocial behaviour was much lower, with a total of 141 (34 affective,


María José Luzón

30 cohesive and 77 interactive), and an average of almost 0.19 indicators per posting. Previous research has revealed great differences in the incidence of indicators of social presence and antisocial behaviour across weblogs (Luzón 2011). For instance, some blogs display a much higher incidence of some types of social indicators than others. In addition, while in some blogs there is a relatively high frequency of indicators of antisocial behaviour, in other blogs no or very few occurrences of such indicators were found. However, the purpose of this chapter is not to explore variability across academic blogs, but to focus on the strategies used in weblog comments.

4.1. Indicators of social behaviour In order to provide a clearer view of the incidence of the different types of indicators of social and antisocial behaviour in blog comments, the results were normalized. I considered that more reliable results would be achieved if data were normalized by the number of messages rather than the number of words, since many indicators were counted only once in a message no matter the length of the message (e.g. answering questions, replying to a correction). Table 1 shows the raw frequencies and the normalized frequencies of indicators of social behaviour in the corpus. Indicators of affectivity and cohesiveness were frequent in all weblogs, with an incidence of 64 (0.64 per message) and 56 (0.56 per message) respectively. Interactivity markers were even more frequent (156/1.56 per message). Myers (2010: 77-94) points out that devices that signal engagement (e.g. named addressee, pronouns, directives, questions) are used by bloggers to create ‘an audience-in-the-text’ and provide the impression of an informal and friendly relationship with a group of people who share the blogger’s interests and view. As the research reported here shows, not only bloggers but also commenters use social indicators that contribute to conveying the impression of intimacy and solidarity.

Comments in Academic Blogs

AFFECTIVE INDICATORS Paralanguage Expressions of oral discourse Verbal expression of emotion Humour Self-disclosure Total affective COHESIVE INDICATORS Vocatives Inclusive pronouns Social sharing Appeal to shared knowledge Total cohesive INTERACTIVE INDICATORS Acknowledgement Approval Agree/disagree Collaboration Request/invitation Suggestion/advice Total interactive Total social events

289 Raw frequency

Frequency per 100 messages

126 73 154 63 67 483

16.7 9.7 20.4 8.3 8.9 64

187 43 87 101 418

24.8 5.7 11.6 13.9 56

93 185 200 444 177 74 1,173 2,074

12.4 24.6 26.6 59 23.5 9.9 156 276

Table 1. Frequency of indicators of social behaviour.

Participants in the weblogs examined adopt the electronic paralanguage2 used in other CMC genres to express socioemotional information. This includes acronyms (e.g. IMHO, LOL, HTH), emoticons (e.g. ;-(, -), capitalization, manipulation of grammatical markers and multiple vowels to represent intonation (‘sooooo interesting!!!!’), parenthetical metalinguistic cues (e.g. ‘hmmmmm’, ‘woo-hoo!’ ‘eh?’). Writers of comments also resort to the use of slang or informal expressions of oral discourse to convey the sense of immediacy (e.g. ‘Dang’, ‘You know what?’). As for humour, it is frequent in other types of blogs (Paganoni 2008), but also in academic spoken genres like conference presentations 2

Non-verbal cues in electronic discourse which provide enhanced or new meanings to the message.


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(Frobert-Adamo 2002; Swales 2004; Wulff et al. 2009). In the corpus of academic blog comments, humour is often an answer to a previous humorous post by the blogger: the commenter contributes to strengthening group relationships by adding to the playful/mocking mood of the interaction. This is illustrated in example (1), where the blogger pretends that it is his dog that writes the post and the commenter addresses the dog and praises the quality of its review. (1)

A. Fragment of blogger’s post: Inspired by Jonathon Sullivan, I decided to invite my dog, Juno, to write this occasional contribution. Here Juno writes a review of Donna Haraway’s When Species Meet.(…) (the dog’s writing) I was very happy when my owner decided that we should review this book. (SM) B. Comment: Juno, I really enjoyed this. I see a future for you as at least a teaching assistant or perhaps a journal editor.

Self-disclosure is very frequent in blogs, especially personal blogs (Huffaker/Calvert 2005), but it also occurs when academics engage in informal talk. Participants in academic blogs provide information about activities related to their academic life but also about aspects of their personal life (e.g. ‘I'm trying to write one of these non-traditional science papers at the moment’, ‘I'm expecting to have an interesting time as a volunteer at the science fair at my daughter's school this year’). As for the cohesive indicators found in comments in academic blogs, some of them also occur in research papers to express engagement, e.g. inclusive pronouns, appeals to shared knowledge (Hyland 2008) (e.g. ‘keep in mind that’, ‘it is well known that’). Other cohesive features, like phatics (e.g. congratulations on personal issues or remarks about trivial matters) or vocatives (i.e. named addressee, such as personal names, nicknames, pseudonyms), are absent in academic writing but present in contingent informal talk, such as coffee break talk. Beginning the comment with a named addressee (e.g. ‘Zora, that was convincing’) does not only contribute to intimacy, but also helps the commenter to identify the participant in the discussion to whom he/she is responding (Myers 2010: 79). Blog commenters use several devices to convey the sense of involvement in the interaction. The indicators of interactivity found in academic blog comments are very similar to those occurring in

Comments in Academic Blogs


discussion sessions of conference presentations (Wulff et al. 2009). In comments there is a high incidence of indicators of acknowledgement, approval and agreement (e.g. ‘Interesting study’, ‘Good point’, ‘I absolutely agree’, ‘same here’), similar to the positive evaluation of participants in discussions. Other patterns that discussion sessions share with comments are negative evaluation / initializing criticism (disagreement indicator in comments) (e.g. 2), asking and answering questions and making suggestions (collaboration indicator in comments) (e.g. 3): (2)

Ray, I don’t think your definition of optimum climate will work (RC)


Is it possible that glaciers can enlarge their exits to the ocean through erosion? (RC)

There are also some interactive indicators that reveal that comments are sometimes used with a supporting function, e.g. giving advice, offering help. The following example is a response to several comments asking for an improved version of a screencast: (4)

Let’s try this: a PDF of the changes. Hope that helps (DC).

Providing support is a feature shared with other forms of CMC: Baym (2006) reports on research that shows that, although not all online groups are designed to be explicitly supportive, most of them provide social, expert or informational support and a sense of belonging to a group of people. The structure of interaction is in many ways similar to other interactive academic genres where there is a presenter whose contribution triggers the audience’s comments (e.g. discussion sessions in conference presentations or academic seminars) (Basturkmen 1995; Wulff et al. 2009). Members of the audience signal their engagement in discussion by contributing further to the issue introduced in the post/presentation, i.e. making suggestions, asking questions (which are answered back by the blogger/presenter or another participant) (e.g 3 above), adding further information, providing references and links (e.g. 5), replying to a correction.

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292 (5)

You might also be interested in a take on OA issues from anthropologists–take a look at the recent article and comment press cite for Anthropology in/of Circulation (link) (SM)

4.2. Indicators of antisocial behaviour Table 2 shows the raw and normalized frequency of indicators of antisocial communicative behaviour found in the corpus. Raw frequency SOCIOEMOTIONAL BEHAVIOUR Paralanguage 6 Verbal expression of emotion 5 Humour, sarcasm 23 Total socioemotional 34 GROUP EXCLUSION Personal attacks 19 Disassociation 11 Total group exclusion 30 CONFRONTATIONAL INTERACTION Argument criticism 35 Quoting and referring 23 Disagreeing/correcting 19 Total confrontational 77 Total antisocial events 141

Frequency per 100 messages 0.8 0.7 3 4.5 2.5 1.5 4 4.6 3 2.5 10.1 18.6

Table 2. Frequency of indicators of antisocial behaviour.

There are only 141 occurrences of antisocial indicators, compared with 2,074 instances of social presence indicators. It should be pointed out that I have only counted here those cases of explicitly confrontational communicative behaviour, without including mild or subtle forms of expressing criticism or disagreement. Previous research shows that confrontational behaviour is rare in blog entries, but not unusual in comments (Luzón 2011), which is where discussion develops. However, there is a great variation in their incidence, with no occurrences of antisocial indicators in four out of the eleven blogs.

Comments in Academic Blogs


Paralanguage, the verbal expression of emotions and humour (in the form of sarcasm, irony) are used in other genres of CMC as indicators of negative socio-emotional behaviour (Giese 1998; Wolf 2000) (e.g. ‘SHUT UP!!!!’, ‘WHO THE HELL is going to throw THAT away???’). Sarcastic and ironical comments, the most common indicator of negative socio-emotional behaviour in the corpus (e.g. ‘You don't have to be Einstein to understand that’), also occur in academic genres like medical editorials, where authors “express their criticisms in a direct, authoritarian, highly personal and frequently ironic, condescending and/or sarcastic tone” (Salager-Meyer 2001: 83). In the corpus there are a few instances of personal attacks, derogatory nominations and blatant insults towards people who hold different views on an issue (e.g. ‘You guys are batshit crazy!’, ‘You are an idiot’). Personal attacks are also found in some academic written genres (e.g. editorials, conflict papers) (Salager-Meyer 2001; Hunston 2005), although without reaching such a high degree of impoliteness. This blatant rudeness seems to be related to the affordances of the medium, with flaming occurring in other CMC genres. Another act frequently performed in the weblog comments analyzed is criticizing or ridiculing another participant’s ideas, arguments, beliefs, etc. (e.g. ‘Your assumption is naïve’ ‘This claim is laughable’, ‘This is a very feeble argument’, ‘You are raising side issues that are irrelevant’), or the research/ideas of somebody not participating in the discussion (‘The study has some flaws’, ‘Totally rigged study’). As in the conflict paper (Hunston 2005), criticizing another author serves the purpose of construing conflict, but also consensus between the writer and the readers who share his/her views.

5. Discussion This study has shown that commenters in academic weblogs adopt discursive strategies from other academic genres and from other forms


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of CMC. Comments in academic blogs combine features from different types of genres (which in turn share some features): (i) Other forms of computer-mediated discussions. The medium imposes some constraints, but also introduces distinct affordances that influence how people engage in interaction in online environments. Comments in blogs share strategies to express immediacy and involvement with other online discussions, e.g. the use of paralanguage to convey socio-emotional content in the absence of visual cues, social humour, self-disclosure, supportive interaction. They also share strategies for antisocial behaviour, such as sarcasm, blunt criticism and flaming. (ii) Informal genres of academic oral discourse, e.g. coffee talks, hallway interactions. Informality is a feature typical of many CMC genres, but also of many academic interactions in informal contexts which contribute to the dissemination of science. Comments in academic blogs borrow some features from the contingent repertoire to which academics resort when they engage in informal talk (Gilbert/ Mulkay 1984), e.g. phatics, informal oral expressions, verbal expression of emotions, self-disclosure. While empiricist repertoires are “objective, carefully modulated and depersonalized accounts” (Wulff et al. 2009: 89), where claims are presented as deriving from data (e.g. the research paper), contingent repertoires are more informal and personal accounts of research which describe scientists’ actions as if resulting from individuals’ intuitions, interests and social networks (Gilbert/Mulkay 1984). Commenters in academic blogs resort to the contingent repertoire to reflect the immediacy, spontaneity and informality of spoken informal discourse. In some cases there are shifts between oral and written registers, both within a single comment, and across comments (e.g. a commenter uses slang oral expressions, and the following writer provides a more formal academic contribution or answer to a question). (iii) Interactive academic genres in more formal contexts, e.g. discussion sessions in conferences or academic seminars. The analysis of interaction in these genres has revealed the use of strategies intended to maintain relationships and indicate interpersonal support (e.g. Wulff et al. 2009), many of them similar to those found in academic blog comments (e.g. expressions of interests, approval, agreement,

Comments in Academic Blogs


mild disagreement). These strategies reveal that academics engage in these genres not only to exchange information, but also (and maybe primarily) for interpersonal purposes. (iv) Academic evaluative genres, both those where positive and negative evaluation may be provided (e.g. reviews, referee reports) and those where negative evaluation and criticism is more frequent (e.g. editorials, conflict papers). The relatively high incidence of markers of antisocial behaviour in comments in academic blogs sheds light on the similarities and differences with other forms of academic discourse. Although mild disagreement is a typical feature of spoken academic interactive discourse, indicators of antisocial behaviour are rare in this discourse (Mauranen 2002; Swales 2004; Wulff et al. 2009). However, criticism and conflict are rhetorical strategies used to enact power relations in several academic genres in various disciplines, e.g. editorials in medical discourse (Salager-Meyer 2001), ‘agonistic articles’, i.e. articles which make explicit negative references to the members of the discourse community (Tannen 2002; Badger 2006), ‘conflict articles’ in linguistics (Hunston 2005), or departmental colloquia in communication studies (Tracy 1997). Blunt criticism or insults also occur in academic mailing lists, which display similar types of antisocial behaviour indicators as those found in academic blogs (Wang/Hong 1995). As in these genres, the use of indicators of antisocial behaviour helps commenters in academic blogs to sound more convincing and confident and to show their allegiance to a particular group by construing conflict with those who support rival theories/ ideas.

6. Conclusions This study has shown that comments in academic blogs are a hybrid form of academic communication which combines features from a variety of oral and written academic genres and from other CMC genres, adapting them for new social practices. Participants in interactions in blog comments use discursive strategies aimed at constructing and


María José Luzón

sustaining affective and solidarity relations in the community but also strategies intended to construe confrontation and conflict. They are forums for discussion and relationship construction which borrow interpersonal strategies from face-to-face academic discussions. However, the technology-afforded features of weblogs (e.g. written medium, potential anonymity) also allow for the use of antisocial features more typical of some written genres in various disciplines. And it is this distinct combination of features that distinguishes comments in academic blogs from other academic genres: they are social spaces which support informal, highly personal, rapid sharing of ideas with scholars (and interested public) anywhere, and which allow both for collegial and conflictual tones.

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Davies, Julia / Merchant, Guy. 2007. Looking from the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy. In Lankshear, Colin / Knobel, Michele (eds) A New Literacies Sampler. New York: Peter Lang, 167-198. Dennen, Vanessa / Pashnyak, Tatyana. 2008. Finding Community in the Comments: The Role of Reader and Blogger Responses in a Weblog Community of Practice. International Journal of Web Based Communities 4/3, 272 -283. Frobert-Adamo, Monique 2002. Humour in Oral Presentations: What’s the Joke? In Ventola, Eija / Shalom, Celia / Thompson, S. (eds) The Language of Conferencing. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 211-225. Giese Mark 1998. Self Without Body: Textual Self-representation in an Electronic Community. First Monday: A Peer Reviewed Journal on the Internet 3/4: n.p., April. URL: . Gilbert, G. Nigel / Mulkay, Michael 1984. Opening Pandora's Box: A Sociological Analysis of Scientists Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Herring, Susan / Scheidt, Lois A. / Wright, Elijah / Bonus, Sabrina 2005. Weblogs as a Bridging Genre. Information Technology & People 18/2, 142-171. Huffaker, David / Calvert Sandra. 2005. Gender, Identity and Language Use in Teenage Blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10/2. URL: . Hunston, Susan 2005. Conflict and Consensus. Constructing Opposition in Applied Linguistics. In Tognini-Bonelli, Elena / Del Lungo Camiciotti, Gabriella (eds) Strategies in Academic Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1-16. Hyland Ken 2000. Disciplinary Discourses: Social Interactions in Academic Writing. Harlow: Pearson. Hyland, Ken. 2008. Persuasion, Interaction and the Construction of Knowledge: Representing Self and Others in Research Writing. International Journal of English Studies 8/2, 8-18. Hyland, Ken / Hamp-Lyons, Liz 2002. EAP: Issues and Directions. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 1, 1-12.


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Kwasnik, Barbara H. / Crowston Kevin 2005. Introduction to the special issue: Genres of Digital Documents. Information, Technology & People 18/2, 76–88. Luzón, María José 2006. Research Group-blogs: Sites for Self-Presentation and Collaboration. In Neumann, Claus-Peter / Pló, Ramón / Pérez-Llantada, Carmen (eds) Proceedings of the 5th International AELFE Conference. Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias, 629-634. Luzón, María José 2011. ‘Interesting Post, But I Disagree’: Social Presence and Antisocial Behaviour in Academic Weblogs. Applied Linguistics. . Maingueneau. Dominique. 2010. Types of Genres, Hypergenre and Internet. In Luzón, María José / Ruiz-Madrid, Noelia / Villanueva, Mª Luisa (eds) Digital Genres, New Literacies and Autonomy in Language Learning. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 25-42. Mauranen, Anne 2002. ‘A good question’. Expressing Evaluation in Academic Speech. In Cortese, Giuseppina / Riley, Philip (eds) Domain-Specific English. Textual Practices across Communities and Classrooms. Bern: Peter Lang, 115-140. Miller, Carolyn R. / Shepherd, Dawn 2004. Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog. Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. University of Minnesota. . Miller, Carolyn R. / Shepherd, Dawn 2009. Questions for Genre Theory from the Blogosphere. In Giltrow, Janet / Stein, Dieter (eds) Genres in the Internet: Issues in the Theory of Genre. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 263-290. Mortensen, Torill / Walker, Jill 2002. Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool. In Morrison, Andrew (ed.) Researching ICTs in Context. Oslo: InterMedia Report, 249-279. Myers, Greg 2010. The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis. London: Continuum. Paganoni, Maria Cristina. 2008. Political Humour in the Blogosphere. Textus 21/1: 79-95.

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Puschmann, Cornelius 2011, in press. Blogging. In Herring, Susan / Stein, Dieter / Virtanen, Tuija (eds) The Handbook of the Pragmatics of CMC. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. Rourke, Liam / Anderson, Terry / Garrison, D. Randy / Archer, Walter 1999. Assessing Social Presence in Asynchronous, Text-based Computer Conferencing. Journal of Distance Education 14/3, 51-70. Salager-Meyer, Françoise 2001. From Self-highlightedness to Selfeffacement: A Genre Based Study of the Socio-pragmatic Function of Criticism in Medical Discourse. LSP and Professional Communication 1/2, 63-84. Short, John / Williams, Ederyn / Christie, Bruce 1976. The Psychology of Telecommunication. London: Wiley. Stuart, Keith 2006. Towards an Analysis of Academic Weblogs. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses 19, 387-404. Swales, John 2004. Research Genres: Explorations and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press. Swan, Karen 2002. Immediacy, Social Presence, and Asynchronous Discussion. In Bourne, John / Moore, Janet (eds) Elements of Quality Online Education, Volume 3. Needham, MA: Sloan Center for Online Education, 157-172. Tannen, Deborah 2002. Agonism in Academic Discourse. Journal of Pragmatics 34, 1651-1669. Tracy, Karen 1997. Colloquium: Dilemmas of Academic Discourse. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Walker, Jill 2006. Blogging from Inside the Ivory Tower. In Bruns, Axel / Jacobs, Joanne (eds) Uses of Blogs. New York: Peter Lang, 127-138. Wang, Hongjie / Hong, Yan 1995. Flaming: More than a Necessary Evil for Academic Mailing Lists. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 385 261. Wolf, Alecia 2000. Emotional Expression Online: Gender Differences in Emotion Use. CyberPsychology and Behavior 3/5, 827-833.


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Wulff, Stepfanie / Swales, John / Keller, Kristen 2009. ‘We have about seven minutes for questions’: The Discussion Sessions from a Specialized Conference. English for Specific Purposes 28/2, 79-92. Yates, Joanne / Orlikowski, Wanda 1992. Genres of Organizational Communication: A Structurational Approach to Studying Communication and Media. Academy of Management Review 17/2, 299-326.

Appendix Blogs from which postings to make up the corpus have been taken Aetiology (): An Epidemiology Blog. (AE) Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog () (DC). Dienekes: Anthropology Blog () (DAB). Freedom to Tinker (): A Blog on Computer Science (FTT). Marginal Revolution (): An Economy Blog (MR). Statistical, Modelling, Causal Inference and Social Science () (SM). Real Climate () (RC). Framing Science () (FS). Unlocked Wordhoard (): A Blog on Medieval Literature (UW). Musicology (). (MUS) Savage Minds (): An Anthropology Blog (SM).


Cross-cultural Differences in the Construal of Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses

1. Introduction Academic discourse is now generally seen as a purposeful interaction in which writers strive to construct a coherent and credible representation of themselves and their research and to build up a relationship with their readers and the whole disciplinary discourse community by creating a dialogic space for negotiation and evaluation of their views. However, the rhetorical strategies and linguistic devices used to build persuasive argumentation differ across disciplines, genres, languages and cultures. Thus with the widespread use of English as the lingua franca of the global academic world, increasingly more non-native speakers are faced with the demanding tasks of presenting their views and interacting with their readers using a foreign language and accommodating themselves to different epistemological and literacy conventions. As a result, there is a growing interest in the study of cross-cultural variation in structural and functional characteristics of academic genres, the aim of which is to explain reasons for differences in academic discourse conventions and to consider their influence on existing international academic norms. Yet although there is now a rapidly expanding body of research in cross-cultural analysis of high-profile academic genres such as the research article (e.g. Mur-DueĖas 2008; Bondi 2009; Abdollahzadeh 2011), much less attention has been paid to the typically unpublished master’s degree thesis – “the most sustained and complex piece of academic writing” (Swales 2004: 99) all master’s students undertake. Drawing on recent research on the organization of master’s theses (Paltridge 2002; Paltridge/Starfield 2007) and on studies in the use of

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personal and impersonal structures for establishing authorial presence in research articles and novice non-native speaker’s discourse (e.g. Kuo 1999; Tang/John 1999; Hewings/ Hewings 2002; Hyland 2002a), this chapter examines cross-cultural variation in the construal of authorial voice in relation to the generic structure of theses written by Czech and German students of English. The main purpose of this investigation1 is to analyse how novice non-native speakers use pronominal self-reference items and impersonal it-constructions to present findings and negotiate claims, while taking into consideration first, the constraints imposed by the master’s thesis as a genre, second, interference from the L1 academic-writing standard and third, instructions received from academic writing style manuals, supervisors and teachers of academic writing.

2. Authorial voice and writer visibility Pertaining to the interactional dimension of academic discourse, authorial voice (i.e. the expression of attitudes, judgments and opinions of the writer in relation to his/her arguments, community, and readership) projects the author into the discourse and reflects his/her engagement in a negotiation of meaning with readers as members of a particular discourse community. In constructing an authorial voice, academic writers, while trying to persuade the audience of the credibility of their claims and the validity of their research, may opt for different degrees of authoritativeness and visibility. The choices authors make depend on the interplay of several factors comprising the social and cultural background of the author, the epistemological and literacy tradition he/she has experienced, the knowledge of genre conventions and the extent to which the author is prepared to claim authority as the


This study is part of the grant project 405/08/0866 Coherence and Cohesion in English Discourse, which is supported by the Czech Science Foundation.

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


source of the knowledge and position expressed in the text.2 The rhetorical and linguistic choices which writers have at their disposal to construct an authorial voice have been studied within different frameworks, such as metadiscourse (Hyland 2002b, 2005), evaluation (Hunston/Thompson 1999), appraisal (Martin/White 2005), and stance (Biber et al. 1999). However, they can generally be seen as performing two major functions: (1) stance, conveyed by the marked or disguised involvement of the author in the argument, and (2) engagement, related to the alignment of the writer with the readers, who may be included as participants in the discourse and guided towards intended interpretations (Hyland 2005). One of the important issues which emerge when considering the conventions of different academic genres is the choice between impersonality and personality in projecting the writer into his/her discourse. Despite the persistence in academic English of the so-called scientific paradigm, which is related to “clarity, economy, rational argument supported by evidence, caution and restraint” (Benett 2009: 52) and the avoidance of explicit reference to human agency (Hyland 2001), Benett’s (2009) survey of academic style manuals indicates the existence of some disagreement about the use of personal or impersonal forms. This is also evidenced by the current practice in published academic articles where “contrary to advice given in some style guides to maintain an objective, impersonal style, the pronoun system is exploited by writers of RAs [research articles] for maintaining the writer-reader relationship and allowing the writer an authorial voice” (L. Flowerdew, forthcoming). As recent research has convincingly shown, personal structures in academic discourse can function as powerful means for showing the author’s attitude to disciplinary practices and disciplinary knowledge (Ivaniþ 1998; Hyland 2005), highlighting key problems, emphasizing the author’s contribution to the field (filling a gap) and seeking agreement for it (Kuo 1999), and organizing the text for the reader (Harwood 2005). It is therefore important to consider the rhetorical motivations for the choice made between personal and impersonal constructions in different academic genres. 2

Cf. Ivaniþ’s (1998) aspects of author identity interacting in academic discourse: the autobiographical self, the discoursal self and the authorial self.


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The personality/impersonality divide in academic discourse may be seen as a reflection of a cline of writer visibility (Gosden 1993: 63), from the more interactional personal forms to the more topic-based impersonal forms: x inclusive/exclusive personal pronouns – I think, we can see x it-clauses – it may be concluded that, it is important to x discourse entity/event/process – this paper/conclusion reveals x research process/event – (my) hypothesis, comparison shows x real world act expressed by formal subject – it was found x real world event/act – communication/discourse is seen as. Since author reference devices typically occur in thematic position in the clause, they identify the writer as the source of knowledge, opinion or attitudes expressed and enable him to control the interaction with the reader and the academic discourse community (cf. Gosden 1993; Hyland 2005). Thus thematic author reference structures can be regarded as pragmatic frames for the interpretation of the new information to follow. In addition, author reference structures contributing to the construction of author identities in academic discourse may develop genre-specific functions. Thus in the introduction sections of research articles, author reference is typically used for the signalling of transitions between moves in the generic structure and for the highlighting of writer involvement and contribution to the knowledge of the discourse community (Gosden 1993: 57-58). While the functions of first person pronouns in research articles and master’s theses have been explored in several studies (e.g. Tang/ John 1999; Hyland 2002a, 2002b), impersonal structures for author reference seem to have attracted considerably less attention. However, impersonal structures, in particular it-clauses, can be used to “both express opinion and to comment on and evaluate propositions in a way that allows writers to remain in the background” (Hewings/ Hewings 2002: 368). It is therefore possible to claim that it-clauses can perform similar functions to the ones expressed by personal pronouns in academic discourse. The choice of the personal or the impersonal construction can then be seen as modulating the degree of author visibility (i.e. creating the impression of subjectivity and involvement in the case of personal forms and of objectivity and distancing in the

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


case of impersonal ones) without affecting the rhetorical potential of the text to convey opinion and evaluation. The functional taxonomy used in this investigation draws on Tang/John (1999), Hewings/Hewings (2002) and Harwood (2005) and considers five major roles of the author which can be expressed by personal and impersonal structures: 1) The author as Representative is positioned as a member of a larger community a) describing disciplinary knowledge/practices – nowadays we consider English as the lingua franca of the academic world, it is generally acknowledged that; b) seeking reader involvement – here we have a perfect example of, it is obvious that. 2) The author as Discourse-organiser guides the reader through the text by a) outlining the discourse structure at the macro-level of the whole text – in this article I briefly explore, it can be concluded; b) indicating intra-textual connections and transition points at the micro-level of rhetorical moves and thematic segments – let us now turn to the issue of, as has been pointed out earlier. 3) The author as Recounter of the research process comments on the collection of data and research procedures used – we have collected the data, it is convenient to divide the participants into two groups. 4) The author as Opinion-holder assumes a higher degree of authority as this is associated with expressing attitudes and elaborating arguments – I think that the best way of conceptualizing coherence is, it is unacceptable to consider. 5) The author as Originator is the most authoritative and facethreatening role as it is related to putting forward claims and commenting on findings – I have provided evidence for, it is argued that. These roles of the author are seen as reflecting a continuum from the lowest degree of authority, associated with expressing community views and discourse-organizing functions, to the most powerful authorial presence, which is related to conveying opinions and claims.


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Comparative analysis of the use of personal pronoun structures and impersonal it-constructions in different genres of academic discourse may reveal which author roles are most typically expressed by personal and impersonal structures and how this affects author visibility and the persuasive force of academic argumentation. In an investigation of the discourse of novice non-native speakers, it is important to consider both the extent to which novice writers use the potential of personal pronouns and it-structures to create a coherent authorial voice and the motivation for their choices. As previous research has shown, non-native students tend to “either underuse writer pronouns or use them unadventurously, referring to their texts rather than their ideas” (Hyland 2002b: 353); this seems to reflect their reluctance to assume the responsibility of a clear commitment to opinions and claims. Additional factors affecting the choices of nonnative speaker authors may be the influence of the L1 academic writing tradition and a lack of awareness of academic genre conventions. This study will explore cross-cultural variation in the construal of authorial voice by comparing the frequency of use and the functional specialization of personal pronoun structures and impersonal itconstructions in the genre of the master’s thesis as written by Czech and German novice writers.

3. Cross-cultural differences in the construal of authorial voice The construal of authorial voice is considered to be one of the aspects of academic discourse marked by most prominent cross-cultural variation. The build-up of consistent authorial presence is particularly challenging for novice non-native speakers who are socializing in a new public role within a new discourse community. As indicated by previous research (cf. Ivaniþ 1998; LeCourt 2004), they may experience identity instability owing to variation in the existing discourse conventions and a reluctance to take on the identity of a member of the target community, i.e. “the identity of a person with authority” (Ivaniþ 1998:

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


88). Therefore, before proceeding to an analysis of personal and impersonal devices used for the construal of authorial voice in Czech and German diploma theses, it is necessary to consider the existing variation between the Anglo-American and Central European academic discourse traditions, and between Czech and German academic writing conventions. As previous research into cross-cultural variation in academic discourse (e.g. Clyne 1987; Mauranen 1993; ýmejrková/Daneš 1997; Duszak 1997; Kreutz/Harres 1997, Chamonikolasová 2005; Povolná 2010) has shown, the Anglo-American and Central European academic discourses differ considerably in the way they approach writerreader interaction (Table 1). Anglo-American academic writing x competitive large discourse communities x interactive, dialogic x negotiation of meaning x reader-oriented x marked authorial presence x strict discourse norms x explicit discourse organization

Central European academic writing x small discourse communities avoiding tension x low-interactive, monologic x conceptual and terminological clarity x writer-oriented x backgrounded authorial presence x absence of strict discourse norms x low on explicit discourse organization

Table 1. The Central European vs. the Anglo-American academic writing tradition.

Some of the differences between the two traditions of academic literacy seem to stem from the size and the level of heterogeneity of the respective discourse communities (Mauranen 1993) and their impact on solidarity and power relations among their members (ýmejrková/ Daneš 1997). Thus while the Anglo-American academic discourse community is large and linguistically/culturally heterogeneous, the discourse communities comprised within the Central European academic literacy, such as the Czech and the German, are considerably smaller and much more homogeneous. As a result, the patterns of interaction in the small Central European communities tend to be marked by symbiosis and avoidance of tension. This is motivated by the fact that their members share a considerable amount of common knowledge and methodological principles which allow them to opt for


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rather monologic, more implicit and less structured texts, while leaving the responsibility for understanding the text to the reader. Focused primarily on conceptual and terminological clarity rather than persuasion and discourse organization, Central European academic writing shows a marked preference for a low level of interactiveness and backgrounded authorial presence, which concurs with the use of impersonal structures, and, in the case of personal structures, with the use of first person plural forms (Chamonikolasová 2005: 82). In contrast, when addressing their heterogeneous and depersonalized readership, members of the English-speaking academic discourse community have to compete for research space in a territory densely packed with occupied ‘niches’ (Duszak 1997). Typically they invest a greater persuasive effort and adopt a more reader-friendly attitude associated with a higher level of dialogicity and explicit discourse organization, as it is the writer who takes responsibility for making the text intelligible. It is therefore not surprising that the Anglo-American academic writing tradition is associated with a marked authorial presence that helps writers to negotiate their claims and debate their views with the implied audience, while guiding the reader through the text by using signals indicating intratextual connections and logical relations holding in the discourse. The construal of authorial voice in Anglo-American academic discourse is thus characterized by a higher degree of authoritativeness and writer visibility conveyed by personal and impersonal attitudinal markers modifying the force of the argument and appealing to the reader in seeking agreement with the viewpoint advanced by the author. As ýmejrková and Daneš (1997: 57) point out, it is precisely these features that seem to make the present-day AngloAmerican norm of academic writing particularly suitable for the purposes of cross-cultural communication within the international discourse community, in which the writer cannot assume a high degree of shared knowledge, experience and discourse conventions. Since Czech and German academic discourse conventions are historically related (Clyne 1987) and rooted in the same Central European literacy tradition, they are expected to share more similarities than differences. However, previous studies have evidenced some variation concerning the construal of authorial voice and adaptability to foreign influences. Thus German academic discourse, considered to be

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


oriented towards the establishing of authority through presentation of disciplinary knowledge, does not always make the author’s position clearly recognizable and shows a marked preference for the use of passives and the avoidance of mitigating devices such as hedges and downtowners (Kreutz/Harres 1997: 181). On the other hand, Czech academic writing is characterized by a lesser degree of assertiveness, expressed by the use of tentative and qualified language, i.e. devices which seek to negotiate agreement for advanced claims (ýmejrková/ Daneš 1997: 44). There is also a difference in the degree of adaptability of Czech and German academic literacy to Anglo-American academic discourse conventions. German academic writing tends to be rather resistant to foreign influences and, as Clyne (1987: 233) claims, English texts by German scholars tend to contain the same cultural discourse patterns as German texts. In contrast, Czech academic writing, which seems to follow a historically motivated tendency to adapt to a dominant culture, has recently been profoundly affected by the spread of English academic norms (ýmejrková/Daneš 1997: 42). This suggests that apart from the differences between Central European and Anglo-American academic writing conventions, the crosscultural analysis of Czech and German novice academic writing in English should reveal specificities of the two Central European traditions which are transmitted through the educational system.

4. Data and methodology This study explores cross-cultural variation in the use of pronominal self-reference items and impersonal it-constructions for the construal of authorial voice in diploma theses written by Czech and German students of English. The aim of the quantitative analysis is to identify cross-cultural and disciplinary differences in the rate of occurrence of personal pronouns and it-clauses followed by extraposed subjects and their distribution within the different structural parts of Czech and German master’s theses. The comparative qualitative analysis studies how Czech and German writers project an authorial voice into their


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discourse by examining the functions of the target personal and impersonal structures. The results of the analysis serve as the basis for a discussion of issues of cross-cultural variation: influence of L1 traditions on academic literacy, and advice provided by style manuals, academic writing instructors and supervisors of diploma theses. The investigation is carried out on two corpora comprising master’s theses written by Czech students of English at the Faculty of Education of Masaryk University in Brno, and German students of English at the Faculty of Arts of Chemnitz University of Technology. The analysis of the generic structure of Czech and German theses takes into consideration the full size of the corpora (23 theses by German students and 20 by Czech students). The analysis of the frequency of occurrence, distribution and authorial roles of pronominal selfreference items and it-constructions is performed on samples of texts selected so as to be of the same size in terms of word number, although they differ in the number of theses included. The Czech corpus sample consists of ten master’s theses (five in the field of linguistics and five in the field of methodology), totalling 176,000 words, while the German corpus sample includes seven master’s theses (four in the field of linguistics and three in the field of methodology), also totalling 176,000 words; i.e. the total size of the material is 352,000 words. All the theses were written in the period from 2005 to 2009 and they represent the top 20 per cent of the results achieved in this period. In order to allow for an analysis of interdisciplinary variation, the Czech corpus was further subdivided into a linguistics theses sub-corpus and a methodology theses sub-corpus, each of 88,000 words, and the German corpus was also subdivided into a linguistics part of 91,000 words and a methodology part of 85,000 words. It should be acknowledged that the Czech and German corpora used in this study are rather small; however, despite the limitations of small specialized corpora in terms of their size, representativeness and generalizability of their results, they are considered to be very useful for comparative studies of academic and professional discourse as they “allow for more top-down, qualitative, contextually-informed analyses than those carried out using general corpora” (L. Flowerdew 2004: 18). The corpora were searched for the target personal pronouns I/ me/my and we/us/our and it-clauses followed by extraposed that-

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


clauses (e.g. It should be acknowledged that these results need further verification) and it-clauses with an adjective followed by extraposed to-clauses (e.g. It is important to consider gender differences) using the freeware Antconc concordance programme. Before the analysis was performed, the corpora were cleaned to eliminate block quotes and long examples; however, integral citations and integral examples were not deleted in order to preserve the coherence of the texts. First, the rate of occurrence of the personal pronouns I/me/my and we/us/our and it-clauses referring to the author were obtained for the purposes of an analysis of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary variation. The raw data were then normalized to frequencies per 1,000 words to allow for comparison with the data reported by previous studies. The concordance lists were checked manually to exclude occurrences of target structures in integral citations and integral examples and to disambiguate the function of it-clauses. It-clauses including the prop-it (e.g. it is raining) and clauses with referential it were excluded from the analysis. However, in agreement with Hewings and Hewings (2002) it seems and it appears, which “have an appearance of clausal extraposition” (Quirk et al. 1985: 1392), were included since they indicate author reference even though they have no non-extraposed variant unless some expansion is added. All author reference it-clauses, i.e. clauses expressing interpersonal (e.g. it could be argued), text-organizing (e.g. it was pointed out in section 3) and predominantly ideational meanings (e.g. it is possible to classify hedges into several categories), were taken into consideration, since all are seen to contribute to the construal of authorial voice (cf. Hewings/Hewings 2002 for a different approach to the selection of it-clauses). The rare cases of itclauses used for general attribution and reference to literature (e.g. it has been suggested + reference) were excluded from the analysis since, despite their clear contribution to the interpersonal dimension of academic discourse, they cannot be regarded as author-reference devices. The second stage of the analysis consisted in creating concordance plots for high-frequency items (i.e. the personal pronouns I and we and the it-construction) for a consideration of the distribution of the different author-reference devices in the text of the individual diploma theses. Finally, the functions of personal pronouns and itclauses as used by the students were examined in order to explore


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cross-cultural variation in the degree of authoritativeness and visibility that Czech and German novice authors express in their theses.

5. Variation in the generic structure of the diploma thesis It is now generally acknowledged that master’s degree theses are different from research articles in terms of their communicative purpose, intended readership, acceptance requirements and the social event of which they are part, and therefore may be regarded as a different genre of academic discourse (e.g. Paltridge 2002; Swales 2004; Paltridge/Starfield 2007; Samraj 2008). The specificity of master’s theses resides in the fact that the writer-reader relationship constructed in them can be described as ‘novices writing for experts’ and not ‘experts writing for experts’ as in the case of the research article. The experts for whom the text is written (i.e. the committee of examiners, who have the power to accept or reject the thesis according to whether or not it conforms to established discourse conventions) represent its primary readership, although “often this is not immediately obvious to students” (Paltridge/Starfield 2007). Another difference concerns the required level of originality and contribution to community knowledge, which in the case of a master’s thesis is generally assumed to be lower than that of a research article. Nevertheless, authors of master’s theses are expected to show extensive knowledge of their topic and related methodology, to demonstrate an ability to comment critically on previous research and to apply a clearly defined procedure to answer the research questions. In the case of non-native speakers, writing a master’s thesis involves not only reaching a high level of proficiency in a foreign language, but also acquiring the relevant knowledge of textual features, genre conventions and social practices (Bhatia 2002) expected by an academic community, which is itself affected by crosscultural variation and disciplinary variation. As previous research has shown (e.g. Paltridge 2002; Paltridge/ Starfield 2007; Samraj 2008), the generic macro-structure of a master’s thesis varies and typically displays three basic patterns, respectti-

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


vely termed the ‘traditional’, ‘topic-based’ and ‘compilation of papers’ patterns. The traditional thesis, which generally follows the ‘IMRD’ (Introduction, Methods, Research, Discussion) structure of the research paper (Swales 1990), is the most common at master’s level (Paltridge 2002) and has two sub-variants: the simple traditional pattern reporting on a single study, and the complex traditional pattern reporting on several studies. The topic-based thesis is based on a sequence of chapters dealing with sub-topics of the main topic and also frequently occurs at master’s level. The last type – compilation of research articles – is fairly rare at master’s level as it presupposes that the author is already able to write in the concise ‘expert for expert’ form. The analysis of the macro-structure of the Czech and German theses has shown that they all use the simple traditional model, which according to Paltridge and Starfield (2007) comprises: Introduction Literature review Materials and methods Results Discussion Conclusions

However, the analysis has revealed the existence of some cross-cultural variation in the way the traditional model is realized. The German students’ theses show no disciplinary variation; they follow the structure of the traditional thesis very closely and often chapter titles include the labels of the structural components (e.g. Literature review, Results, Methods). On the other hand, the Czech students’ theses are typically divided into a theoretical and a practical part and follow a pattern which may be summarized as follows: Introduction Theoretical part Literature review (Methods) Practical part Materials (and Methods) Results and discussion Conclusions


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This Theoretical-Practical Part model is present in the majority of theses dealing with methodology but is less frequent in the linguistics theses, which often follow the basic pattern of the traditional thesis. The variation in the positioning of the Methods section in Czech students’ theses is topic-dependent and to some extent discipline-motivated and tends to be part of the Practical Part in most methodology theses and linguistics theses based on text or discourse analysis. These findings suggest that the choice of the macro-structure of the thesis is influenced primarily by instructions provided by university courses and thesis supervisors. Apart from the course in essay writing within the Language Practice Module, the English Studies programme at Chemnitz University comprises two linguistics-oriented courses – English for Academic Purposes and Linguistic Research Projects and Methodology – which acquaint students with general principles of academic language using authentic published texts representing different disciplines. These courses raise the students’ awareness of the range of choices they have at their disposal concerning patterns of textual organization and typical lexicogrammatical choices associated with particular academic genres (Paltridge 2002: 127). They also offer students an opportunity to discuss and present their projects and last but not least to study and edit their own academic texts, which is akin to the ‘on-line’ genre analysis procedure advocated by J. Flowerdew (1993). The Masaryk University programme includes an academic writing course focused on basic academic genres and their lexicogrammatical features and an elective Academic Skills course with a similar orientation. In addition, when writing their master’s theses students take part in tutorials conducted by their thesis supervisors, who highlight discipline-specific genre conventions. It can therefore be assumed that the more centralized instructions received by the German students explain the lack of disciplinary variation in the structure of their theses. In contrast, disciplinary differences in Czech students’ theses reflect variation in the advice provided by thesis supervisors.

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


6. Comparative analysis of Czech and German theses A quantitative analysis of the frequency of occurrence of authorreference pronouns and it-clauses shows that despite the preference towards the backgrounding of authorial presence and the use of impersonal structures in Central European academic discourse, Czech and German novice authors use expressions indicating high author visibility to construe their authorial voice. The quantitative findings summarized in Tables 2, 3 and 4 show striking differences in the rate of personal pronouns and it-clauses in German and Czech writers’ theses, revealing the existence of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary variation in the way novice writers construct their authorial voice. Overall, the rate of personal pronouns is higher than that of it-clauses, which may be explained by the wider range of impersonal structures that writers have at their disposal. The results of the quantitative analysis summarized in Tables 2 and 3 clearly show that Czech novice writers opt for more explicit writer visibility and use a considerably higher rate of author-reference pronouns and it-clauses than German novice writers, both in linguistics and methodology theses. The difference in the rate of personal pronouns is particularly prominent in linguistics theses, where the occurrence of I/me/my in Czech theses is five times higher and the frequency of we/us/our eight times higher than in the German corpus. The divergence in methodology theses is lower, especially in the rate of I/me/my. It is noteworthy that while in German methodology theses there are more occurrences of both singular and plural first person pronouns than in the linguistics theses, in the Czech corpus there is a decrease in the frequency of singular pronouns and an increase in the rate of plural pronouns.

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316 First person pronouns German theses I/me/my we/us/our Total Czech theses I/me/my we/us/our Total

Linguistics Raw Norm. No rate

Methodology Raw Norm. No rate

Raw No

Total Norm. rate

97 9 106

1.07 0.10 1.16

153 32 185

1.80 0.38 2.18

250 41 291

1.42 0.23 1.65

478 75 553

5.25 0.82 6.08

182 139 321

2.14 1.64 3.78

660 214 874

3.75 1.22 4.97

Table 2. Rate of personal pronouns in Czech and German theses (norm. rate per 1,000 words).

Both in the Czech and German corpora the rate of it-clauses is higher in the linguistics theses. However, while in the German linguistics subcorpus the rate of personal pronouns and it-clauses is approximately the same, in the methodology sub-corpus the rate of personal pronouns is more than twice as high. Czech novice authors show a marked preference for personal forms in both linguistics and methodology theses. it-clauses German theses Czech theses

Linguistics Raw Norm. No rate 107 1.18 227 2.49

Methodology Raw Norm. No rate 80 0.94 122 1.44

Raw No 187 349

Total Norm. rate 1.06 1.98

Table 3. Rate of it-clauses referring to the author in Czech and German theses (norm. rate per 1,000 words).

As the analysis indicates, disciplinary variation is primarily associated with the rate of author-reference pronominal forms and it-clauses, rather than with their functional specialization. Thus the more descriptive character of methodology theses, in which authors present their observations as an adequate representation of reality and create commonality on the basis of shared experience of language learning, favours a higher rate of inclusive and a lower rate of exclusive pronouns. On the other hand, the more interpretative character of linguis-

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tics theses presupposes the expression of personal commitment to claims, which is associated with more prominent occurrence of exclusive pronouns. Considering the extent of use of the different forms of personal pronouns (Table 4), the findings confirm the results of previous research (e.g. Hyland 2002b; Samraj 2008) and show that students underuse all pronominal forms; however, this analysis also indicates that novice writers have acquired academic discourse conventions to some extent. The subjective I is the most common pronominal form in all sub-corpora for projecting the authorial voice into the discourse, while we – the second in frequency in published research – is strongly underused, especially in the German corpus. Personal pronouns I me my we Us our

German theses Linguistics Methodology 0.81 1.58 0.01 0.08 0.25 0.14 0.07 0.22 0.02 0.06 0.01 0.09

Czech theses Linguistics Methodology 2.96 1.19 0.48 0.12 1.81 0.84 0.47 1.42 0.18 0.04 0.18 0.18

Research articles 3.61 0.30 0.97 2.54 0.28 1.45

Table 4. Comparison of the frequency (per 1,000 words) of pronouns in Czech and German theses to their rate in applied linguistics research articles as reported by Hyland (2001).

The possessive forms – which have the potential “to promote the writer’s contribution by associating them closely with their work” (Hyland 2001: 223) – show a high frequency of occurrence in the Czech corpus, where the rate of my in the linguistics theses is even higher than in published research. In order to explain these variations, it is necessary to examine the functional specialization of the authorreference pronouns used by the students and their distribution in the individual theses. As the analysis indicates, in the German corpus first person singular pronouns occur only in three of the seven theses – two dealing with linguistics and one with methodology – and their occurrence is concentrated in the Results, Discussion and Conclusions sections. The


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extremely high frequency of first person pronouns in the methodology thesis (e.g. 134 occurrences of I) is obviously an idiosyncratic choice of the author. The rare occurrences of we in the German corpus are spread unevenly between two methodology (comprising the majority of the occurrences) and two linguistics theses. It can therefore be concluded that pronominal author-reference cannot be considered prominent in German novice writers’ academic English. In contrast, an analysis of the data for the Czech corpus reveals that all linguistics and methodology theses use inclusive and exclusive author-reference personal pronouns. Singular first person pronouns commonly occur in the Introduction and Conclusion sections of Czech theses and often in the Materials and Methods, Discussion and Conclusions sections, while plural pronouns are more frequent in the Introduction, Literature Review and Methodology sections. This indicates that the use of author-reference pronouns is well-established in the discourse of Czech novice authors. Considering the functions of author-reference pronouns, the findings generally confirm Hyland’s (2002a: 1099) results indicating that in applied linguistics theses the most frequent functions of selfmention are the stating of discoursal goal/purpose or the explaining of procedure. However, there is some notable cross-cultural variation in the functional specialization of author-reference pronouns in the Czech and German corpora. The discourse-organizing role of author-reference pronouns is prominent in Czech theses. While indicating a growing awareness on the part of Czech novice writers of the academic conventions of explicit discourse organization, it also shows that they prefer low-risk writer roles related to signalling intentions, outlining argument structure and guiding the reader through the discourse, which, although foregrounding writer visibility, do not involve commitment to claims and expressing opinions (cf. Hyland 2002a). Thus in the Introduction I is typically used for making centrality claims, stating the goal and previewing the organization of the thesis; an additional marker of writer involvement is the use of my mainly with text and research nouns (e.g. thesis, work, study, analysis):

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses (1)


In my diploma thesis, I have decided to survey the methodological field and focus my attention to one of the four language skills, namely speaking. My concern with this topic is not accidental for I consider speaking one of the major concepts in language teaching. (Brno/Methodology)

Explicit author reference at transition points at the macro-structural level (2) and at the micro-level of rhetorical moves and thematic segments (3) enhances the perception of coherence and dialogicity of the discourse. This discourse-organizing function of self-reference is particularly frequent in the Czech linguistics sub-corpus and rare in all German theses. (2)

In this chapter I would like to outline the research that has been done so far concerning comment clauses (CCs). [...] I have divided this chapter into three parts – one summarizes what has been written about comment clauses in monographs or publications dealing with spoken interaction, the next one summarizes grammar books and finally the third part examines various articles written on this particular topic. (Brno/Linguistics)


Let me return to the analysed news items and discuss the overuse of references to women’s appearance. (Brno/Linguistics)

The involvement of the author in the research process is indicated by my most commonly collocating with data, analysis, results, findings, research, study, work, hypothesis (cf. Kuo 1999: 135; Hyland 2001: 223). This function of my is considerably more prominent in Czech theses where apart from indicating discourse organization, it is associated with describing materials and procedures, presenting findings and summarizing results in conclusions. In (4), my results and my initial expectation are used in combination with an it-clause putting forward a claim, thus on the one hand presenting the author as closely associated with the research and at the same time backgrounding his/ her role and strengthening the objectivity of the interpretation of findings. (4)

Based on my results, it can be stated that backchannels mainly serve as continuers, which is in accordance with my initial expectation. (Brno/Linguistics)

The agentive I is used in both the Czech and German corpora for explaining procedures and collecting data in the Materials and Methods


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section. As Hyland (2002a: 1102) points out, however, while recounting procedure seems to involve a low degree of personal exposure, the commitment to subjective choices concerning data processing and research methods positions the author as a competent member of the discourse community claiming authority to take such decisions (5). (5)

After I listened through and transcribed the whole song with Speech Tools, I wrote the transcriptions of every single line next to each of the respective orthographical representations in a Microsoft Office Word document, which is attached in the appendices. On the basis of these documents, I examine every word in terms of possible occurrences of features (1) to (20) in Table 3.2. (Chemnitz/Linguistics)

Despite the preference for low authorial visibility motivated by German academic literacy and instructions received in academic writing courses, as used in the Chemnitz corpus author-reference pronouns are typically associated with cognitive verbs (e.g. think, believe, assume, explain, suggest, claim, conclude, consider, doubt). By expressing opinions, elaborating arguments and stating findings and claims they indicate powerful authorial presence and position the author as Opinion-holder and Originator: (6)

Only the first two columns of this table are relevant to this variable, but I consider the distribution as too interesting to not be mentioned. I explain the high frequency of replacing syllable final /S/ with /s/ for ES with the linguistic environment, as in three out of four instances the following word starts with the short, central, open/half open vowel /U/. (Chemnitz/Linguistics)

The personal intrusion of the author in such cases shows a high degree of commitment to the views and claims made and on the other hand addresses the readers and makes them co-participants in the ongoing debate initiated by the author (cf. Hyland 2001: 221). The use of I with projection of the author as Originator and Opinion-holder is less frequent in the Czech corpus. Some occurrences can be found in conclusions – all of which are thesis-oriented (Bunton 2005) – where, while restating the purpose and summarizing the main findings and claims, the authors explicitly take responsibility for them:

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses (7)


I have put forward the hypothesis that newspapers, mostly tabloids, adopt an ideology that views women as ‘the weaker sex’. Having analysed in detail news items of the tabloid, I have concluded that a prejudicial categorization is manifested in a widespread manner. (Brno/Linguistics)

The interactive dimension of academic discourse is also enhanced by the use of plural author-reference pronouns. All the occurrences of we in the German corpus are inclusive and mostly refer to shared beliefs and community practices, presenting the author and the readers as members of the same group. Thus they create a bond between the writer and the reader and assume that they are involved in a collaborative effort in building up the argumentation presented in the text (Mülhausler/Harré 1990; Wales 1996; Harwood 2005). This is illustrated in (8), where the assumption of shared knowledge in the process of foreign-language learning prepares the ground for the claim that L1 interference is a possible source of problems in foreign-language acquisition. (8)

When learning a first language, the process is relatively simple: all we have to do is learn a set of new habits as we learn to response to stimuli in our environment. When learning a second language, however, we run into problems: we already have a set of well-established responses in our mother tongue. (Chemnitz/Methodology)

While both German and Czech theses commonly use inclusive we, in one of the Czech methodology theses the author uses the exclusive editorial we for self-reference, especially when guiding the reader through the text, thus abiding by the Czech academic tradition, which tends to use this strategy for reducing personal attributions (Chamonikolasová 2005): (9)

We devote the initial section to the class atmosphere set-up as it plays an important role in creating a positive emotional climate in class. (Brno/Methodology)

In agreement with Harwood (2005) and Hyland (2001), however, this use of we may also be seen as exploiting the exclusive/inclusive ambiguity. Thus the first occurrence of we in (10) can be seen as an exclusive attribution of an opinion to the author, and yet the inherent fuzziness of the first person plural pronoun seems to grant the writer


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the authority to assume the agreement of the reader with his/her claim; the second occurrence of we in (10) is clearly inclusive, aimed at enhancing persuasion through reader involvement and the creation of commonality. (10)

We can state that the wide range of the listening activities, applied to the mainstream students, is used for the development of the listening skills of the learners with SLD as well. If they suffer from the specific difficulties described above, we need to use some extra methods to strengthen their listening skills. (Brno/Methodology)

While pronominal self-reference achieves the highest degree of author visibility, it-clauses perform interpersonal roles by allowing the author to stay in the background. The data for the Czech and German corpora indicates that it-clauses occur in all structural parts of all theses. Despite the disciplinary difference, the results of this analysis (Table 3) can be seen to support Hewings and Hewings’s (2002) findings based on a comparison of research articles and master’s theses in the field of managerial studies, according to which students tend to use more itclauses than published writers do (1.77 vs. 0.95 per 1,000 words respectively in the Hewings/Hewings corpus). This tendency is particularly obvious in the Czech corpus, where emphatic structures in thematic sentence initial position, such as it is important/necessary/ obvious to + verb and it + modal + passive verbs (e.g. it should be noted that), are used frequently to underscore the validity of claims and commitment to opinions. In (11) after a tentative interpretation of results expressed by a personal structure, the use of it-clause with the modal must draws attention to limitations of the analysis, which is its typical function in published research; this indicates an awareness on the part of the author of the specific rhetorical functions of this structure. (11)

One the basic criteria applied in the present work is the distinction between advertisements focusing on high quality and those focusing on advantageous price. A group of balanced ads has been found, too. I have tried to explain my basic reasons and criteria for such a distinction. Yet it must be stated that any of the adverts concerned and its classification into one of these three groups may be a subject to a discussion. (Brno/Linguistics)

Authorial Voice in the Genre of Diploma Theses


When commenting on findings, novice authors in both corpora use hedges to present the claims expressed by it-clauses as tentative; however, the frequency of hedges in the German corpus is considerably lower, which seems to reflect the L1 academic literacy tradition (Kreutz/Harres 1997) and the general tendency of non-native speakers to opt for more direct and unqualified writing (Hyland 2005: 134; cf. Dontcheva-Navratilova 2009). Hedging is typically conveyed by patterns such as it is possible/probable, it seems, it appears, and by modal verbs modulating the opinion of the writer, e.g. it may/could be argued. As (12) shows, it-clauses may be multifunctional, since apart from distancing the author from the claim presented, it can be concluded also has a clear discourse-organizing function. (12)

Thus it can be concluded that the distribution of tenses across the levels of proficiency depends largely on the idiosyncratic approaches of the participants to a topic, i.e. whether the topic is seen from a point of current relevance or in its historic context, and how the texts are structured. (Chemnitz/Methodology)

It should be noted, however, that the use of it-clauses for indicating intra-textual reference (13) is less frequent than that of personal structures, in both the Czech and German corpora. (13)

As it has been already mentioned, the SPC workers also contribute to IEP formation. (Brno/Methodology)

It can therefore be concluded that due to their potential to background the author, it-clauses are typically associated in both Czech and German theses with conveying the function of expressing a higher degree of authority and power.

7. Conclusions The main purpose of this cross-cultural investigation into Czech and German novice writers’ discourse was to compare how students use


Olga Dontcheva-Navratilova

pronominal self-reference items and impersonal it-constructions to project an authorial voice into their master’s theses written in English. The findings have evidenced that while clearly showing awareness of Anglo-American academic discourse conventions and the specificity of the master’s thesis as a genre, the choices of novice writers reflect the insufficient development of their rhetorical skills, interference from L1 academic literacy and advice provided by style manuals on academic writing, supervisors and academic writing courses. Although both Czech and German students manage to construct a coherent authorial voice in their argumentation, they have different ways of resolving the tension between the unambiguously single-authored character of the master’s thesis and the academic conventions urging authors to maintain an objective and impersonal style. The divergences observed concern the frequency and degree of author visibility, the level of authority assumed by the writers and the textual points at which they make themselves visible. Czech novice writers show a preference for author visibility associated with a higher rate of both personal pronouns and it-clauses. However, the functional specialization of personal pronouns in the Czech corpus is confined primarily to the expression of less powerful authorial roles, such as discourse-organizer and recounter of the research process, thus showing a reluctance on the part of Czech students to adopt a position of authority and show clear commitment to claims. In contrast, despite a significant underuse of devices marking high author visibility, German novice writers opt for more powerful functions of personal pronouns, thus making a greater persuasive effort. In both corpora novice writers use the rhetorical potential of it-clauses to put forward claims, comment on findings and express opinions while backgrounding their authorial presence. In conclusion, it can be stated that the results of this study have evidenced that cross-cultural analysis of linguistic devices for the construal of authorial voice can clearly contribute to a better understanding of the reasons for the existing variation in academic discourse conventions across languages and cultures. As a result, it can raise novice non-native writers’ awareness of the linguistic and rhetorical choices they have at their disposal to construct their discursive identities when socializing in the global academic discourse community. The results of this research should now be verified by a larger-

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scale study exploring a more extensive corpus and considering the interplay of a wider range of means for constructing an authorial voice in order to explore in greater detail how factors such as genre, discipline, L1 literacy and epistemology, and idiosyncratic choices affect academic discourse conventions.

References Abdollahzadeh, Esmaeel 2011. Poring over the Findings: Interpersonal Authorial Engagement in Applied Linguistics Papers. Journal of Pragmatics 43/1, 288-297. Benett, Karin 2009. English Academic Style Manuals: A Survey. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 8, 43-54. Bhatia, Vijay 2002. Applied Genre Analysis: A Multi-perspective Model. Ibérica 4, 3-19. Biber, Douglas / Johansson, Stig / Leech, Geoffrey / Conrad, Susan / Finegan, Edward 1999. Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. Harlow: Pearson. Bondi, Marina 2009. Polyphony of Voices. In Suomela-Salmi, Eija / Dervin, Fred (eds) Cross-linguistic and Cross-cultural Perspectives on Academic Discourse. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 83-108. Bunton, David 2005. The Structure of PhD Conclusion Chapters. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 4, 207-224. Chamonikolasová, Jana 2005. Comparing the Structures of Academic Texts Written in English and Czech. In Huttová, Marie (ed.) Slovak Studies in English 1. Bratislava: Univerzita Komenského, 77-84. Clyne, Michael 1987. Cultural Differences in the Organisation of Academic Texts. Journal of Pragmatics 11, 211-247. ýmejrková, SvČtla / Daneš, František 1997. Academic Writing and Cultural Identity: The Case of Czech Academic Writing. In Duzsak, Anna (ed.) Culture and Styles of Academic Discourse. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 40-62.


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Dontcheva-Navratilova 2009. Evaluation in Non-native Writer’s Academic Discourse: Stance Devices. In Hanušová, SvČtlana et al. (eds) Research in English Language Teacher Education. Brno: Masaryk University, 33-42. Duszak, Anna 1997. Cross-cultural Academic Communication: A Discourse Community View. In Duzsak, Anna (ed.) Culture and Styles of Academic Discourse. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 11-39. Flowerdew, John 1993. An Educational, or Process Approach, to the Teaching of Professional Genres. English Language Teaching Journal 47, 305-313. Flowerdew, Lynne 2004. The Argument for Using English Specialized Corpora to Understand Academic and Professional Language. In Connor, Ulla / Upton, Thomas (eds) Discourse in the Professions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 11-33. Flowerdew, Lynne (forthcoming). Grammar and the Research Article. In Chapelle, Carol (ed.) Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Gosden, Hugh 1993. Discourse Functions of Subject in Scientific Research Articles. Applied Linguistics 14, 56-75. Harwood, Nigel 2005. ‘We do not seem to have a theory… The Theory I present here attempts to fill this gap’: Inclusive and Exclusive Pronouns in Academic Writing. Applied Linguistics 26, 343-375. Hewings, Martin / Hewings, Ann 2002. ‘It is interesting to note that …’: A Comparative Study of Anticipatory ‘it’ in Student and Published Writing. English for Specific Purposes 21, 367-383. Hunston Susan / Thompson, Geoff (eds) 1999. Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hyland, Ken 2001. Humble Servants of the Discipline? Self-mention in Research Articles. English for Specific Purposes 18, 207-226. Hyland, Ken 2002a. Authority and Invisibility: Authorial Identity in Academic Writing. Journal of Pragmatics 34, 1091-1112. Hyland, Ken 2002b. Options of Identity in Academic Writing. English Language Teaching Journal 56/4, 351-358. Hyland, Ken 2005. Stance and Engagement: A Model of Interaction in Academic Discourse. Discourse Studies 7/2, 173-192.

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Ivaniþ, Roz 1998. Writing and Identity: The Discoursal Construction of Identity in Academic Writing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Kreutz, Heinz / Harres, Annette 1997. Some Observations on the Distribution and Function of Hedging in German and English Academic Writing. In Duzsak, Anna (ed.) Culture and Styles of Academic Discourse. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 181-201. Kuo, Chih-Hua 1999. The Use of Personal Pronouns: Role Relationships in Scientific Journal Articles. English for Specific Purposes 18/2, 121-138. LeCourt, Donna 2004. Identity Matters: Schooling the Student Body in Academic Discourse. Albany: State University of New York Press. Martin, James / White, Peter 2005. The Language of Evaluation. Appraisal in English. London: Palgrave. Mauranen, Anna 1993. Cultural Differences in Academic Discourse – Problems of a Linguistic and Cultural Minority. In Löfman, Liisa / Kurki-Suonio, Liisa / Pellinen, Silja / Lehtonen, Jari (eds) The Competent Intercultural Communicator. AFinLA Yearbook 1993, 157-174. Mühlhausler, Peter / Harré, Rom 1990. Pronouns and People: The Linguistic Construction of Social and Personal Identity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Mur-DueĖas, Pilar 2007. ‘I/we focus on…: A Cross-cultural Analysis of Self-mentions in Business Management Research Articles. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 6, 143-162. Paltridge, Brian 2002. Thesis and Dissertation Writing: An Examination of Published Advice and Actual Practice. English for Specific Purposes 21, 125-143. Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue 2007. Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language. London: Routledge. Povolná, Renata 2010. Can Non-native Speakers of English Use Contrastive Discourse Markers Correctly when Writing Academic Texts? In Malá, Marketa / Pavlína Šaldová (eds) For thy speech bewrayeth thee. A Festschrift for Libuše Dušková. Prague: Charles University, 209-231. Quirk, Randolph / Greenbaum, Sidney / Leech, Geoffrey / Svartvik, Jan 1985. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman.


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Samraj, Betty 2008. A Discourse Analysis of Master’s Theses across Disciplines with a Focus on Introductions. English for Academic Purposes 7, 55-67. Swales, John 1990. Genre Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Swales, John 2004. Research Genres. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tang, Ramona / John, Suganthi 1999. The ‘I’ in Identity: Exploring Writer Identity in Student Academic Writing through the First Person Pronoun. English for Specific Purposes 18, 23-39. Wales, Katie 1996. Personal Pronouns in Present-Day English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Cross-cultural Differences in the Use of Discourse Markers by Czech and German Students of English in the Genre of Master’s Theses1

1. Introduction Recent studies on academic written discourse have shown that there is considerable cross-cultural variation in academic texts written in English (Clyne 1987; Ventola/Mauranen 1991; ýmejrková/Daneš 1997; Duszak 1997; Chamonikolasová 2005; Mur-DueĖas 2008), in particular now that English has become ‘the global lingua franca of academia’, even though there are no native speakers of academic English (Mauranen/Hynnien/Ranta 2010). This variation – which concerns all text characteristics, including differences in form and meaning organization of academic texts across fields, languages and cultures – results from the fact that under the influence of their L1 writing habits, many authors from different cultural backgrounds and intellectual traditions attempt to produce academic texts in English with the intention of achieving native-like written fluency and adhering to conventions typical of academic discourse as produced by native-speakers of English. Although different in the extent to which they have adopted the writing style of English-speaking countries, Czech and German academic texts can be characterized by certain common features, which make them representative of Central European intellectual traditions. These features distinguish them from academic writing that is typical of the dominant Anglo-American tradition, in particular on account of differences in educational systems and intellectual styles and attitudes 1

This chapter is part of the grant project 405/08/0866 Coherence and Cohesion in English Discourse, which is supported by the Czech Science Foundation.


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toward knowledge and content. In support of her claim that “differences in underlying social and cultural values account at least in part for the discrepancy in academic communication styles across languages and cultures”, Duszak (1997: 16) provides as examples the elitist attitude toward academic jargon in Polish or German and the more egalitarian approach to academic rhetoric in English-speaking countries. Anglo-American academic texts in general tend to be dialogic, more interactive and more reader-oriented, an orientation which stems, e.g., from an overall discourse organization through explicit signposting, including advance organizers. Such text characteristics are in contrast to the rather monologic, less interactive and more writer-oriented texts that are usually connected with Teutonic intellectual traditions (Galtung 1985, as quoted in Duszak 1997) and attributed to academic texts written in German, Polish or Czech. These academic cultures and intellectual traditions conduce to a more impersonal style of writing, one which favours fewer reader-friendly devices such as text organizers and explicit clues concerning content, as evidenced, for example, in Clyne (1987), Duszak (1997) and Chamonikolasová (2005). Instead, intellectual effort and a readiness to process a demanding text are required of the reader. It follows that negotiation of preferred levels of interactivity in academic texts across different fields, languages and cultures is a necessary condition in the process of increasing internationalization of scholarship. Mastering a certain level of academic literacy is an indisputable prerequisite for acceptance within the academic community and, consequently, academic discourse has to be learned by novice non-native writers as part of the “secondary socialization that takes place in educational institutions” (Mauranen/Hynnien/Ranta 2010: 184). Since courses in written fluency, including written fluency in academic (Standard Written) English, take place mostly at educational institutions such as universities, the present study focuses on certain features in the writing habits of advanced students of English from two different, yet in many respects close, discourse communities: the Czech Republic and Germany. Its aim is to find out whether there is any cross-cultural variation, namely in ways in which novice non-native writers express semantic relations of cause and contrast in the genre of Master’s theses. Owing to their crucial importance in academic argumentation, causal

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


and contrastive relations are often expressed by certain explicit text organizers, mostly labelled ‘discourse markers’ (DM) in the relevant literature (Povolná 2010b). Since an appropriate knowledge of DMs is commonly included among the language features that are taught and practised in courses of academic writing at universities, and DMs are mentioned in manuals of English academic style (Bennett 2009), this study investigates differences between the ways in which novice nonnative writers from the two different discourse communities have adopted the appropriate use of causal and contrastive DMs when building coherent relations, i.e. “relations that hold together different parts of the discourse” (Taboada 2006: 567) in academic texts.

2. Causal and contrastive relations expressed by discourse markers The study explores causal and contrastive relations between subsequent or distant segments of discourse, since these are considered the most complex of all semantic relations that may hold within a text (Kortmann 1991); they therefore tend to be expressed overtly by certain signals, above all in academic discourse, in which convincing argumentation, introducing one’s own claims, and expressing the author’s views on previous research play an important role. It should be noted here that the term ‘discourse segment’ or ‘segment of discourse’ will be used in this chapter “as a cover term to refer to ‘proposition’, ‘sentence’, and ‘message’ unless more specificity is required” (Fraser 1999: 938). The analysis is concerned with relations obtaining at clausal and higher levels of discourse in which markers relating to separate messages operate. These markers can be viewed, in agreement with Fraser (1999), as DMs; this is the case with on the other hand in (1). By contrast, though, included in the same example, is used at a lower level of discourse and functions only as a subordinating conjunction within a single message. Cases of the latter type are not regarded as DMs and remain outside the scope of this study.

332 (1)

Renata Povolná It may appear that the early laws are native predecessors of modern laws, though in a very general sense. Hundreds of years, together with historical and social factors, have contributed to the great differences. On the other hand, there is one fundamental similarity, i.e. the functions of legal documents have remained the same even after so many centuries. (BrnoCorpusLing 1)

Discourse markers serve as explicit signals of “a relationship between the interpretation of the segment they introduce [or are part of], S2, and the prior segment, S1” (Fraser 1999: 931) and impose “on S2 a certain range of interpretations, given the interpretation(s) of S1 and the meaning of the DM” (Fraser 1999: 942). By explicitly signalling how the author intends the discourse segment that follows to relate to the previous segment(s), DMs perform text-organizing functions, thus contributing to cohesion. At the same time, they foster the reader’s interpretation of the message in harmony with the author’s communicative intentions, thus establishing coherence, which is understood, in agreement with Bublitz (1997), as a dynamic and hearer/reader-oriented interpretative notion. Unlike coherence in spoken discourse, which can be constantly negotiated by all discourse participants (Povolná 2009), coherence in written discourse cannot be negotiated explicitly, since the context is split (Fowler 1986) and the writer has to anticipate the “expectations of the reader and to use explicit signals” (DontchevaNavratilova 2007: 128), These explicit signals guide the reader(s) towards an intended interpretation of semantic relations between messages, a strategy undoubtedly crucial in academic discourse, including the writing of Master’s theses by non-native English authors. From a morphological viewpoint, the DMs under scrutiny are drawn primarily from conjunctions (e.g. because, since, although), adverbs (e.g. therefore, thus, however) and prepositional phrases (e.g. on the other hand); however, they “do not play the role in a sentence that their classes would suggest, but instead, they are separate from the propositional content” (Fraser 1999: 302), and their meaning is procedural rather than conceptual. These markers can be omitted from the discourse segment(s) they are part of without changing the propositional content of the respective segments, as would be the case of on the other hand in (1) above. But if this omission occurs, the reader, who is left without any explicit guiding signal, may have problems ar-

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


riving at the author’s interpretation. Adjacent or distant segments of discourse, the relationship of which is indicated by some overt guiding signals, are usually processed by readers faster and more easily, as stated in Haberlandt (1982). Since it is a characteristic feature “of [the] register [of academic prose] to mark the links between ideas overtly” (Biber et al. 1999: 880), high frequency rates of the selected markers are to be expected in the data analysed. From a syntactic point of view, two syntactic groups can be distinguished, namely markers operating in hypotactic relations and those serving in paratactic relations. Hypotactic markers are involved in the expression of subordination and connect clauses one of which is syntactically dependent on the other, while paratactic markers appear when clauses are coordinated and express relationships between two mutually independent clauses. The reason for this division is an expected difference between the two syntactic groups in the frequency rates and the two semantic groups selected for the analysis. Since the hypotactic relation is usually expressed overtly by certain markers, such as although and because, a higher number of hypotactic markers is expected, above all in an inquiry concerned with academic texts. On the other hand, the paratactic relation, apart from being signalled by certain markers such as however, thus and therefore, can often remain unexpressed overtly. This does not mean that there cannot be some semantic clues in the respective segments of discourse, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives (e.g. contrasting), prepositional phrases (e.g. in contrast to, as a result of; the latter shown in (2)), or some other ways of expressing cause and contrast (e.g. adjectives of opposite meaning); these possibilities have remained outside the scope of the analysis, however. (2)

The problem of getting students to express themselves freely in the foreign language has come into prominence in recent years as a result of the growing emphasis on communicative abilities. (BrnoCorpusMeth 4)

As for the distribution of causal and contrastive DMs involved in hypotactic and paratactic relations, it should be stressed that the investigation is concerned with academic written texts, in which clear argumentation and support of the authors’ own arguments and standpoints in front of an academic audience play an important role, especially if


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the author intends to achieve the academic literacy required by AngloAmerican academic conventions. For this reason a high number of explicitly expressed markers is expected, in particular those operating in hypotactic relations, since these are mostly marked overtly, and, as claimed in Taboada, DMs expressing cause and concession are “typically expressed through subordination” (2006: 576). As for the relation between concession and contrast, it should be stated that concession is viewed as a special case of contrast, namely that between the expected/usual causal relationship and the actual situation (Fraser 1999), and therefore contrastive DMs subsume markers expressing contrast as well as concession. In addition, “in some cases, elements of contrast and concession are combined in uses of linking adverbials” (Biber et al. 1999: 878), and it is not always possible to distinguish between these two semantic classes.

3. Corpus and methodology Master’s theses represent the final written achievements which students produce before embarking on their professional careers in business, education, or industry. Consequently, theses are often conceived as “the most sustained and complex piece of academic writing” (Swales 2004: 99) most university students ever undertake, and that is the reason why they are worthy of researchers’ attention, in particular now that international academic communication in the majority of fields which university graduates enter is conducted in English and “internationalization of scholarship opens up new challenges for our understanding of academic communication phenomena” (Duszak 1997: 19). Since it is argued, in agreement with Flowerdew (2004: 18), that specialized corpora are more appropriate than large general corpora for a comparative study of academic written discourse, especially when analysing particular language features such as causal and contrastive DMs in one particular genre, this investigation focuses on a relatively small sample amounting to about 352,000 words taken from

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


a larger specialized corpus comprising Master’s theses written by students of English in their final year of study at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, and students at Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany. For the purposes of this chapter, the sample has been divided into two corpora, each representing Master’s theses from a different discourse community, and further subdivided into works written in the areas of Linguistics and Methodology. The individual subcorpora vary slightly in length (85,000-90,500 words) because in order to get comparable data for the analysis it has been necessary to exclude all parts of the texts which include tables, figures, references, and quotations. These minor differences in the length of the individual texts analysed are not considered relevant, however, since the main goal of the study is not a detailed comparison of the four subcorpora. Rather my goals were to identify the most typical DMs which advanced learners of English from different cultural backgrounds use when expressing causal and contrastive relations in academic settings and to determine whether novice writers have approximated the ways adopted by expert writers, i.e. experienced native speakers of English. Moreover, it should be stressed that there are certain differences between Master’s theses written within the same subject area. This finding supports my assumption that distinctions between fields of study, in this case Linguistics and Methodology, can be caused not only by field-specific instructions provided by thesis supervisors, but also by individual students’ knowledge of the selected markers and consequent preferences in writing habits. As regards the methods applied, all the texts were first computer-processed using the AntConc concordancer and then examined manually for both qualitative and quantitative results, the most important of which are given in the tables and exemplifications below.

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4. Causal discourse markers favoured by Czech and German students When expressing causal relations with hypotactic markers, both Czech and German students apply the same set of three markers, namely because, as and since; however, as is evident from Tables 1, 2, 3, there are significant differences in the frequency rates of as and since. Whereas Czech students apply as (142) to about the same extent as because (150) and resort to the marker since (46) much less frequently than to the other hypotactic markers, German students unambiguously give preference to since (251), which they apply even more frequently than the two remaining hypotactic markers as (53) and because (155) when they are counted together. Causal relations Type of corpus Czech Linguistics theses Czech Methodology theses All Czech theses together German Linguistics theses German Methodology theses All German theses together

Hypotactic DMs No. % 166 39.2 172 54.3 338 45.7 226 37.0 233 34.2 459 35.5

Paratactic DMs No. % 257 60.8 145 45.7 402 54.3 385 63.0 448 65.8 833 64.5

Table 1. Hypotactic/paratactic causal DMs in Czech/German novice academic writing No. of words in the texts Hypotactic DMs as because since All hypotactic DMs Paratactic DMs (and) so therefore thus All paratactic DMs All DMs

87,636 Linguistics 54 82 30 166 Linguistics 36 84 87 207/257 423

88,628 Methodology 88 68 16 172 Methodology 20 36 42 98/145 317

Table 2. Causal DMs typically used by Czech students.

176,264 Total 142 150 46 338 Total 56 120 129 305/402 740

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses No. of words in the texts Hypotactic DMs as because since All hypotactic DMs Paratactic DMs consequently hence therefore thus then All paratactic DMs All DMs

90,810 Linguistics 41 111 74 226 Linguistics 13 39 124 114 24 314/385 611

84,712 Methodology 12 44 177 233 Methodology 41 84 148 93 25 391/448 681

337 175,522 Total 53 155 251 459 Total 54 123 272 207 49 705/833 1,292

Table 3. Causal DMs typically used by German students.

In both corpora, there is a strong tendency for the writer to use one and the same DM repeatedly; this tendency, which can be accounted for by the individual students’ knowledge and consequent preferences in writing habits, is illustrated in the examples below. Example (3) taken from the Czech corpus and example (4) from the German corpus testify that some students prefer using a marker they know well repeatedly rather than resorting to a different marker about which they may not be quite sure; this tendency concerns above all because in the former and since in the latter corpus: (3)

The third reason is that listening plays a key role in a language acquisition because the development of effective and appropriate strategies how to listen becomes crucial for the process of acquiring language. Listening also plays an active part in language learning because it is involved in many languagelearning activities, not only inside but also outside the classroom. (BrnoCorpusMeth 2)


Note, however, that some linguists consider aspect as equally deictic, since it is concerned with the relation of E to a reference frame R. For this reason, Dorfmüller-Karpusa regards aspect as internally deictic, since it involves the relation of an event to an internal point of reference, and to tense as externally deictic, since it involves the relation of an event to an external point. (ChemnitzCorpusMeth 5)


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The results in Table 1 show that in Master’s theses written by Czech and German students of English, causal relations expressed by overt hypotactic DMs, although realized by three different markers only, are relatively common when compared to those expressed by overt paratactic markers, in particular if the size of the whole repertoire of paratactic causal DMs is taken into account. The differences in the proportion of causal DMs from the two syntactic groups, i.e. hypotactic and paratactic markers, are greater in the German corpus as a whole, where hypotactic markers are applied in 459 cases (about 35%), in contrast to as many as 833 cases in which an explicit paratactic marker appears (about 65%) and where there are almost no differences between students writing their theses in Linguistics and those involved in Methodology. By contrast, in the Czech corpus as a whole, the differences in the proportion between hypotactic and paratactic markers are smaller (46% vs. 54%), although there are striking differences between Linguistics (39% vs. 61%) and Methodology theses (54% vs. 46%), probably owing to the differences in field-specific instructions. Most of the findings presented above disconfirmed my expectations that hypotactic relations are commonly expressed by an overt marker in academic discourse and that subordination is a characteristic feature of formal written discourse (Leech/Svartvik 1994). Nevertheless, the results are in agreement with the generally acknowledged view that subordination tends to be more complex and thus more demanding to apply than coordination in particular when novice writers attempt to produce L2 academic texts. Consequently, it is not surprising that students of English, who are usually instructed to use some guiding signals when organizing academic texts, give preference to coordination, which is, of course, expressed by paratactic markers; this tendency is much stronger in the German corpus (65%), probably under the influence of consistent overt instructions provided by teachers of academic writing. While all the three possible hypotactic markers, i.e. because, as and since, have been found relatively frequently in all the data, paratactic markers, although more frequent in the total number, are rather unevenly distributed, some of them having a frequency of occurrence of less than forty tokens in either corpus. Owing to their rather limited use, the paratactic markers accordingly, as a consequence, as a result, for,

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


hence, in consequence, now, of course, so that, and somehow (listed in alphabetical order) have been excluded from the tables, although they are counted in the total numbers in the last two lines of the tables.2 Based on my findings, it can now be postulated that some paratactic DMs are very frequent in all the data, in particular therefore and thus; this is especially striking in the German corpus, where these two most frequent DMs occur in more than 200 cases. The reason for the very high frequency of certain DMs in the German corpus may be the overall greater overuse of causal DMs by German students, which is in turn reflected in the much higher frequency rate of the most common marker therefore (272). It should be mentioned here that the causal markers, thus and therefore (see (5) and (6) below), along with the contrastive marker, however (see (4) above), represent the most common markers in the academic texts produced by experienced native speakers of English (Biber et al. 1999: 885). (5)

As semantic primitives ought to be self-explanatory there is no need to define them. Thus, they provide the conditions necessary to avoid circularity. (ChemnitzCorpusMeth 16)

Of the fifteen different types of paratactic DMs searched for during the analysis, only three in the Czech corpus and five in the German corpus occur with noteworthy frequency, i.e. more than forty occurrences. German novice writing can thus be characterized by a slightly wider range of certain frequently used paratactic markers to express causal relations. Unlike Czech novice writers, who, apart from applying the two most typical markers (therefore and thus), use only the marker so (56) with noteworthy frequency, German novice writers often apply also consequently (54) and then (49), and above all the rather formal marker hence (123), illustrated in the following example: (6)

Lexical aspect can mark the durativity, iterativity, inchoativity, stativity, etc. of situations and is therefore also known as Aktionsart, which stresses the temporal characteristics of verbs. Hence the statement of Binnick that lexical


See e.g. 207/257 in the first column of Table 2, where 207 is the number of paratactic DMs actually listed in the table, while 257 equals the total number of all paratactic DMs found in the Czech linguistics subcorpus.


Renata Povolná aspect is in contrast to the grammatical aspect an entirely lexical category is not acceptable without some further remarks. (ChemnitzCorpusMeth 5)

In contrast to the Czech corpus, in which the most frequent causal marker of all is hypotactic because (150), in the German corpus it is paratactic therefore (272), followed by hypotactic since (251) and paratactic thus (207), all illustrated above. My findings suggest not only that German students apply paratactic DMs – among which therefore and thus clearly predominate – with far greater frequency (65%), but also that there is a stronger tendency on the part of German novice writers to apply the natural ordering of discourse segments in academic texts. According to this strategy (Altenberg 1987) the segment of discourse which introduces new and/ or unexpected information or a new aspect within already known information comes only after the segment with known information, which is, of course, the default case with paratactic markers, as shown in (5) and (6), in which therefore, thus and hence introduce subsequent segments of discourse that carry new information. Although Czech students use hypotactic causal DMs relatively frequently (46%) in comparison with paratactic DMs (54%), they apply both syntactic groups less frequently than German students. The evidence for the frequent application of hypotactic DMs can be seen above all in the Czech Methodology subcorpus in which hypotactic relations (54%) are even more typical than paratactic ones (46%; see Table 1 above). It should be noted here that when subordinators, i.e. hypotactic markers, such as because, as and since are used in the clause preceding the main clause, they also enable the natural ordering of discourse segments, as in (5) and (7); however, this ordering is not at all typical of causal relations, in which the DM tends to be placed at the beginning of the subsequent clause even when involved in the hypotactic relation, as in (3) and (4) above. (7)

As the public radio discussion is not the genre that will be dealt with in detail, the results are shortened. (BrnoCorpus Ling 2)

Finally, it is should be stated that there are distinctions between different fields of study in terms of both the types and tokens of DMs stu-

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


dents of English use to express causal relations, such as the far more frequent use of paratactic DMs in the Czech Linguistics subcorpus (more than 100 tokens) and the slightly more frequent use of paratactic DMs in Methodology-oriented theses in the German corpus. These differences, which are less marked with German novice writers, can be caused by individual students’ preferences and writing habits, and in the case of Czech Linguistics-oriented theses, they can be enhanced by students’ stronger awareness of marker use when organizing written discourse, probably under the influence of overt instructions provided by teachers of academic writing and field-specific guidance by thesis supervisors.

5. Contrastive discourse markers favoured by Czech and German students The results concerning contrastive DMs as used by Czech and German students of English are given in Tables 4, 5, 6. These tables provide evidence that, as with causal relations and contrary to my expectations, in both Czech and German novice academic writing, contrastive relations expressed by hypotactic DMs are significantly less frequent than those expressed by paratactic DMs, although the former relations are often marked overtly in academic written discourse. As with causal DMs, the most interesting findings concern the uneven distribution of contrastive DMs in terms of both types and tokens, above all in the Czech corpus (see Table 5 below). When the findings of this analysis are compared to the results drawn from the analysis of L1 expert writers presented, e.g., in Malá (2006) (see the last line in Table 4), it can be concluded that the proportion of hypotactic and paratactic contrastive DMs in the German corpus as a whole (34% vs. 66%) is much closer to the results drawn from research articles written by native speakers of English (30% vs. 70%). However, there are certain field-specific differences, notably

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the very low frequency rates in the Czech methodology subcorpus, which thus do not allow for generalizations. Contrastive relations Type of corpus Czech Linguistics theses Czech Methodology theses All Czech theses together German Linguistics theses German Methodology theses All German theses together Articles by L1 expert writers

Hypotactic DMs No. % 118 20.8 73 18.7 191 19.9 218 32.1 210 35.4 428 33.6 38 29.9

Paratactic DMs No. % 450 79.2 318 81.3 768 80.1 462 67.9 384 64.6 846 66.4 89 70.1

Table 4. Comparison of hypotactic and paratactic contrastive DMs in Czech and German novice academic writing.

Concerning the overall distribution of contrastive DMs, it should be emphasized that of the thirty-eight different types of DMs included in the analysis only six in both corpora occur with noteworthy frequency, i.e. they have more than forty occurrences in each corpus. However, there are differences between the two corpora in the proportion of frequently used hypotactic and paratactic DMs. Out of the nine hypotactic DMs selected for the analysis, only one (although) in the Czech corpus and three (although, while and whereas) in the German corpus occur in more than forty cases, while out of the twenty-nine paratactic DMs searched for in all the data, five markers (but, however, nevertheless, on the other hand and yet) in the Czech corpus and only three markers (but, however and nevertheless) in the German corpus are listed in the tables because of their significant frequency. The DMs that follow have been excluded from Tables 5 and 6, although, as with causal DMs, they are counted in the lines which give total numbers. The exclusion concerns the hypotactic markers albeit, despite the fact (that), even if, even though, except (that), in spite of the fact (that), notwithstanding, and though, and the paratactic markers actually, after all, all the same, alternatively, anyhow, anyway, at any rate, at the same time, besides, by comparison, by contrast, conversely, in any case, in comparison, in contrast, in spite of that, instead, on the contrary, on the other side, oppositely, or else, and

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


though (listed in alphabetical order). Some of the markers mentioned immediately above occur only scarcely or not at all in the data. With markers such as albeit, notwithstanding and oppositely, zero occurrence is not surprising, since, as stated, e.g., in Altenberg (1986), these markers are not likely to appear in present-day English corpora. No. of words in the texts Hypotactic DMs although All hypotactic DMs Paratactic DMs but however nevertheless on the other hand yet All paratactic DMs All DMs

87,636 Linguistics 32 32/118 Linguistics 180 58 34 36 56 364/450 568

88,628 Methodology 25 25/73 Methodology 162 85 10 22 1 280/318 391

176,364 Total 57 57/191 Total 342 143 44 58 57 644/768 959

Table 5. Contrastive DMs typically used by Czech students. No. of words in the texts Hypotactic DMs although while whereas All hypotactic DMs Paratactic DMs but however nevertheless All paratactic DMs All DMs

90,810 Linguistics 63 86 46 195/218 Linguistics 141 142 35 318/462 680

84,712 Methodology 59 58 86 203/210 Methodology 116 131 69 316/384 594

175,522 Total 122 144 132 398/428 Total 257 273 104 634/846 1,274

Table 6. Contrastive DMs typically used by German students.

The results indicate that the most typical contrastive DMs in both corpora are the paratactic markers but and however, the former being the most frequent contrastive marker of all in the Czech corpus (342), while in the German corpus the latter marker is slightly more frequent


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(273) than the former (257). Example (8), which is taken from the Czech corpus, comprises, apart from the two most frequent contrastive DMs but and however, five tokens of three different types of causal DMs (because, consequently and thus), thus providing evidence of a tendency identified in both corpora, notably to introduce almost every other segment of discourse with a marker (for illustration from the German corpus, see (12) below). (8)

The questionable character of Sample 19 is twofold. The first pair liable and responsible may at first seem to fall in the category of transition, but in the author’s opinion it is not, because the structure of the binomial is not auxiliary + main verb (or its past participle) as in Sample 15, but auxiliary + main verb + adjective. The second pair may not appear to be in transition because it is preceded by a clause and consequently found in the thematic part. However, in the author’s opinion it is a transition element because the two clauses are connected by the link and, and thus making the relation of the two predicates coordinate. (BrnoCorpusLing 1)

As regards the other DMs listed in the tables, there are some clear cross-cultural differences in students’ writing habits from the two different discourse communities. First, the repertoire of the more frequently used paratactic contrastive DMs is slightly broader in the Czech corpus, since Czech novice writers use, apart from but and however, the paratactic markers on the other hand (58), yet (57) and nevertheless (44) relatively frequently, while out of eight possible hypotactic DMs they apply with noteworthy frequency only one, namely although (57). Second, of the more typical contrastive DMs in the Czech corpus, the paratactic but (342) is six times more frequent than the most common hypotactic marker, although, while in the German corpus but and however are represented equally. When the three most frequent paratactic contrastive DMs in the German corpus, i.e. however, but and nevertheless, are counted together, they are seen to represent more than two thirds of all paratactic DMs found in the corpus; it follows that German novice writers tend to use rather excessively a limited repertoire of contrastive DMs they know well and thus are able to use appropriately. Example (9), which comprises but and on the other hand, provides evidence of another feature which occurs in both corpora,

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


namely that some students tend to cumulate certain markers, sometimes even those expressing the same semantic relation. (9)

Advertising has a very important role in every capitalist society. From the economic point of view it involves mainly positive aspects but, on the other hand there are many people that have very strong objections towards it. (BrnoCorpusLing 5)

Example (10), which shows two different hypotactic markers typical of the Czech corpus, and Example (11), which comprises the hypotactic marker even though and the paratactic marker however, illustrate another type of mistake, namely the use of a comma after the hypotactic markers although and even though. Fortunately, both Czech and German novice writers make this type of mistake only occasionally, in particular when applying although and (even) though, as in the examples that follow: (10)

Though the performances were not filmed again, the final discussion was very interesting and lively, as the students fully identified with their new identities and situations. Although, the organization of the project in this mixed ability class was rather complicated and difficulties were also encountered with making the students start the activities, finally, they got fully involved in and enjoyed the project. (BrnoCorpusMeth 4)


Even though, the performances were not as lively as in the ‘Exploration overseas’ project, students used a considerable amount of the newly gained information. Discussions took place after each performance; however, it was sometimes difficult to make students transmit their attention from watching the performances to discussing them. (BrnoCorpusMeth 4)

As my results indicate, German novice writers express contrast through hypotactic relations in many more cases (428; 34%) than Czech students (191; 20%); this tendency is reflected in the wider range of hypotactic contrastive DMs German students apply with significant frequency (see Table 5), namely while (144), whereas (132) and although (122) (listed by frequency of occurrence and all found in many more cases in the German corpus than in the Czech corpus). (12)

According to Verkuyl, analyzing the effects of the context on the aspectual classes of verbs, the durative quality of a situation is not carried by the seman-


Renata Povolná tic property of the verb itself, but it is composed by the various components of a VP. According to him definite noun phrases (NPs) and NPs with definite article denote specified quantities, whereas plural and mass nouns and indefinite pronouns indicate unspecified quantities. In the context of telic and atelic verbs this means that when atelic verbs are combined with specified quantities they become telic, whereas when they are used with unspecified quantities they stay atelic. Hence whether a verb describes a telic or atelic situation depends on its valency. Yet, achievements like reaching a hilltop or winning a race are punctual situations which do not persist over a period of time, i.e. they are punctual, conversely states like knowing, believing, loving, etc. have an inherent duration. (ChemnitzCorpusMeth 5)

Example (12), which comprises, apart from two tokens of the hypotactic marker whereas, the three different paratactic markers but, hence and yet, provides further evidence of the tendency favoured by novice writers in both discourse communities, namely to introduce almost every other discourse segment with an overt signal; this tendency can be accounted for by the influence of overt instructions provided by teachers to use explicit guiding signals when organizing academic written discourse (for more results, see Povolná 2010a). Concerning the overall frequency of occurrence of contrastive DMs and the distribution of individual types of DMs, it can be postulated that, as with the choice of causal DMs, both Czech and German students do not frequently resort to the whole repertoire of contrastive DMs that are at their disposal. The range of DMs novice writers use relatively frequently when expressing contrastive relations is not broader than that of causal DMs, although the repertoire of the former is much broader (38 different types of contrastive DMs in contrast to 18 different types of causal DMs). The reason for this usage may be, on the one hand, the students’ ability to use only a relatively narrow range of contrastive DMs and on the other a strong tendency on the part of German students in particular to overuse causal DMs in academic texts, which is probably caused by overt instructions.

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


6. Variation in the use of causal and contrastive discourse markers The data from the present investigation have been compared to those from native speakers’ use of the selected paratactic DMs mentioned in Biber et al. (1999: 887). Based on the findings, it can now be stated that native speakers of English when writing research articles tend to use most of the selected paratactic DMs less frequently than the nonnative novice writers included in the study. This variation, in my opinion, is due to the broader repertoire of DMs native speakers of English apply when compared to Czech and German students in the writing of Master’s theses, although there are differences between novice writers from the two discourse communities. Since university students, in particular those of English, are usually offered academic writing courses in which they are expected to acquire the knowledge and academic writing skills necessary for successful completion of their ‘culminating genre’ (Swales 2004) – the Master’s thesis – it is worth identifying here the most typical problems the Czech and German students included in the analysis face when producing academic texts. These can be postulated as follows: 1. Some students are not able to distinguish between the selected DMs and other expressions of the same form but of different function (e.g. though as a conjunction and though as an adverb); 2. Some students tend to overuse certain of the selected markers, while introducing every other segment of discourse with an explicit marker (e.g. causal DMs in the German corpus); 3. Some students tend to use certain of the selected markers rather repeatedly (e.g. Czech students tend to overuse because, while German students use since rather repeatedly); 4. Most students are able to use a rather limited repertoire of the selected DMs they are sure about and thus prefer to use; 5. Some students occasionally apply DMs which are stylistically inappropriate, such as the application of the informal marker though as a subordinator instead of although, in particular in the Czech corpus;

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348 6.

Some students do not use punctuation marks correctly – when placing a comma after a conjunction (e.g. after although and (even) though).

Summing up, it can now be claimed that the problems novice writers from the two different discourse communities face are connected either with the redundant use of certain markers or with the misuse of some other markers.

7. Conclusions The main objective of this study was to find out whether advanced learners of English from two different discourse communities, the Czech Republic and Germany, can use causal and contrastive DMs correctly, notably when building important semantic relations between segments of discourse in the writing of Master’s theses, which are expected to be of good quality since they represent students’ final written achievements at the end of their university studies. Based on the findings discussed and exemplified above, it can be concluded that although there is some cross-cultural variation in the ways in which the Czech and German students of English included in the analysis express causal and contrastive relations, e.g., in the extent to which individual students apply the hypotactic and paratactic DMs at their disposal, this variation seems to be influenced in particular by individual students’ knowledge and preferences in writing habits (apart from L1 writing styles) and, in addition, by overt instructions provided by teachers of academic writing and, in some cases, by fieldspecific advice given by thesis supervisors. The analysis has shown that sufficient attention should be paid to the study of text organizing devices such as DMs, in particular their appropriate use in academic discourse in order to help students avoid the redundant use of a rather limited repertoire of certain markers, on the one hand, and, on the other, the misuse of some other markers.

The Use of Discourse Markers in the Genre of Master’s Theses


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guage. In Connor, Ulla / Upton, Thomas (eds) Discourse in the Professions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 11-33. Fowler, Roger 1986. Linguistic Criticism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fraser, Bruce 1999. What are Discourse Markers? Journal of Pragmatics 31, 931-952. Galtung, Johann 1985. Struktur, Kultur und intellectueller Stil. In Alois Wierlacher (ed.) Das Fremde und das Eigene. Munchen: Iudicum, 151-193. Haberlandt, Karl 1982. Reader Expectations in Text Comprehension. In Le Ny, Jean-Francois / Kintsch, Walter (eds) Language and Comprehension. Amsterdam: North-Holland, 239-249. Kortmann, Bernd 1991. Free Adjuncts and Absolutes in English. London: Routledge. Leech, Geoffrey / Svartvik, Jan 21994. A Communicative Grammar of English. London: Longman. Malá, Markéta 2006. Contrastive Markers and Dialogicality. In Povolná, Renata / Dontcheva-Navratilova, Olga (eds) Discourse and Interaction 2. Brno: Masaryk University, 97-107. Mauranen, Anna / Hynninen, Niina / Ranta, Elina 2010. English as an Academic Lingua Franca: The ELFA Project. English for Specific Purposes 29, 183-190. Mur-DueĖas, Pilar 2008. Analysing Engagement Markers Cross-culturally: The Case of English and Spanish Business Management Research Articles. In Burgess, Sally / Martin-Martin, Pedro (eds) English as an Additional Language in Research Publication and Communication. Bern: Peter Lang, 197-213. Povolná, Renata 2009. Exploring Interactive Discourse Markers in Academic Spoken Discourse. In Dontcheva-Navratilova, Olga / Povolná, Renata (eds) Coherence and Cohesion in Spoken and Written Discourse. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 60-80. Povolná, Renata 2010a. Can Non-native Speakers of English Use Contrastive Discourse Markers Correctly When Writing Academic Texts? In Malá, Markéta / Šaldová, Pavlína (eds) For thy speech bewrayeth thee. A Festschrift for Libuše Dušková. Praha: Univerzita Karlova v Praze, 209-231.

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Povolná, Renata 2010b. Interactive Discourse Markers in Spoken English. Brno: Masaryk University. Swales, John 2004. Research Genres. Explorations and Applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Taboada, Maite 2006. Discourse Markers as Signals (or not) of Rhetorical Relations. Journal of Pragmatics 38, 567-592. Ventola, Eija / Mauranen, Anna 1991. Non-native Writing and Native Revising of Scientific Articles. In Ventola, Eija (eds) Functional and Systemic Linguistics. Approaches and Uses. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 457-492.

Insights into Pedagogic Genres


Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data: Context and Cotext Factors in a Polytechnic Setting

1. Introduction and aims: Why teach a flexible genre? The interpretation of visual data is a widespread practice across academic and professional disciplines and genres. In earlier work (SanchoGuinda 2011, 2012) I have reiterated the ubiquity and centrality of graphics to scientific thinking, essentially a multimodal process (Lynch/Woolgar 1988/1990, Myers 1997, 2003, Lemke 1998, Miller 1998, Kress et al. 2001, among others). These reasons, however, are not the only ones for teaching the commentary of visuals, because its hybridity, its hyper-textual nature and its value as argumentative strategy also have considerable weight. Visual data accounts are hybrid in several respects. First and foremost, they straddle the academic and professional domains, and the discourse communities that use them are diverse. Second, they gather empirical information and subjective renderings, and to be successfully effected require some heuristic training together with a certain dose of creativity and a balance between the explicit and the implicit, often culture-bound meanings. Swales and Feak (1997) do in effect mention the reluctance of Asian students to explain graphics, for whom commenting on the ‘obvious’ might result in a face-threatening act by insulting the interlocutor’s intelligence. Graph interpretations have been described as ‘primitive hypertexts’ (Lemke 1998) in the sense that their de-codification is nonlinear (Johns 1998), because readers grasp concepts by moving back and forth from the verbal to the visual, just as they read Internet hyperlinks. Therefore, interpreting these texts may be regarded as a basic ability necessary to process information in our digital era. An additio-


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nal motive to teach graph accounts is that they are efficacious persuasive devices (Fletcher/Hargreaves 1980) involving comparison and cause-and-effect relationships (Miller 1998) and demanding analysis and synthesis – that is, critical intelligence. Because of this demand, veteran EAP and ESP authors such as Swales and Feak (1994/2004) have granted them the status of ‘essential task’: writers must be able to sort details from relevant data, group and contrast them, explain and draw conclusions, criticise the validity of the representation, and present all the former actions in an orderly and structured way. For engineering communities of practice (Wenger 1998), these steps are part of the ‘restrained persuasion’ (Sales 2006) with which writers tacitly argue their points with other professionals, grounding their lines of reasoning in facts, avoiding subjectivity and emotional language and showing a preference for the passive voice and formulaic collocations. Despite all these important features and applications, EAP and ESP instructors generally think that the interpretation of graphics is to be learnt by students in the professional arena, and take its flexibility of purposes and its varying conventions across disciplines as a deterrent to explicit teaching. In addition, science and technology specialists hardly need to verbalise information rendered graphically among their peers, although throughout their careers many will have to do so; for example, when sharing multidisciplinary projects with professionals from different fields or attending to lay clients. Undoubtedly, scientists and engineers are accustomed to understanding and capturing information visually, but not necessarily to explaining it to others. This problem harks back to secondary education, when learners are supposed to spontaneously acquire an elementary vocabulary for describing graphics along with the language of the specific subject matter relevant to the visual information (Myers 1997). This assumption, nevertheless, does not apply to the obverse, that is, to the interpretation of graphics, which remains virtually unmodelled. ELT textbooks, business methods in English and nowadays the incipient bilingual English/Spanish system in primary and secondary schools all over Spain provide lexico-grammatical repertoires suitable for graph description but disregard the rhetorical and interpersonal components, seldom tackled in turn by EAP and ESP syllabi.

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 My objective in this chapter is to make the case for a specialized instruction on the commentary of visual data. To that end I examine the performances of my engineering students, paying attention to a limited number of contextual and cotextual factors shaping their discourse and generating variation in such discourse. Bound to contexts and cotexts, the rhetorical variability of graph commentaries may lead us to think that ‘anything goes’ when interpreting visuals, but nothing is further from the truth. Graph interpretations, however flexible they may be, are certainly ‘staged texts’ and thus likely to be considered a genre by some linguistics schools, such as Systemic Functional Linguistics (for a detailed account of its genre criteria see for example Martin/Rose 2003), yet there is no consensus as to the number of ‘moves’ commentaries may contain. Bertin (1977/1981), Olsen and Huckin (1991) and Swales and Feak (1994/2004) propose from two to five moves, corresponding to the grouping, highlighting and discussing of data. Elsewhere (Sancho-Guinda 2012) I have contended an optional move, the framing of the visual concerning purpose and relevance, as long as the statement of that purpose and the graph title and legends are not redundant. In the same study I also qualify the graph account as a borderline text between ‘data transfer skill’ and genre, and propose a fuzzy boundary between them. In my view, a writer’s explanation of visuals is just a transfer skill if it merely translates the graphics into prose – no matter how redundantly – and gradually becomes a genre when data are reorganised, increasing subjectivity or positioning along a continuum of possibilities. These possibilities range from inverting or altering the data sequence originally presented by the graphic, creating climactic or anticlimactic progressions, to incorporating explanations and to including hypotheses, predictions and extrapolations to broader contexts. Exposure to well-articulated commentaries on visual data will unquestionably help students to produce texts with identifiable rhetorical moves (‘with a sense of direction’) and simultaneously to express their standpoints. However, the factors causing variation are difficult to isolate as they tend to appear intertwined, and thus familiarity with the rhetorical purposes of the genre seems to depend largely on the type of discursive culture, more or less writer/speaker- or reader/listener-oriented (Hinds 1987). Commenting practices may vary as well according to the generic context, reflecting


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the conventions of the disciplinary community. And similarly, different types of graphics favour the representation of certain contents (e.g. social contexts, classifications, procedures, etc.) and some metadiscursive items (e.g. pronouns, chronological and contrast markers) over others. In addition, sometimes contents are elaborated upon thanks to a gender-based expertise or experience on the part of the writer. Having expressed these caveats, I now turn to dividing the ‘factors of variation’ into two major classes: context- and cotext-based. Within the context-based class there are two closely interrelated subclasses: one formed by the interaction of culture and familiarity with rhetorical moves, and another by the expectations about the community of practice. The second of these refers to sub-factors such as the tenor (i.e. set of roles) between reader and writer, the matrix genre, and the disciplinary culture (i.e. its repertoires and procedures). Cotext-based factors comprise the type of graph (with particular uses of metadiscourse and pronouns) and graph content, which branches out into the existence or absence of a real social context (true contexts seem to foster the expression of opinion and may be favoured by certain graph types) and occasionally into gender-bound expertise or experience. Traversing this whole network of context- and cotext-dependent factors are the individual preferences of writers (i.e. their ‘idiolectal’ features) as regards layout, rhetorical moves and lexico-grammatical choices. Owing to their added social and rhetorical complexity, I have excluded the analysis of matrix genres, disciplinary cultures and strictly individual traces from the scope of this chapter, and will limit my inquiry to a panorama of the rest of factors across five different chart types commented on by a single population. As anticipated, I will argue for the need of ad hoc training in the writing of graph commentaries.

2. The method and the environment This study uses mixed methods (discourse-based and corpus-informed) of inquiry into the role of graphic commentaries in my academic

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 community, the School of Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering of Madrid Polytechnic University, where I teach Academic English and Professional Communication. There visuals may easily take up to sixty/seventy per cent of the class notes and laboratory booklets bound by the school reprography services, and those percentages grow in senior students’ seminars on aircraft and airport design. Nonetheless, despite this importance of graphics in engineering degrees, students are never required to describe or interpret them, tasks being limited to labelling certain points and sections related to physical/chemical properties, behaviours and phases, to matching them with keywords and calculations, or to drawing curves according to given numerical data. The unstructured interviews I conducted in the departments of Physics and Science of Materials/Chemistry, whose subjects are taught mostly during the early curriculum years, revealed that in my school the situation regarding the practice of graph commentaries could be depicted as a ‘vicious circle’. Students are not given chances to verbalise visuals because they do not have the skills, and this absence of opportunities perpetuates their lack of expertise. By and large the teachers oppose assigning graph commentaries as class and assessment tasks because students are ‘poor verbalisers’ and correction would be too time-consuming. This panorama gives us an idea of the knowledge and ability gap the majority of students drag along until graduation. To probe a little further into this weakness, I asked students (a population of 104 volunteers) to complete a task-based questionnaire in which several chart types (pie, dispersion/dot, time line, Gaussian bell, and bar subtypes – histogram, horizontal single and double) were shown along with a series of possible functions to match with them: composition, distribution of frequencies, correlation, item comparison, and time evolution. The next phase of my study consisted of a corpus-supported analysis of reader-sensitive features in 475 samples of data commentaries written by my second-year students of Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering, whose ages range between 18 and 24 years and their proficiency in the English language from the Common European Framework of Reference levels B1 to C1. Without any training, they were told to interpret five chart types: two line graphs, one ring graph, one flow chart, a pie graph and a tree diagram. Two charts were fic-


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tional and de-contextualized: a line graph showing ‘sales in millions’ (of an unidentified company) and a ring graph displaying three different populations (audiences) sorted out by age, each in a ring, and four imaginary TV channels represented with different colours. The contextualized graphics dealt with such topics as the average age of emancipation by gender in Spain (a line graph) and the video-consoles most sold in Spain during 2007 (a circle graph), the landing procedure for aircraft (a flow chart) and types of aircraft (a tree diagram). The contextualized line and pie graphs were downloaded from the Internet, whereas the flow and tree charts were adapted from basic aviation manuals and aeronautics textbooks. All of the issues introduced by these contextualized graphics were close to either the informants’ interests or their immediate reality. The tool used for analysis was the concordance freeware AntConc.321w (Anthony 2007) and the corpus totalled 33,755 tokens. My interpretation of the data so obtained was reinforced by the students’ disclosure of their motivations and procedures in a volunteer one-hour conferencing session once all tasks had been accomplished. The theoretical background I leant on to interpret results blends Goffman’s (1971) interaction orders, the definitions of voice by Blommaert (2005) and Ede (1989), Hyland’s (2005) model of writer stance and engagement, and the Scollons’ (2003) concept of discourse displacement, based in turn on Goffman’s (1974) keying. This background informs my argumentation as follows: students perceive the graph commentary assignment as a gate-keeping encounter (Goffman 1971) ultimately controlled by the teacher as authority figure. To save face as efficient learners and succeed in this type of interaction, they must position themselves as knowledgeable individuals by taking on a situational voice (Ede 1989) that imitates certain engagement features (from Hyland’s 2005 inventory) to make themselves understood (Blommaert 2005) and negotiate their identity seeking alignment with the academic community. However, when constructing such a voice, their expectations about academic writing (AW from now onwards), sometimes wrong, and the influence of the Communicative Language Teaching (henceforth CLT) received through their secondary education, may cause them to misplace discourses and trigger unintended consequences or

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 give offs (Goffman 1959). These ‘give offs’ redefine the communicative situation in terms of field (content), tenor (roles and relationships between the writer and the reader, here between student and teacher) and mode (registers and channels), producing a discursive effect of misalignment.

3. Findings: Variation pervades low-stance and high-engagement texts Perhaps the most revealing finding of this study is that in the samples scrutinized and at a micro-textual level (i.e. lexico-grammatical), engagement features on the whole are slightly over three times as numerous as stance ones. Among the engagement features listed in Table 1, I have included interactive metadiscourse items, originally not in Hyland’s categorization but a clear sign of concern for readers. Such items are guiding devices throughout the visual-verbal hypertext and aids to process information (e.g. markers of inference, glosses, stagelabellers summarizing ideas and signposting their sequence, etc.). This sharp difference between stance and engagement has motivated my qualification of my students’ accounts as ‘low-stance’ and ‘highengagement’ texts and results from their expectations about their readership (their EFL teachers, senior members of the educational community). These expectations generate a need to sound informative (as is supposed of good learners in their assignments), pedagogical (as competent users of the AW register) and fluent (as proficient speakers/ writers of the foreign language) at the same time. So, a factor of variation – the writer’s image of his/her community of practice – produces in this case a discursive trait pervasive across the five types of graphs and their different contents: the predominance of reader considerateness over the expression of opinion.

362 Broad engagement categories Shared knowledge Reader pronouns Questions Personal asides Directives Interactive metadiscourse TOTAL

Carmen Sancho-Guinda Frequency per 1,000 tokens 1.06 12.47 0.02 0.29 11.90

Broad stance categories Attitudinal adverbials Boosters Hedges Self-mention pronouns –

Frequency per 1,000 tokens 4.79 4.38 8.38 1.42 –

41.65 67.39


– 18.97

Table 1. Contrast between the relative frequencies of engagement and stance features at a micro-textual level in students’ graphs accounts.

This fact allows us to generalise that my corpus samples should be labelled as visual information transfers (Mackay/Mountford 1978: 13) rather than commentaries and as instances of a transcribing skill rather than a genre (for not being staged enough and recognizable). In what follows, when dealing with the expectations about the academic community more in depth within the context-based factors of variation, we will see what the engagement prevalence consists of. Next I will describe the cotext-based factors. But prior to that I must note that although stance and engagement appear (as they traditionally do for clarity purposes) as separate textual features in Hyland’s model and in several others, they bear a circular relationship: engaging with readers and the ways of doing it reveals a stance on them and their community (and one’s own) through the needs filled and the conventions adopted. And conversely, being explicit and disclosing one’s stance constitutes a kind of commitment (Stubbs 1986).

3.1. Context-based factors of variation The first factor in this group, the culture of origin superimposed on the more or less familiarity with the graph commentary moves, is in general a source of redundancy. To begin with, Spanish is, like the rest of Romance languages, more relaxed about digression (i.e. less linear in argumentative and expository prose) and prone to elaboration than

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 English (Kaplan 1966, Connor 1996: 53), and even the students with an advanced lexico-grammatical knowledge of the language incur rhetorical transfers from their mother tongue. Very few of them, in addition, have been consistently exposed to valid models of graph commentaries through their school years, thus preventing them from approaching the data as systematically as would be desirable, and so interruptions and digressions abound. Example 1 below is not an isolated token of extreme redundancy, of which we may detect five types: superfluous metadiscourse, as in ‘shown above’ or ‘It/As can be seen’, paraphrases of the graph title or its legend, usually in the form of purposive statements like ‘The/ This graph/chart shows/represents/evaluates…’, tautological premodifiers such as ‘a circle graph with three circular sectors’, obvious characteristics of the graphic relative to its shape or function and unnecessary tips for its interpretation, mentioning representation details such as size and colour, and finally self-evident remarks, wrongly packaged (intentionally or not) as inferences or ‘conclusions’. For example, students tend to repeat in words the same information displayed by the visual as a personal deduction, sometimes even with markers of the type ‘In conclusion’ or ‘In my opinion’. This way of proceeding could be understandable if the graphics were extremely complex, but the pie chart reported in (1) presented only three sectors with their corresponding percentages printed on them, which explains the scarce informativeness of the average accounts written by learners. (1)

The chart shown above evaluates the sales of video-consoles in Spain during 2007. It’s a circle divided in three circular sectors which represent, depending on their size, the amount of consoles sold in Spain. The difference in colour distinguishes the three different types of consoles. It can be seen that the most popular one is Wii, which represents the 43 per cent of the whole video-console sales. Wii is followed by Xbox with a 34% and then, there is PS3, with the 23% of the sales.

Redundancy, in my corpus, appears to be complexity- and communitybound: the more simple the graph, the less there is to say and the more likely it is for students to reiterate information over and over again or verbally reproduce what meets the eye, but the low informativeness also has to do with an unrealistic sense of an audience, as they do not seem


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to notice the uselessness of their texts, anti-economic in comparison to the visuals. In other words, on the one hand and added to the greater degree of elaboration of their L1 (Spanish), they mistake informativeness for verbosity, and on the other hand, they believe that teachers, ‘their gatekeepers’, will value verbosity more than lean commentaries or blank sheets, and therefore they experience a sort of horror vacui urgency that compels them to paraphrase the visual data redundantly, add irrelevant detail, and overuse metadiscourse to sound ‘pedagogical’. In Crewe’s (1990) terms, this ‘metadiscursive clutter’ is originated out of an over-mindful style and particularly of an excessive worry about form to the detriment of content. Curiously, in the description of the pie chart of Example 1, the accounts written by female students exhibited this multiple redundancy and low informativeness over four times (36.9%) more than those produced by their male peers (9.4%). A plausible extra explanation for this finding may well be that the content topic of the graph, video-games, is by far more popular among the male contingent, more experienced in giving an opinion than its female counterpart. Instruction on possible rhetorical moves and the lexicogrammatical alternatives available for verbalisation and exposure to proficient models would be a corrective to this situation. The above example has shown how culture and specific rhetorical knowledge (here instead the lack thereof) converge with the expectations about the interlocutor and about one’s own role inside the academic community, the type of graph and the topic it represents, shaping the texts composed by novice writers. It is worthwhile now to deepen into the second contextual factor of variation, the expectations about the community of practice. As I have already anticipated, students’ horror vacui in their desire to read informatively and mimic the didactic quality of AW drives them to abuse metadiscourse, which serves a threefold purpose: working as a discourse filler that disguises the writers’ lack of stance, giving an impression of coherent and cohesive argumentative prose (when in actual fact it just connects propositions superficially rather than providing a deep logic), and seeking alignment with the academic community as metadiscourse is an element of the AW code – highly reader-oriented – and may thus help students earn a favourable assessment of the task submitted. The classic EAP manuals (e.g. Swales/Feak 1994/2004, Hyland 2006) include

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 sentence connectors as one of the prominent AW features, and this instructional background makes my informants prime metadiscourse saliency when it comes to imitating the academic register. Likewise, for the CLT they have absorbed over the years during their prolonged learning of a foreign language, metadiscourse is also a priority and thus the respective metadiscoursal concerns of these two registers synergize giving rise to Crewe’s (1990) ‘clutter’, whose components Table 2 shows in detail. Interactive metadiscourse categories Endophorics Transition markers Frame markers Code glosses TOTAL

Frequency per 1,000 tokens 14.30 14.01 12.62 0.71 41.64

Table 2. Relative frequencies of specific engagement features at a micro-textual level.

A quick contrast between Tables 1 and 2 can give us yet a clearer picture of my students’ expectations about the interaction and the community behind it. As can be seen in Table 1, reader guidance by means of interactive metadiscourse is 1.6 times more abundant than the sum of all the other engagement items. The incidence of shared knowledge markers, questions and personal asides is minimal, presumably because students realise that their epistemological status differs notably from that of teachers (as a consequence of there not being much to share). They are not used to posing questions to their instructors (which they interpret as ‘usurping their role’, as the conferencing session revealed), and consider it improper to disclose personal information in academic interactions. Asides are scant because most probably there is little stance to express. As for reader pronouns, if they outnumber the other items it is not because students attempt at constructing inter-personality, but because they ignore the conventions of writing impersonal instructions in English, a deficiency evidenced by the verbalisations of the flow chart representing the landing procedure for aircraft. Pronouns are found in many endophorics, which bring the reader to concrete portions of text, and in imperative, modal and conditional directives, which often convey cognitive acts guiding the


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reader and are employed as solidarity formulas (e.g. ‘We can see that…’, ‘Let’s remember that…’, ‘If you compare/focus on…’). What may surprise us about Table 2 is that the pedagogical effect intended by my students is not precisely achieved through explanation and clarification (i.e. through code glosses such as ‘that is to say’, ‘in other words’ or ‘which means’). They amount to less than 2% of interactive metadiscourse as there is almost no stance to clarify or explain. This statement could be refuted by drawing attention to the acceptable proportion of transition markers, connectives that signpost deduction (e.g. ‘because’, ‘since’, ‘given that’, etc.), but their misuse as ‘discourse fillers’ and ‘false inferentials’ confirms that there are few real arguments or cause-and-effect relationships. Frame markers and endophorics reach similar percentages of occurrences, between 30 and 35%. Frame markers (i.e. sequencers like ‘firstly’, ‘next’ or ‘finally’, stage-labellers such as ‘in summary/conclusion’, goal announcers of the type ‘in this part’ or ‘I want to…’ and topic shifters like ‘now’ or ‘with regard to’) are discursive means of alignment that present the information orderly according to AW conventions, whereas the multifunctionality of endophorics helps novice writers to save face when taking on an academic voice. Expressions such as ‘As can be seen in the graph’, ‘According to the graph’ or ‘Looking at the graph’ not only function as discourse organisers and take us to a former part of the text, but also signal the source of the information being commented on, acting simultaneously as hedges that shield stance, if any, and as directives. The paragraph span in (2) is cluttered with three endophorics (italicized), the last of which borders on a directive. (2)

As can be seen in the diagram, the sales of Wii are are much higher than the sales of PS3 and Xbox. During 2007 the 43% of consoles sold in Spain were from the Wii company. According to the chart, the next console was the Xbox with the 34% of the sales in Spain. Also we can observe that PS3 was the less sold, only with the 43%.

Both the formality of AW and the conversational tone typical of CLT (per se a ‘misplaced’ discourse in an academic task) coexist in tension in my students’ writing, moulding a binary or ‘hybrid’ register that causes a double displacement of discourses and ultimately misalign-

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 ment with the academic standards. Students assume the chatty voice of CLT, whose main goal is to foster fluency at the expense of sacrificing register constraints and uses resources in principle unsuitable for academic prose (e.g. colloquialisms, personal disclosures, jokes and storytelling, bold metaphors and similes, etc.). In class conferencing students admitted to doing so because ‘it’s English’ and acknowledged they would not do it in an engineering subject. My students’ metadiscursive zeal to imitate AW may give rise to unintended nuances, to give offs that result in keying, to use Goffman’s terminology. Put simply: keying consists in a redefinition of the interaction, here either by conversational features or by metadiscursive excesses. Through keying, the written channel adds oral features, the formal academic register acquires a colloquial tinge, and the relationship between reader (teacher) and writer (student) is subverted. The conversation features turn reader and writer into casual interlocutors and peers (3) and massive metadiscourse may give the writer an ‘air of expert authority’. (3)

a. The company sells like hot cakes because we are a big fish in a small pond. (METAPHOR) b. Videogames are all the same, used to claim my father. Nothing farther from the truth. (PERSONAL DISCLOSURE) c. This is my opinion, from the Sales Department. (STORYTELLING)

This expert halo is frequently caused by the insertion of boosters and directives (e.g. ‘it is important that…’) and frame and transition markers (e.g. ‘moreover’, ‘because’) as discourse fillers between two steps in a procedural flow chart. Instead of sequencing stages, the writer involuntarily presents one of them as a result of personal reflection, only possible thanks to a sound expertise (Example 4, my italics). (4)

After that, the pilot has to extend flaps to full and has to keep speed steady so there is no runway overshooting. For landing it’s important that the pilot flares the aircraft when crossing the runway threshold.


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Let us now move on to the variation factors at a rhetorical level. Conversational features and meta-textual awareness, although caused by linguistic features, are of a rhetorical nature. I define meta-textual awareness as the expression of the act of writing from an ‘outsider viewpoint’ as opposed to the ‘insider perspectives’ in which the writer may include him/herself as an actor, for instance when resorting to storytelling. Habitual meta-textual markers are: ‘to complete my exposition’, ‘to finish’ or ‘I will analyse / look at…’. Table 3 shows that meta-textuality is higher in those graphs representing an authentic social context (the line graph on emancipation ages in Spain and the pie chart on the sales of video-consoles in Spain during 2007) as they lend themselves more to the exposition of real arguments where to use the aforementioned meta-textual markers. Trait (% samples)

Meta-textual awareness Conversation devices

Line (no ctx) N = 105

Line (ctx) N = 65

Ring (no ctx) N= 48

Pie (ctx) N = 184

Flow (ctx*) N = 31

Tree (ctx*) N= 42











Table 3. Percentages of text samples with expressions of meta-textual awareness and conversational devices according to graph type. N.B. ‘ctx’ stands for content with a personal context, ‘ctx*’for technical contexts and ‘no ctx’ for the absence of context of any kind (i.e. fictional graphics).

On the contrary, conversational devices are more used in de-contextualized graphics, such as the sales line graph, or in those which are exclusively descriptive (e.g. that leave little room for opinion and argumentation) but whose technical contexts are known, such as the aviation procedural flow chart and the classificatory tree diagram for aircraft. Apparently, the complexity of the multi-variable ring graph, also de-contextualized, dissuaded students from drawing analogies with similar phenomena in their social reality. Building a plot for it like the ones they devised in the sales curve, for example, would surely imply too much effort and not pay when describing the trend.

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 We might conclude that in this corpus keying works as a conscious horror vacui resource used in the absence of real contexts, save when the graphic is too complex (e.g. the ring graph) to insert casual features. It appears as well affected by the discipline because students inhibit it in subjects other than English. The expression of meta-textual awareness may be equally used as discourse filler in any graph type, and especially in those of extreme simplicity (e.g. the pie chart), even if they represent some familiar context, which increases the need for a deeper analysis novice writers cannot always supply. But meta-textuality may also be a genuine aid to argumentation in visuals rooted in a context known by the writer, such as the line graph on emancipation ages in Spain.

3.2. Cotext-based factors of variation Graphic format and content go hand in hand: in the previous section I have said that certain graph types favour certain contents. Flow charts are not designed to reflect components, for example. Nor are pie charts to illustrate correlation, time series or procedures. And the discussion of contents may be conditioned by a gender-bound knowledge or experience. By way of illustration, of the 184 pie-chart accounts, only fifty give opinions on video-console trademarks, product features and prices, and of those, only three have been written by women. Now, a tangential question arises: how can one evaluate graph contents without knowing the primary function of a graphic and its associated metadiscourse (e.g. markers of chronology, contrast, etc.)? What do my students know? Table 4, where erroneous identifications are marked with an asterisk, makes clear that correlation is the most difficult function to discriminate, and the dot chart, which precisely represents correlation, is the most conflictive visual type together with the Gaussian bell, whereas the purposes of the line graph and single horizontal bar chart are the ones best spotted. The two-variable horizontal bar graph, by contrast, is well matched with its possible functions but two of them have been wrongly omitted, while present in the one-variable version.

370 Graph functions Raw frequencies Composition Frequency Correlation Item comparison Time series

Carmen Sancho-Guinda PIE

79 4 * 1 –


4* 16 37 3 6*


– – 3* – 80









– 36 14* 2* 19

2 22 9* 79 27

12 16 79 22 2

–* 1 79 61 –*

Table 4. Raw frequencies of identifications of graph purpose according to chart type.

All in all, we can venture to say that the difficulties to understand the function of the different types of graph should not be a major hindrance to valid argumentations, as students in the main get graph functions right. Special attention must be paid to modelling the verbal expression of correlation in dot and Gaussian charts, as well as to the presentation of all the possible applications of each graph type in order to prevent omissions. Yet a linguistic effect strongly dependent on the type of graph – and by extension on the content it conveys – is variation in pronoun use. First-person pronouns are remarkably more used in the graphs representing social contexts (see the results for the ‘ctx line graph’ and the pie chart in Table 5), which indicates the bond between content and self-involvement, logically linked with the expression of stance (e.g. ‘In my opinion’, ‘I think’, ‘It seems to me’, etc.). The second-person singular pronoun ‘you’, as I have observed before, is to be associated with the students’ ignorance of the impersonalisation conventions inherent in the writing of technical instructions and procedural descriptions, which they in contrast verbalise as demos or recipes (e.g. ‘Next you put down the landing gear with green lights’). Most interesting is the profusion of the first-person plural pronoun ‘we’ in the pie chart, always inclusive and performing a double function. PERSONS (raw figures) I / me / my You / your We / us They / them / their TOTALS (609)

LINE (no ctx) 9 5 59 8 81

LINE (ctx) 16 2 57 47 122

RING (no ctx) 4 0 29 31 64

PIE (ctx) 20 21 143 33 217

Table 5. Raw frequencies of pronoun use according to chart type.

FLOW (ctx*) 0 44 10 0 54

TREE (ctx*) 0 4 47 20 71

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 ‘We’ may be part of structures with a discourse-filling role but also may fulfil a presentational and topic-shifting one fused with a solidarity strategy of shared perception, resembling Hyland’s ‘shared knowledge’, ‘directive’ and ‘endophoric’ metadiscursive items within his categorization of engagement features (e.g. ‘As we can see in the graph’). Strikingly, ‘we’ is most abundant in the least complex of graphs, the pie chart, which makes me hypothesize its function is primarily that of a discourse filler. Lastly, third-person plural pronouns have a predictably higher impact in the graphics whose content refers to third-person entities with a tangible existence (i.e. young Spaniards and video-console companies and their products), a little lower in contents about more abstract concepts (e.g. the de-contextualized TV audiences sorted out by age and the channels of the ring graph, or the aircraft categories of the tree diagram), very low in the de-contextualized time line of uncertain company sales, and expectedly non-existent in the procedural flow chart. To conclude, at a rhetorical level the type of graph and its content also determine the moves in the accounts. It can be stated that students position themselves more through the way they approach the content than through their actual evaluation of it. Differently put: stance is expressed indirectly more than directly. In Table 6 we may compare the percentages of text samples that include direct stance moves (i.e. panoramic evaluation and discussion) and indirect ones (the rest of the moves). Panoramic evaluations could be paralleled with ‘opening conclusions’, such as ‘This is a progressive/regressive trend’ or ‘Sales rose dramatically during the ten-year period’. Their frequency soars in more complex graphs with competing variables where a final outcome is expected. This is the case of the double time line showing the emancipation ages for males and females in Spain (e.g. ‘Women leave home earlier than men’), while the extreme simplicity of the pie chart, whose outcome is patent at a glance, causes frequencies to drop dramatically. In the tree diagram, singularly, we may come across qualitative evaluations of the sort ‘a/this clear classification’. Discussion is conspicuously more used in those graphs representing a true social context (the emancipation time lines and the pie chart) as they invite to express opinion more than de-contextualized charts and classificatory or procedural ones.

372 MOVES (% samples) Framing Onlooker Participant Panoramic evaluation Alternative data sorting Alternative calculation, foci or subject Discussion

Carmen Sancho-Guinda LINE (no ctx) 27.61 8.67 18.94 6.66

LINE (ctx) 76.91 33.84 43.07 89.23

RING (no ctx) 64.57 41.66 22.91 12.5

PIE (ctx) 79.34 53.80 25.54 1.63

FLOW (ctx*) 0 – – 0

TREE (ctx*) 45.23 38.09 7.14 2.38



















Table 6. Indirect positioning through genre moves.

The writers’ imprints are left indirectly on the texts in the way they select and present the commented data, which depends on graph versatility. For example, students present the data in a sequence different from that of the visual (in an ‘alternative’ one), frequently in the ring and line graphs. Time lines allow writers to comment on them chronologically (i.e. following the original visual data arrangement), or contrastively, attending to peaks, troughs, stagnation periods, etc. as criteria for grouping, and the contextualized one on emancipation ages also permits the commentary based on the gender variable. In a similar fashion, the ring graph makes possible data verbalization by age and TV channel, a progression starting from the inner rings and finishing with the outer ones (inward/outward layout) or vice versa (outward/ inward), and contrastively (i.e. by grouping the higher estimations together versus the lowest ones). The range of alternatives for the pie, tree and flow charts are obviously more limited. Alternative data presentations may also include calculations and shifts of focus or subject, as is the case for the flow chart, where the subject or focus may change at every procedural step (e.g. ‘The pilot must / has to / should do X’, ‘X must / has to / should be done’, ‘You must / have to / should do X’, ‘It is necessary to do X’). In the pie chart, students fuse percentages to create broader categories or split them up according to their own estimations for hypothesized causes and minor phenomena.

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 My students’ graph accounts normally begin with a sort of ‘framing’ of the visual that I propose as an optional move for the genre. The framing can offer an external perspective as an onlooker/ analyst, or an internal one as a participant. External perspectives consist in sentences enunciating the graph mission (e.g. ‘This pie chart shows the video-consoles most sold in Spain during 2007’) and internal ones in in medias res openings that make the text look like an ‘account in progress’, often through endophorics (e.g. ‘As can be seen in the graph…’). Whatever the perspective, this move furnishes writers with ready-made language chunks that make it handy as a horror vacui device (many times it is a superfluous move for repeating the graph title or the information contained in the legend) and politeness strategy, especially in extremely simple graphs such as the pie chart, where this strategy mitigates the abruptness of starting the account straight away with figures.

4. Didactic directions The context- and cotext-bound factors of variation studied in this chapter should be taken as points of reference for explicit instruction in the commentary of graphics. The context-dependent expectations about the academic and professional communities to which students belong provide useful clues as to the register to be employed (AW without the colloquial interference of CLT) and as to the moves structuring the account, dictated by its purpose (e.g. informative exposition, illustration, or persuasive argumentation) and the matrix genre conventions. Moves could be taught as a means to curb discourse-filling impulses and thus pre-empt redundancy, as well as of vehicles for the expression of self-positioning (i.e. stance and engagement), be it direct, as in the panoramic evaluation and discussion moves, or indirect, as in the grouping and highlighting of data and generally in the absence or presence of any move.


Carmen Sancho-Guinda

Cotext-based factors should induce students to discover the functions and metadiscourse associated with each chart type and raise their awareness of the ample margins they allow for the expression of subjectivity and the exercise of creativity, principally in the construction of inter-personal relations between writer and reader. This discovery and awareness-raising can be done in various ways: through a greater or lesser amount of metadiscursive guidance, metaphoricity, affectively-loaded terms, general or graph-specific vocabulary, modalisation, and more or less evident textual progressions. It is my hope that these guidelines may contribute to improve our understanding of the graph commentary genre and, with it, of our EAP and ESP students’ performance.

References Anthony, Laurence 2007. AntConc 3.2.1w . Bertin, Jacques 11977, 21981. Graphics and Graphic Information-Processing. Berlin: De Gruyter. Blommaert, Jan 2005. Discourse. A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Connor, Ulla 1996. Contrastive Rhetoric. Cross-cultural Aspects of Second-Language Writing. Cambridge University Press. Crewe, William J. 1990. The Illogic of Logical Connectives. ELT Journal 44/4, 316-325. Ede, Lisa S. 1989. Work in Progress: A Guide to Writing and Revising. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Fletcher, Mark / Hargreaves, Roger 1980. Defining and Verbalising. London: Evans. Goffman, Erving 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday. Goffman, Erving 1971. Relations in Public. New York: Harper & Row.

Variation in Students’ Accounts of Graphic Data


 Goffman, Erving 1974. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. New York: Harper & Row. Hinds, John 1987. Reader versus Writer Responsibility: A New Typology. In Connor, Ulla / Kaplan, Robert B. (eds) Writing across Languages: Analysis of L2 Text. Reading, MA: AddisonWesley, 141-152. Hyland, Ken 2005. Stance and Engagement: A Model of Interaction in Academic Discourse. Discourse Studies 7/2, 173-192. Hyland, Ken 2006. English for Academic Purposes. An Advanced Resource Book. London: Routledge. Johns, Ann M. 1998. The Visual and the Verbal: A Case Study in Macroeconomics. English for Specific Purposes 17/2, 183-197. Kaplan, Robert B. 1966. Cultural Thought Patterns in Inter-cultural Education. Language Learning 16, 1-20. Kress, Gunther / Jewitt, Carey / Ogborn, Jon / Tsatsarelis, Charalampos 2001. Multimodal Teaching and Learning: The Rhetorics of the Science Classroom. London: Continuum. Lemke, Jay 1998. Multiplying Meaning: Visual and Verbal Semiotics in Scientific Text. In Martin, Jim R. / Veel, Robert (eds) Reading Science: Critical and Functional Perspectives on Discourses of Science. New York: Routledge, 87-113. Lynch, Michael / Woolgar, Steve (eds) 11988, 21990. Representation in Scientific Practice. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Mackay, Ronald / Mountford, Alan 1978. The Teaching of English for Special Purposes: Theory and Practice. In Mackay, Ronald / Mountford, Alan (eds) English for Specific Purposes. A Case Study Approach. Singapore: Longman, 2-20. Martin, Jim R. / Rose, David 2003. Working with Discourse. Meaning Beyond the Clause. London: Continuum. Miller, Thomas 1998. Visual Persuasion: A Comparison of Visuals in Academic Texts and the Popular Press. English for Specific Purposes 17/1, 29-46. Miller, Thomas (ed.) 1997. Functional Approaches to Written Text: Classroom Applications. Washington, DC: USIA. Myers, Greg 1997. Words and Pictures in a Biology Textbook. In Miller (ed.), 93-104.


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Myers, Greg 2003. Words, Pictures and Facts in Academic Discourse. Ibérica 6, 3-13. Olsen, Leslie A. / Huckin, Thomas N. 1991. Technical Writing and Professional Communication. New York: McGraw-Hill. Sales, Hazel E. 2006. Professional Communication in Engineering. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Sancho-Guinda, Carmen 2011. Integrating Approaches to Visual Data Commentary. An Exploratory Case Study. In Bhatia, Vijay K. / Sánchez Hernández, Purificación / Pérez-Paredes, Pascual (eds) Researching Specialized Languages. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 115-135. Sancho-Guinda, Carmen 2012 forthcoming. Proximal Positioning in Students’ Graph Commentaries. In Hyland, Ken / SanchoGuinda, Carmen (eds) Stance and Voice in Written Academic Genres. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Scollon, Ron / Wong Scollon, Suzie 2003. Discourses in Place. Language in the Material World. London: Routledge. Stubbs, Michael 1986. A Matter of Prolonged Fieldwork: Notes toward a Modal Grammar of English. Applied Linguistics 7, 1-25. Swales, John M. / Feak, Christine B. 11994, 22004. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Swales, John M. / Feak, Christine B. 1997. From Information Transfer to Data Commentary. In Miller (ed.), 64-76. Wenger, Etienne 1998. Communities of Practice. Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


K Case Briefs in American Law Schools: A Genre-based Analysis

1. Introduction American Law School students read numerous casebooks to trace the development of specific doctrines in a particular branch of law, helped by the case-based method of reasoning. Students’ case briefs represent a form of out-of-class preparation to gain background knowledge and research. They also serve as one of the disciplinary tools students are required to master in the first year of their course curriculum. Indeed, legal cases are of utmost importance both for law students and practising lawyers in the American legal context since Common Law courts generally follow their previous judgments. As underlined by Bhatia (1993), among their various communicative purposes, legal cases can also serve as “abridged versions of court judgments”, summarized in casebooks and textbooks, considered essential tools used in law schools to train students in their skills of “legal reasoning, argumentation and decision-making” (Bhatia 1993: 119). According to Mohr (2002), summarizing cases or ‘case briefing’ enables students to understand how a court reasons and consequently to acquire the ability to reason in a logical manner; it also prepares for ‘substantive’ classes, i.e. the doctrinal ones, and also will represent an invaluable tool for a career in lawyering and legal research. As Blatt (undated) aptly remarks, Briefing is WHAT YOU DO in law school and a major part of WHAT YOU WILL do as a lawyer. Thus, learning how to brief a case is an essential skill that must be mastered and will be used throughout every person’s legal career.


Michela Giordano

A distinction must be made in order to understand what a case brief is and what it is not. A brief is a summary of an appellate court opinion. A case starts when there is a lawsuit between two or more parties. After the trial, one party wins and the other loses: the party who loses, known as the petitioner, appellant or plaintiff, can decide to file an appeal to a higher court or an appellate court, attempting to convince the appellate court to examine what was done in the trial court to review the case to prove that the trial court judge made a mistake and to overturn the lower court’s decision. The petitioner or appellant submits his brief first. The responding party (the respondent, appellee or defendant) files a reply brief within a specified time. There are two types of case briefs: a) An appellate brief or brief is a long written document, sometimes 20-25 pages long, submitted by practising attorneys or professional lawyers to an appellate court advocating or asserting the client’s position on appeal or on an issue of law. It is an advocacy paper and must be persuasive since it is submitted to a panel of judges. b) A law student brief or case brief is a learning tool, generally a single-page document that “analyzes one particular case opinion in a formulaic way” (Schelin undated). A student case brief “succinctly and clearly summarizes the relevant facts, the legal issue presented, and the reasoning the court used to reach a decision” (Garner et al. 2002: 333). It can be considered a ‘written synopsis or digest’ (Blatt undated). The present chapter focuses on the second type. In North American Law Schools, students usually study cases by briefing or summarizing them, especially during the first semester, following the structure of professional appellate law briefs. In the United States, the practice of briefing cases for study began at Harvard Law School in 1870 when Professor Christopher Columbus Langdell introduced the case method of teaching. Case briefing is a widely accepted pedagogical method among law professors in many American Law Schools: although many law professors or instructors do not require their students to turn in formal case briefs for a grade, some others require them as preparation before class, so that students are aware of cases before being

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


engaged in the Socratic case-method training which many law schools adopt in the first semester. This chapter will provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis of a corpus of K (contract) case briefs, submitted by law students to an online case brief bank. This analysis will serve to identify “preferred means of expressions and meanings” aiming at “uncovering unexpected patterns, and suggesting taxonomic hypotheses” (Hyland 2000: 151). Starting from the four-move structure of legal cases described by Bhatia (1993: 118-136), this chapter will highlight how the communicative purpose and the standard format of a classroom brief both account for the employment of a variable amount of information, distributed over a series of detailed sub-moves such as facts, procedural posture, issue, holding, and rationale. In addition, abbreviations and symbols are looked at to show how some recurring terms are abbreviated or substituted for a symbol such as K for contract, PL or Ȇ (Greek capital letter Pi) for Plaintiff, and Df or ǻ (Greek capital letter Delta) for Defendant. It will be argued that both move structure and lexical strategies represent rhetorical dimensions (Berkenkotter/ Huckin 1995) characterising the student case brief as a way of analysing a particular case opinion in a formulaic way, recording and summarizing the outcomes for further research and classroom discussion.

2. The situational and institutional context Hyland suggests that it is important to look at the “institutional context in which the genre is used in order to better understand the implicit conventions most often followed by participants in that communicative situation” (2000: 137). In US Law Schools students are expected to be prepared to discuss every case thoroughly; this is the reason why first-year students are required to read cases and summarise or brief them. Hence, writing case briefs as an assignment or as preparation for class is deemed to help students to articulate their answers when called upon by an instructor who uses the Socratic method


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of instruction (Schelin undated). Students are required to identify the facts, the legal points at issue and how the court has reasoned in reaching its decision so that they should learn to think as lawyers and develop “a clear ability to reason and argue in ways distinctive to the American legal profession” (Sullivan et al. 2007: 2). The curriculum at most American Law Schools complies with quite a standard pattern but the majority of them provide apprenticeship to the profession of law aiming at endowing students with specialised knowledge and professional identity. Law Schools are “located at the junction between academic and practitioners interests”, therefore the teaching is oriented towards the “relationship between the academic institution and the settings of practice” (Sullivan et al. 2007: 7-9). Students depend on conceptual knowledge while they gradually build up their repertoires of experience: legal analysis implies the grasping, understanding and categorising of specific matters in terms of general principles, doctrines and conceptual knowledge which constitute the background assumptions needed to engage in the real world and work at authentic cases involving real people. The analysis of legal doctrine constitutes one of the first elements of legal education in law schools, which is why the concept of signature pedagogy (Sullivan et al. 2007: 23) cannot be disregarded. This teaching method is based on a pedagogy which is “really identifiable and uniquely individual to the field”; it is a preparation for ‘good work’, a preparation of ‘the mind for practice’, through which students “understand thoroughly so they can act competently, and they must act competently in order to serve responsibly” (Sullivan et al. 2007: 23). The case-dialogue method is considered an example of signature pedagogy since students engage in intense verbal duels with the teacher, struggling to discern facts and principles of interpretation within a case. It is argued here that even case briefing can be considered a signature pedagogy method in law schools since not only does it prepare students for successive classroom discussion of a particular case, but it can also be considered a stage in the students’ formative process “during which the novice starts on the road toward assuming the identity of a competent and dedicated professional” (Sullivan et al. 2007: 30). It is believed that through the experience of actually investigating and criticising legal arguments, taking into account prece-

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


dents and exemplary cases, as if ‘working in a role’ (Sullivan et al. 2007: 39), students can gain sound confidence in writing while grasping and practising the fundamentals of legal reasoning. It can be affirmed that briefing cases helps students to learn to classify and categorise: students are trained to think in a specific way and discern between need for precision or generality, narrowing or broadening their point of observation when dealing with different situations and different persons.

3. Data and methodology The data selection for the present study was influenced by the following criteria: convenience of the collection (the case briefs under scrutiny were conveniently accessed from a single source), free availability on the web, a sufficient amount of material to be selected. The data selected is of two kinds: a) A corpus of 14 K case briefs, submitted by law students to an online case brief bank (). The website contains 1,974 case briefs in total, summarizing cases from several specific legal fields, and in particular from common firstyear courses such as Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Trusts and Wills, and Constitutional Law. b) A collection of professors’ and teachers’ course specifications and outlines, used with the aim of finding out what place case briefs occupy in law students’ academic careers, what importance is given to them and what teachers want from their students. Various ‘How to brief a case’ or ‘How to write a brief for law school’ sections in some university websites were looked at: some are directly managed by teachers and instructors giving guidelines to students for their course, others are compiled by students’ communities and associations. Professors and instructors can be considered specialist informants since they are prac-

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tising members of the disciplinary culture in which the genre of case briefs is routinely used. The case briefs will be analysed as a genre “characterized by the communicative purpose(s) that it is intended to fulfill” (Bhatia 1993: 12); the communicative purposes shape the genre giving it a precise internal structure. Case briefs are identified by their move structure, in which “each move […] serves a typical communicative intention which is always subservient to the overall communicative purpose of the genre” (Bhatia 1993: 30-32). Therefore, it is thanks to this cognitive structuring and the regularities of organization that the rationale for the genre under scrutiny can be understood. According to Bhatia (1993: 118-144) legal cases, like any other genre, have a typical cognitive structure with four main moves: Identifying the case, Establishing facts for the case, Arguing the case and Pronouncing judgment. The move Arguing the case can be further subdivided into three sub-moves, such as Stating history of the case, Presenting arguments and Deriving ratio decidendi (i.e. the judgment or rule of law which is meant to serve as precedent for future cases). Bhatia (1993: 136) underlines the fact that “depending upon the purpose that a particular case is meant to serve, cases may vary in the amount of detailed information included, and also in the choice of submoves, which are not obligatory” but can be added to provide more detailed information.

4. Analysis and discussion: the move-structure Table 1 shows the fourteen K case briefs selected from among 248 Contract Law case briefs summarizing six cases written by eight different students, amounting to more than four thousand words overall. The K case briefs are numbered progressively following the actual order in the website as it was up to June 2011. The corpus was selected to include a variety of case briefs written by different authors. The

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


shortest case brief in the sub-corpus contains 132 words and the longest 442. On examining [K64] and [K65], it can be seen that they represent two case briefs on the same legal case written by two different students. The former has 406 words and the latter 132; this difference is due to the fact that students attend different law schools and that case briefs can follow a number of formats. Therefore briefs can be extensive or short, depending on the level of analysis required by the instructor. Data Batsakis v Demotsis Dementas v Estate of Tallas Dickinson v Dodds Drennan v Star paving Co Lucy v Zehmer Odorizzi v Bloomfield School Dst 6 cases

K14 K15 K62 K63 K64 K65 K66 K67 K68 K152 K153 K154 K175 K176 14 K case briefs

Students’ initials SB CM ME JI SB JI LN MV ME SB JI ERL SB JO 8 students

Words 288 239 201 161 406 132 423 330 373 381 198 402 442 270 4,246 words (303 on average)

Table 1. Students’ K case brief corpus.

There are some elements which are common to all briefs as they are considered fundamental elements: x CASE NAME: every case has a title containing the names of the parties that are suing each other, the name of the court rendering the opinion, the year in which the decision was rendered; x FACTS: circumstances which occurred between the parties; x ISSUE: the legal question to be answered by the court; x DECISION: what was decided by the court.


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The basic structure has been labelled as IRAC from the initials of its main sections, which correspond to the following: x ISSUE: accounts for the legal problem presented by the facts of the case; x RULE: represents the applicable law to the particular case; x APPLICATION: regards the court analysis and rationale; x CONCLUSION: expresses the outcome of the case. The following case brief formats were selected from different websites and numbered from 1 to 8 for clearer reference. Some of these are included in university course outlines or specifications for the benefit of students. 1. Formats # 1, # 2 and # 3: How to Brief a Case (or-why didn’t I Choose to Go to Medical School) by Dana L. Blatt, University of Idaho; 2. Format # 4: How to Write Case Briefs: Tips for the Law Student, by Sheryl Schelin; 3. Format # 5: How to Brief a Case, by Christopher Pyle, Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; 4. Format # 6: Case Briefing: How to Brief a Case: Contract, by Kevin Mohr, Western State University College of Law; 5. Format # 7: How to Brief a Case: Tutorial, by Edward C. Martin, Samford University, Alabama; 6. Format # 8: How to Brief a Case, by Ben Templin. Table 2 shows how, starting from the basic moves of Case name, Facts, Issue and Decision and the IRAC model in Formats # 1 and # 2, other elements can be added. One of these is Procedural posture / Procedural basis or History, which is present in Formats # 3 and # 4. History is based on a very short statement, no longer than one sentence, of how and why the case is before the court; therefore it provides a very brief description of the case’s journey through the court system. Sometimes students are also invited to draft a timeline chart, providing a visual display of the various stages. Procedural basis or History accounting for the very nature of the case, generally appears at the very beginning of the brief, before the facts and sometimes just after the facts.

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools Format # 1 Basic elements CASE NAME

Format # 2 IRAC system ISSUE

Format # 3 Expanded IRAC system ISSUE









CONCLUSION + RATIONALE + PROCEDURAL BASIS NATURE OF CASE LEGAL PROCEDURE -Type of action -Type of relief -Type of procedure -Type of appeal


CONCURRENCES & DISSENTS ANALYSIS Table 2. Basic case brief formats.

According to Blatt (undated), the four elements of Procedural basis are as follows (cf. Format # 3): Type of action (why the parties are in court in the first place), Type of relief (what is the court asked to do, the type of relief sought in the trial court), Type of procedure (what moves have been made, what procedure was employed in the trial court that resulted in the matter going up to appeal) and Type of appeal (which of the various methods of appeal were employed to get the matter before the court hearing the case). The move Concurring and Dissenting Opinions is also present in Formats # 3 and # 4: it represents those occasions in which the panel of judges could not reach a unanimous decision. Since these different opinions present an alternative analysis of the case, they help students see the case in a different light and take into account alterna-


Michela Giordano

tive solutions. In Law School, concurrences and dissents are very important since learning the law is not just equivalent to memorising rules: it is “understanding the reasons and the rationalizations for why the law is what it is” (Blatt undated). This section is therefore especially important if the instructor adopts the Socratic method in class. Departing from these basic models, Table 3 shows how further elements can be added in order to provide more information, depending on the professor’s requirements for that particular class. The level of analysis of a legal case brief can vary in depth, so case briefs may differ in the amount of information included, as may the ordering of the various moves. Facts can be further subdivided into Legally significant or substantive and Background or procedural facts, such as in Format # 6. Students are invited to read the entire legal case carefully several times in order to be able to identify and isolate the relevant facts and to winnow out trivial details or irrelevant information. In Format # 7 the Caption at the beginning is further subdivided into Party names, Name of Court and Date of Decision. The name of the court and the year in which the decision was rendered can be very helpful: specific geographical location and temporal frame can help students to better understand jurisdictional variations. Furthermore, the name of the individual judge who wrote the opinion, although not included in the brief, is important: if the opinion has been written by a particularly competent or prestigious judge, students can expect a worthy and creditable analysis of the case. Contentions of Parties, i.e. parties’ arguments, can be introduced for major precision and in-depth analysis. This section allows students to focus more specifically upon the legal reasons why the appeal is being presented. Reasoning or Rationale, in Formats # 5, # 7 and # 8, is the part of the opinion which explains the court’s chain of reasoning, or why the court held it the way it did (Schelin undated). It can include a discussion of precedents or cases that dealt with the same or similar issues. Rationale is the key part of the brief because it serves to elucidate the holding (Schelin undated). This section is extremely valuable for generating classroom discussion since students must understand the court’s reasoning to analyse it and to apply it to other situations, including those which will be in the exam. The move called Holding separately answers each question posed in the Issues section. The

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


answer is generally a word or two, such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’, followed, in a sentence or two, by the legal principle on which the court relied to reach that answer. Format # 5 TITLE & CITATION

Format # 6 NAME, CITE, DATE




FACTS (F) -Legally significant or substantive -Background or procedural facts


Format # 7 CAPTION -Party names -Name of court -Date of decision












RULE COURT’S REASONING (R) -Policies -Reasons

CONTENTIONS OF PARTIES -Appellant’s contentions -Appellee’s contentions


ISSUES -Factual -Procedural -Substantive


HOLDING RULE(S) RATIONALE RESULT Table 3. Variants of case brief formats.


Michela Giordano


Subsequently, the fourteen K case briefs were analysed with respect to the eight formats explained above. Table 4 summarizes the occurrences of the various moves in the case briefs under scrutiny. Moves in the 14 K case briefs Title/case name Date of the case Citation Court Student’s/author’s name Topic (Introduction of ) Plaintiff & Defendant (Relevant) Facts Procedural Posture or History (Legal) Issue(s) Court’s Holding (Decision) Conclusion Law or Rule Court’s Rationale Application (Court’s Analysis+ rationale) Plaintiff/Defendant’s Arguments Reference to other cases Comments

Occurrences in the corpus 14 11 7 10 14 4 2 14 8 14 11 3 11 9 3 6 1 1

Table 4. Move structure and occurrences in the K case brief corpus.

The Case name is always present, while the Citation (i.e. the reference number in official casebooks) is not, since it is found only in seven case briefs out of fourteen. The Topic of the case brief is introduced just four times in the corpus. Facts are always present since they show the nature of the litigation. The History of the case, explaining what happened in the lower court and why the case has reached the appellate court, is included eight times out of fourteen, and the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s arguments are included six times out of fourteen. The case briefs were also investigated qualitatively in order to ascertain whether and to what extent the various moves are actually utilized by students. The first case brief shown below is [K65]:

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools (1)


Dickinson v. Dodds In the Court of Appeals, Chancery Division, 1876. Author: Jim Facts: D wrote to P that D agrees to sell land to P for $900 and P has until Friday 9am to accept. P found out on Thursday that D planning to sell land to someone else. P gives written acceptance to D’s mother-in-law but she forgets to give it to D. D sells land to someone else. Issue: Was D bound to wait for P’s response until 9am Friday? Holding: No Rationale: There was no contract between P and D. D only made an offer and he had the right to sell land to someone else. P found out about D sale of land to someone else and then came in with acceptance. Such acceptance did not form a contract. [K65]

As can be seen, the legal Issue takes the form of a yes/no question “Was D bound to wait for P’s response until 9am Friday?”. Instructors recommend the issue should be stated in no more than 75 words. The decision or court’s Holding is the answer to the legal issue, so if the issues have been drawn precisely, the holding can be stated by using simple yes or no answers or in short statements. The court’s Rationale is the chain of argument which led the judges to rule as they did: in this case the conclusion is that “Such acceptance did not form a contract”. In particular, in the analysis students evaluate the significance of the case, its relationship to other cases, its place in history, the court decision-making or analytical process. This may be used by the students to better understand the outcome in a particular controversy, as well as to predict outcomes in similar future cases. In the following example, the topic can be found at the top: Adequacy of consideration. The topic is a useful element for students who draft case briefs since it enables them to categorize cases quickly and group them up in the proper way for exam preparation. (2)

Batsakis(Pl/ant) v Demotsis (Df/ee) Sup. Ct. Penn.1977 Author:- Sam Biers Adequacy of Consideration Relevant Facts: Pl gave to the df 500,000 drachmaes in exchange for the future payment of $2000 U.S. dollars, plus 8% per annum. The df could not, because of the situation around WWII, get to her money. At the time 500000 drachmaes was only worth $25 U.S. dollars.


Michela Giordano Legal Issue(s): Whether the consideration was legally adequate to constitute a legally binding contract? Court’s Holding: Yes Procedure: Trial Ct. w/o a jury granted judgment to Pl for $750 plus 8% per annum from April 1942; $1,163.83. Pl appeal. Judgment for Pl against df for $2000, plus 8% from April 1942 until entry of judgment, plus 6% thereafter. Reformed and affirmed. Law or Rule(s): Courts will inquire into the sufficiency of the consideration, but not the adequacy of the consideration. Court Rationale: The trial court’s failure to enter judgment for the whole unpaid balance of the principle of the instrument with interest was error.(…) Plaintiff’s Argument: Df signed an instrument exchanging a promise to pay $2000 plus 8% per annum for 500000 drachmas. Defendant’s Argument: 500000 drachmas is only valued at $25 dollars, df never received the agreed upon $2000, the actual consideration. [K14]

In (2) as well, the Legal Issue is a question starting with whether (“Whether the consideration was legally adequate to constitute a legally binding contract?”), and the Court’s Holding or answer is simply ‘Yes’. As noted earlier, the Procedure or History narrates the entire process: in just four lines the previous events in the case are narrated. Later in the case brief, the contentions or arguments of the parties, Plaintiff’s Argument and Defendant’s Argument, precisely define what legal errors each party is asking the appellate court to correct. When students include each party’s arguments in the case brief, the formulation of a precise statement for the legal issue becomes easier and more straightforward. In this example it can be noted that many abbreviations are used. They constitute the conventional and rhetorical elements in the case brief genre and will be better explained later in this chapter. In (3) the Plaintiff and the Defendant are introduced at the beginning, and the actions that led to the appellate court stage are explained. (3)

Batsakis v. Demotsis (1949) 226 S.W.2d 673 Author: Chuck M. P = Tried to enforce his loan with D D = Loaned money from Batsakis during WWII Procedural posture: Lower ct. found for P in the amount of $750 plus interest but P appealed to obtain a judgment in the full amount. F: D loaned 500,000 drachmae from P (appx. $25) in exchange for a promissory note in the amount of $2000 plus 8% per annum. (…)

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


I: Was the consideration of $25 adequate to justify a legally binding contract? P makes two arguments: 1) want of consideration (i.e., none – and this argument fails immediately), and 2) failure of consideration (inadequate consideration) R: Courts will inquire into the legal sufficiency of the consideration, but not the adequacy of the consideration. A: “D got exactly what she contracted for according to her own testimony”. P appealed the trial Ct. decision in his favor because (…) C: Ct. held that the inadequacy of consideration will not void a contract. In this case each party met all other elements of a contract and got exactly what they contracted for. [K15]

This student used the FIRAC structure to analyse the legal problem, which is based on the IRAC model but includes FACTS. He also included the Procedural Posture or History to provide a brief background of the case. The Rule of the case represents the precedent upon which subsequent judicial opinions will be based: in this particular case, “Courts will inquire into the legal sufficiency of the consideration, but not the adequacy of the consideration”. Conclusions generally state the ultimate outcome or final resolution of the case: was the lower court affirmed (i.e. the higher court agreed with the lower court decision), or was the decision reversed (the decision of the lower court was wrong). This section is usually very short, consisting only of one or two words but in (3) a detailed explanation is given (“Ct. held that the inadequacy of consideration will not void a contract”) showing the result or court decision and this reminds students that these are real cases involving real people trying to solve their legal disputes.

5. Conventional abbreviations Several abbreviations and symbols were found in the corpus (see Table 5), which indicates that the students performed a rhetorical task “organizing and shaping the knowledge to suit various purposes and conventions of discourse” (Sullivan et al. 2007: 108). Law students are required to do a great deal of writing so they often use some legal

Michela Giordano


abbreviations and symbols which can be considered as conventions specific to this genre.

& appx./apx @ atty b/c btw K Ct. Ct of App ǻ, Df, D, Df/ee Dst, Dist. D. Ct. Lower Ct. m-i-law Ȇ, Pl, P, Pl/ant § (2nd RSTMT§90) Sup. Ct. 7K $50K/$7thou Trial Ct. w/ w/o Yr

Abbreviations and symbols in K case briefs and approximately at Attorney because between contract Court Court of Appeal Defendant/Appellee District District Court Lower Court mother-in-law Plaintiff/Appellant Section Superior court thousand thousand dollars Trial Court with without year

Table 5. Abbreviations and symbols in K case briefs.

Abbreviations are often used to avoid proper names or the repetition of terms such as Attorney (abbreviated to atty), Defendant/Appellee (abbreviated to Df, D, Df/ee), Plaintiff/Appellant (Pl, P, Pl/ant), Court of Appeal (Ct of App), or Superior Court (Sup Ct), which recur very frequently in case briefs. On other occasions, symbols and abbreviations are used to avoid irrelevant data and to reduce the risk of unnecessary confusion and overload of the information transmitted. Some conjunctions and prepositions are generally abbreviated such as @ for at;

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


appx. for approximately; btw for between; w/ for with and w/o for without. In academic writing in general, and in case briefing in particular, actors do not just conform to existing standards and routines, their exploitation of them demonstrates that they possess this knowledge for without it they would be unable to reproduce disciplinary activities (Hyland 2000: 135).

Therefore, students do not just conform to existing standards and rules but their exploitation of some rules and conventions such as the use of symbols and abbreviations demonstrates that they possess a certain knowledge of their future profession which allows them to reproduce certain disciplinary activities. Case briefs help students to “learn a new language – its vocabulary and its literature; at the same time […] (s)tudents are being introduced to the basic features of legal interpretation” (Sullivan et al. 2007: 67). The abbreviations and symbols used by students in the case brief online bank represent specific choices adopted by the writers in this particular genre and symbolize specific solutions to particular communication problems: using long words or frequently repeated items can make texts heavier and long-winded and distract writers and readers from the focal point. It can be affirmed that abbreviations and symbols, such as the structural moves identified above, are not simply ad hoc choices but represent, through their regularity and repetition, institutionally recognised communicative preferences through which writers construct and engage in disciplinary realities (Hyland 2000: 133).

As (4) shows, the student uses several abbreviations such as K for contract, D for Defendant and P for Plaintiff. Numbers are abbreviated as well, using K to mean thousand: (4)

Drennan v. Star Paing Co. – 51 Cal. 2d 409, 333 P.2d 757 (1958) Author: Mike V. […] Arguments: P – general contractor – Relied to his detriment on D’s quote. D – sub – D revoked offer before it was accepted. There was no K. […] Fact: D’s estimator gave a 7K quote for paving work to P’s secretary. P computed the bid for the overall job and relied on D’s quote. P posted a 317K

Michela Giordano


bond to guarantee the bid and won the contract. The next day, D informed P that D needed 15K, not 7K, to perform the paving work. P explained that he relied on D when determining the bid and would need D to honor the quote. D refused so P hired another sub for 11K to do the job. [K66]

The symbols ǻ (Delta) for Defendant and Ȇ (Pi) for Plaintiff listed in Table 5 were actually found in some K case briefs submitted to another website, as shown in (5): (5)

Bailey v. West, 105 R.I. 61 (1969) Facts: ǻ purchased a horse then discovered it was lame. ǻ took the horse to Ȇ’s farm. Ȇ fed and housed the horse and sent ǻ a bill which was not paid. Ȇ is suing for restitution. Issue: Was there a contract, and what is the damage for breach? Held: no contract, and since there was no request for payment prior to caring for the horse, no restitution can be paid. (Ȇ volunteered for the job.) ()

The two Greek letters are not utilized in the online case brief bank under scrutiny here, probably due to the different software used for constructing the website, which is not compatible with certain kind of fonts or symbols.

6. Conclusions The discussion above has shown that students’ case briefs can be considered an independent genre, inasmuch as they exploit specific characteristics and rhetorical features typical both of academic practice in American Law Schools and professional legal practice. Case briefs as writing assignments allow students to develop their cognitive competence by dwelling on conceptual models, schemata, logic or causal relationships, by analyzing, ordering, ranking, and matching elements. Writing assignments such as case briefs force students to read the case carefully in order to analyse it in writing and explain it to their classmates and lecturers. In this sense case briefs can be seen as a pedago-

K Case Briefs in American Law Schools


gic genre. They clearly show a consistent use of common textual features, such as a specific (though flexible) move structure, and shared rules and conventions, such as abbreviations and symbols. The classroom context and the rhetorical functions of students’ case briefs are different from the specialized rhetoric of professional writing, such as that of professional briefs. However, it can be argued here that due to their move structure and to the rhetorical devices adopted, case briefs can certainly favour apprenticeship to the legal profession. Being akin to discussions in the Socratic method of instruction, case briefs teach students ‘to think like lawyers’ and help them to develop the ability to reason and argue as professionals do. Student case briefing can be considered to be part of a ‘formative process’ (Sullivan et al. 2007: 30) through which the novice assumes the identity of a competent legal professional. Students not only build understanding of difficult legal cases, they learn what are situationally appropriate generic behaviours, such as move structure and lexical strategies and conventions, while – as young professionals – they are assimilating the epistemology of their discipline (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995: 23). Since genre conventions instantiate a discourse community’s values and ideology, it can be affirmed that through case briefing the “writing world of learning [approaches] the writing world of work” (Candlin/Bhatia/Jensen 2002: 101-114).

References Berkenkotter, Carol / Huckin, Thomas N. 1995. Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition/Culture/Power. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1993. Analysing Genre. Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman. Blatt, Dana L. Undated. How to Brief a Case. University of Idaho,

last accessed 10 December 2011.


Michela Giordano

Candlin, Christopher N. / Bhatia, Vijay K. / Jensen, Christian H. 2002. Must the Worlds Collide? Professional and Academic Discourses in the Study and Practice of Law. In Cortese, Giuseppina / Riley, Philip (eds) Domain-specific English: Textual Practices across Communities and Classrooms. Bern: Peter Lang, 101-114. Garner, Bryan A. / Newman, Jeff / Jackson, Tiger 2002. The Redbook. A Manual on Legal Style. St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West Group. Hyland, Ken 2000. Disciplinary Discourses. Social Interactions in Academic Writing. London: Longman. Martin, Edward C. 2001. How to Brief a Case: Tutorial, Samford University, Alabama. last accessed 10 December 2011. Mohr, Kevin 2002. Case Briefing: How To Brief A Case, Western State University College of Law. last accessed 10 December 2011. Pyle, Christopher 1982. How to Brief a Case. John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lloyd Sealy Library. Revised by Katherine Killoran 1999 last accessed 10 December 2011. Schelin, Sheryl. Undated. How To Write Case Briefs: Tips for the Law Student last accessed 10 December 2011. Sullivan, William M. / Colby, Anne / Wegner, Judith W. / Loyd, Bond / Shulman, Lee S. 2007. Educating Lawyers. Preparation for the Profession of Law. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Templin, Ben. 2003. How to Brief a Case, LawNerds, accessed 10 December 2011.


Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes: Students’ and Lecturers’ Perceptions and Issues Raised1

1. Introduction Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the development of ‘Web 2.0’ (O’Reilly 2005) have revolutionized the ways in which texts are produced and consumed. First, the affordances of multimedia have made it easier to create multimodal texts that draw not only on the printed word, but also on other modal resources such as images, audio and video in order to make meaning. Second, interactivity and hypertext have increased the possibility for various kinds of ‘communicational action’ (Kress 2003: 5), for example, leaving comments on a blog, a practice that leads to greater reader-writer interaction and consequent shifts in the roles of readers and writers. Finally, the growth of the Internet has facilitated the publication and sharing of digital texts, and this development has had an impact on the way that media is produced and consumed, with media consumers now taking a more active role. A ‘participatory culture’ (Jenkins 2006) has developed, with many people now participating in online ‘affinity spaces’ (Gee 2004), virtual locations where diverse groups of people can meet in order to pursue shared interests about which they are passionate, and to engage in various kinds of innovative textmaking activities (see, for example, Lam 2000; Black 2005).  1

This chapter draws on research conducted as part of a Teaching Development Project: Oral Presentations of Academic Projects: Developing Multiliteracies through English for Science. The project is funded by the Hong Kong University Grants Committee (TDG 6000302, City University of Hong Kong).


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

These changes, among others, have prompted some scholars to call into question traditional conceptions of literacy, as well as pedagogical approaches to the development of literacy (New London Group 1996). These scholars argue that the concept of literacy should be expanded beyond its usual focus on reading and writing in the traditional sense of print literacy, and they suggest including ‘new literacies’, ‘multiliteracies’, ‘digital literacies’, or ‘techno-literacy’, that is, an understanding of new forms of representation and social interaction in digital media (Unsworth 2001; Marsh 2004; Knobel/ Lankshear 2007; Jones/Hafner 2012). In view of this argument, it is suggested that literacy education “must now account for the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies” (New London Group 1996: 60). Working in the field of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Diane Belcher also remarks on these concerns, noting the likely emergence of new genres in disciplinary fields and identifying the challenge to researchers in ESP “to find ways to facilitate practitioners’ conceptualization and operationalization of a more broadly inclusive multiliteracies approach to fostering and assessing genre competence” (Belcher 2004: 177) At the same time though, university courses in English for academic purposes or academic writing must continue to recognize the dominant role accorded to reading and writing in the traditional sense (Street 2004: 12). Academic genres such as the essay, the lab report, the dissertation and the research article continue to play an important role in the academy. Thus, the ‘traditional’ concerns of literacy education – developing an understanding of reading and writing practices in a range of social contexts – remain. Our goal in this chapter is to formulate a pedagogical response to the developments in ICTs outlined above, one which balances a focus on new forms of representation in digital media with a more traditional focus on students’ development of discipline specific English for academic purposes. We focus on a tertiary course in ‘English for science’, an English for academic purposes (EAP) course specifically designed for students of science. We describe the pedagogical approach adopted on this course, which engages students in the creation of a hybrid genre in digital media, the digital video scientific documentary, a genre that functions to combine digital literacy practices with more conventional scientific literacy practices.

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


2. Course design and implementation of video project The study reported here was conducted in the context of an undergraduate EAP course in an English-medium university in Hong Kong, a required three-credit course for students from the Department of Biology and Chemistry (BCH) and the Department of Mathematics (MA). The course syllabus emphasizes using discipline-specific English within scientific contexts. Students learn to present (both orally and in writing), a scientific report following the conventional structure of Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion. Students also learn the lexical and grammatical resources required for different parts of such a report. The course lasts for one 13-week semester with one three-hour tutorial per week. The course is organized around an ‘English for science’ project, in which students work in groups of three to four to collect and analyze data for a simple scientific study. In the present case, students had a choice of two topics, both involving a modest empirical investigation:2 ‘Blind as a bat’, about the sense of sight and the blind spot in humans; ‘Taste me if you can’, about the relationship between the senses of smell and taste in humans. Students initially worked in groups to present the theory, methods and findings of their study in the form of a digital video scientific documentary. This scientific documentary combines various media, drawing on image, audio, video and text to create a multimodal product, aimed at a non-specialist audience. This hybrid genre also mixes the discourses of ‘professional science’ and ‘popular science’ (Hyland 2010) to create a text that is accessible to a wide readership. Students subsequently worked individually to represent their study in a more traditional form, as a written lab report aimed at a specialist, academic audience. In this chapter, we focus on the first part of the English for science project, the digital video project to create a scientific documentary. The digital video project was supported by a range of technological tools and resources, linked in a technological learning environment  2

The project prompts are available online at .


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

(see Figure 1). These tools and resources included: 1. Online learning management system for course administration; 2. Course weblog for reflection and sharing of digital videos; 3. Digital cameras and editing software for video production; 4. Course resource website for video editing support; 5. Course YouTube channel for sharing of digital videos.

Figure 1. Architecture of the technological learning environment (from Hafner/Miller 2011).

The digital video project involved a three-stage cycle of planning, filming and sharing, as illustrated in Figure 1. In the planning stage, students used Internet search engines and online databases to locate and evaluate relevant information for their project. This stage was supported by an in-class reading workshop, which aimed to help students develop critical literacy skills. In the second filming and editing stage, students learned to shoot movies using digital video cameras and to edit them using editing software. This stage was supported by two video workshops that provided students with hands-on practice in creating a digital story and trouble-shooting support. Out-of-class support for video editing was provided on the course resource website in the form of instructional screencasts for editing software such as Photostory 3 for Windows, Windows MovieMaker and iMovie. Finally, in the third sharing stage, all of the digital videos were uploaded to the course

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


YouTube channel and embedded in the course weblog. Students used the weblog to post and receive feedback on each other’s work after showcasing their videos in a face-to-face sharing session in class. The design of the video project, supported as it was by the technological learning environment described above, allowed students to engage in a range of new literacy practices, creating multimodal ‘texts,’ which they shared with a wide Internet audience. At the same time however, the project engaged students in the traditional, academic literacy practices associated with presenting a simple scientific study.

3. Method 3.1. Participants There were 59 student participants in this study: 30 females and 29 males, with an age range from 18 to 23. They were mostly first and second year students of Applied Biology (22), Applied Chemistry (15), Environmental Science and Management (13), Computing Mathematics (5) (4 no responses). All the participants were Chinese except for one from Burma. 21 of the students volunteered to take part in one of six follow-up focus group interviews (two-five students per group, average length approximately 70 minutes). In addition, four lecturers, disciplinary specialists from the respective parent departments, participated in a one and a half hour focus group interview. All the interviews (students and lecturers) were videotaped and transcribed for analysis. Table 1 shows the demographic background of the participants. Participants Student questionnaire Student focus group interviews Lecturer focus group interviews

Male 29 11 3 BCH, 1 MA

Table 1. Demographic background of participants.

Female 30 10 0

Total 59 21 4


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

3.2. Data sources and research instruments This study adopted a qualitative/interpretive approach (Davis 1995; Richards 2003), drawing on multiple sources of data: an anonymous student questionnaire; semi-structured focus group interviews with students and lecturers; student comments in the course weblog; student work (scientific documentaries and lab reports). In the next section, we examine data from the student questionnaire and focus group interviews with students and lecturers. The questionnaire consisted of three parts: part 1, designed to elicit background information and parts 2 and 3, student perceptions of the video project (closed items using a five point likert scale, and open items using short answers). After piloting the questionnaire, it was administered in week 7 of the course, immediately after the students had completed and presented their video project. A total of 59 out of 67 students taking the course (88%) returned the questionnaire. The focus group interviews were held after a preliminary analysis of the questionnaire data had been carried out; these interviews were intended to provide additional qualitative data about perceptions of the video project, as well as clarify questions regarding the questionnaire.

3.3. Data analysis The starting point for analysis is the quantitative data from closed items in the questionnaire. Note that this quantitative data is not intended to be generalizable: it is limited to a description of the particular perceptions of students in the present study. In order to interpret this quantitative data, we draw upon qualitative responses to open questionnaire items and focus group interviews. This qualitative data was systematically coded for emerging themes, following established practices in qualitative inquiry and allowing categories to emerge from the data in a bottom-up way (Miles/Huberman 1994). To ensure the trustworthiness of the analysis and establish consistency of findings, the research team adopted a process of constant comparison of codings, categories, and relationships (see Richards 2003). A portion of the data was first coded by the team as a group, who discussed the

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


rationale for identifying themes and categories. After this step, each member of the team coded a portion of the data individually. The team then met again to review and refine the agreed- upon categories. This combination of individual coding and team work resulted in 1,169 coded segments grouped into ten primary categories and 52 subcategories.

4. Findings In order to address the three main research questions below, the authors report students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of the project. 1. How effective did students and lecturers perceive the digital video project to be? 2. What problems did students encounter while completing the digital video project? 3. How could the digital video task be improved in future?

4.1. How effective did students and lecturers perceive the digital video project to be? 4.1.1. Perceived interest and effort Students were surveyed about their interest in the project and the findings are summarized in Table 2 below.


The video project was enjoyable The video project was interesting The video project was challenging The video project was motivating I spent a lot of time on the video project I worked hard on the video project

Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun Strongly Disagree Neither agree disagree nor disagree 0% 15% (9) 20% (12)


Strongly agree 59% (35) 5% (3)


3% (2)

20% (12)

69% (41)

2% (1)

2% (1)

2% (1)

49% (29) 46% (27)


5% (3)

39% (23)

47% (28) 8% (5)


3% (2)

12% (7)

59% (35) 25% (15)


2% (1)

10% (6)

56% (33) 32% (19)

7% (4)

Table 2. Students’ perceived interest and effort.

The majority of students agreed or strongly agreed that the project was enjoyable (64%) and interesting (76%). The overwhelming majority found the project to be challenging (95%), but students also reported being motivated to spend time (84%) and work hard (88%) on the project. Comments students made on the questionnaire survey and during their focus group interviews suggest that one reason that students enjoyed the project was because of the novelty of the medium: It was fascinating when we record the video together during an EN project. Different to a normal presentation, sometimes it’s too boring if it’s just a presentation, so videos are quite fascinating. (Questionnaire, Q28: ID20) Yeah, I also enjoyed because this is a new kind of learning. So we never met such challenging in high school, so maybe it was a new approach for us to learn how to apply our knowledge in this – making a video in this aspect was very special and this is a new challenge and I think it’s interesting, yeah. (Focus Group: Dan)

One strong motivation which students reported was their perception that they were not only composing for their course teachers, but also for an authentic Internet audience through the YouTube website and course weblog.

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


And also, maybe students find that the final product will be put onto – upload to YouTube and many people would see and so they’ve pay more efforts on making themselves more natural and making the video more attractive. (Focus Group: Nancy)

This audience could include the students’ online social network, with some students reporting that they shared their videos through sites like Facebook. Uh, after doing this project, uh, we have uploaded to the YouTube and also I have tagged it, uh, uh, in the Facebook to let my friends, uh, know more about my project so, so that I can achieve the goal that want, uh, I want the general public to know more about science. (Focus group: Bonny)

When surveyed about the most enjoyable and most useful aspects of the video project, students identified a number of features (see Table 3). Students reported that the most enjoyable aspects of the project were recording the video and working with classmates, although teamwork and the technical task of editing their video were considered to be the most useful. The process of filming gave students an opportunity to interact with their chosen teammates as well as outside participants in their experiment. Students seem to have had fun playing with the video recorder and filming each other’s presentations. I love this part of filming videos. It is because a lot of mistakes occur and it is very funny. (Questionnaire, Q28: ID14)


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

Brainstorming and planning Reading and researching Doing the experiment Acting Recording Editing Watching and sharing videos Working as a team Developing individual presentation skills

Most enjoyable* 4 2 7 5 20 5 9 10 0

Most useful* 2 7 0 1 1 30 0 18 5

Table 3: Students’ perceptions of the most enjoyable and most useful aspects of the video project (*Numbers represent the number of students who commented on this area in open questionnaire items).

However, the enjoyment of filming came not only from students having a laugh together; some students enjoyed this part of the project as it presented new challenges for them. I like this shooting process because we need to consider everything about the angles of shooting, conversations, arrangement, and writing the scripts so that everybody is involved and it’s important for the filming, so I think this is quite a good experience. (Focus Group: Harry)

Although many students mentioned that working with the technology was a challenge to them, they also seemed to appreciate the skills they learned. Editing the video is the most challenging part in the project. Since all the things which include the scene, the audio and statistics must be synchronised. We’ve spent a lot of time in synchronization. (Questionnaire, Q30: ID02) [The most useful thing I learned was] Video-editing skill, such as... adding subtitles in the video. Since I did not learn it before, after the project, I know how to make a video which is very useful for my coming projects in future. (Questionnaire, Q29: ID26)

On the whole, students perceived that they learned from the technical challenges, with 79% of students agreeing that their technical skills had improved as a result of the project (Q26 of the questionnaire).

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


In their focus group interview the lecturers were also enthusiastic about the video project. Their comments suggest that they also enjoyed the novelty of their students presenting through the digital video medium: Darren: I think your assignment is also, so creative – very creative. [Voice Overlap] Bill: Terrific assignment. (Lecturer focus group)

4.1.2. Perceptions of language skills learned Table 4 summarizes students’ perceptions of language skills learned as a result of doing the video project. As a result of doing the Strongly Disagree video project I have imdisagree proved my English language skills 0% 10% (6) my English research skills 0% 8% (5) my English reading skills 2% (1) 10% (6) my English writing skills 0% 7% (4) my English presentation skills 0% 2% (1) my English listening skills 0% 14% (8) my English grammar 0% 17% (10) my English pronunciation 0% 7% (4)

Neither agree nor disagree 47% (28) 19% (11) 44% (26) 49% (29) 25% (15) 36% (21) 41% (24) 25% (15)


Strongly agree

41% (24) 2% (1) 71% (42) 2% (1) 44% (26) 0% 41% (24) 3% (2) 63% (37) 10% (6) 44% (26) 7% (4) 41% (24) 2% (1) 59% (35) 8% (5)

Table 4. Students’ perceptions of language skills learned.

One of the main aims of the video project was to help students improve their English presentation skills. We were therefore pleased to see that 73% of the students agreed that the project had assisted them in this aim. In addition, students perceived gains in a range of other areas. The majority of students felt that they had improved their English research skills (73%) and their pronunciation skills (67%), while reading, writing, listening and grammar all received between 43% and 51% of the students’ support. The range of gains reported was slightly unexpected, but the findings can easily be understood because the digital video project engaged students in a range of roles: researchers, fieldworkers, directors, script-writers, actors, editors and so on. As


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

one student commented, the project design ‘integrated’ a range of different practices, from researching to presenting to expressing ideas: So actually I think this video project is not just a simple combination of several individual trainings. It is more like an integrated work. So what I mean by integrated is that in this project you cannot only train your English, you could also, I mean more importantly, it trains you how to do research and how to express your idea in English. (Focus Group: Xen)

In focus group interviews, students were asked to explain how the project had contributed to their learning in the areas identified. Their comments suggest three factors: 1. The digital video medium; 2. Teamwork; 3. Interaction with project participants/subjects. Students reported that they spent a considerable amount of time recording and re-recording their presentations, in an effort to perfect them. This kind of recording was facilitated by the immediate feedback possible with the digital video cameras, which allowed students to evaluate their performance and improve on it. I also have record many times as I was responsible for the discussion part and [pause] and every time I record and then I listen to my voice, I just think that my pronunciation, my intonation is not good enough and I try to record it again and again. (Focus group: Cath)

Students also reported that working in a team encouraged peer teaching of relevant English language skills. Also, actually my group mates helped me a lot… For example, actually the script of the theory part is written by Janet and I’m going to edit it. And if she don’t explain the words to me, what is the theory about, and I must consume so much time on understanding the script. (Focus group: Nancy)

Finally, students who had to enlist the help of participants in their study reported that this task also led to additional opportunities for them to practice using English. [This project] also trains my some other skills such as social interactive skills because I have to interview different people and because they are strangers and I have to [sort out?] a way to communicate. (Focus group: Xen)

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


When lecturers were asked to comment on students’ use of English in some of the videos, they responded positively, saying that they felt their students’ use of scientific English was generally appropriate: I thought the presentation overall, again, it was very, very good. (Lecturer Focus Group: Bill) The narration is good and the video – I mean preparation was fantastic. (Lecturer Focus Group: Keith) Well, I give them a score of 75% or 80% in terms of the use of scientific language. (Lecturer Focus Group: Ralph)

4.1.3. Perceptions of relevance and usefulness of the skills learned We were aware that our students had spent a large amount of their time outside of class hours in producing their videos, so we were also interested to find out whether (or not) they felt that what they had learnt was of use in other areas of their academic or personal lives. Table 5 shows that the majority of students felt that the skills learned on the project were useful to them personally (74%), but fewer of them were able to link their learning on the project to other course work (49%) or their future careers (43%). Only 20% of students agreed that the skills learned on the project were relevant to their major subject. The skills I learned by doing the video project are useful for my studies useful to my career useful to me personally relevant to my major subject

Strongly Disagree Neither disagree agree nor disagree 0% 10% (6) 41% (24) 0% 14% (8) 44% (26) 0% 5% (3) 20% (12) 3% (2) 25% (15) 51% (30)


Strongly agree

39% (23) 10% (6) 36% (21) 7% (4) 66% (39) 8% (5) 20% (12) 0%

Table 5. Students’ perceptions of relevance and usefulness of the skills learned.

One reason that students appear to have found the video project personally useful is because it gave them an opportunity to learn to create a video with digital media. As noted by one student, such new activities are valuable in the digital age.


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

[The most useful thing that I learned was] The procedures and element to make a documentary. I think as a 21st university graduates, it’s better if we have some knowledge of multimedia production. (Questionnaire, Q29: ID34)

It is noteworthy that, in the questionnaire, most students perceived the project to be personally useful but few considered it relevant to their major subject. When asked to comment on this in focus group interviews, students explained that making video presentations was not a requirement for other courses in their major. One student noted that “video is not a major way for the presentation for studying in sciences subject” (Focus group: Dan). Nevertheless, some students were able to see the possibility of transferring skills to tasks for their major subjects, as evidenced by the following student comment: Actually, in this project, I learned many skills besides case studies or content, the technique of making a video also as we said before the presentation skills. It also let us become more creative and I have many other subjects require us to present in the class. And I would like to use more multimedia in my presentation later on and I think it would be attract my audience is the difference. (Nancy, Focus group)

The lecturers characterized the experiment as ‘appropriately simple’ but echoed the sentiments of the students, that video was a novel medium which they themselves do not draw upon in assignments for the major subject. One lecturer commented that “we don’t do it like that” (Lecturer focus group: Darren).

4.2. What problems did students encounter? In the open questionnaire items, the majority of students commented on difficulties they encountered with the editing process, and with time management (see Table 6).

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes

Brainstorming and planning Recording Editing Working as a team Time management


Problems encountered* 4 7 37 6 16

Table 6. Students’ perceptions of problems in the video project (*Numbers represent the number of students who commented on this area in open questionnaire items).

The qualitative data suggest that difficulties with editing were of a technical nature. Technical problems… I cannot use Windows Movie Maker well when I am editing the video. It took me nearly six to seven hours to finish a part only within three minutes. (Questionnaire, Q30: ID45) Yes. Um, for me I’m working on the editing process so that I do face some technical challenges as the softwares, I was new to use the software… I would – I search some user manuals in the internet and try to understand it, follow the step and find out what should I do to do a particular job. (Focus Group: Ian)

As with most group projects, students encountered difficulties in managing their teamwork and time. Students needed to co-ordinate their schedules and find suitable times to meet in order to do background research, collect data, write a script, film, and edit their work. The major problem was the lack of time. It’s difficult for us to take the video as we have different timetables. Also, loads of time was required for video editing as we were not familiar with the softwares at the beginning. (Questionnaire, Q30: ID07)

Once again, the challenges encountered appear to have been met positively by students, with 81% agreeing that their teamwork skills had improved as a result of doing the video project.


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

4.3. How could the digital video task be improved? When we asked the students how the project might be improved, two further areas stand out in the data: having more choice of topics for the video production, and having more technical support (see Table 7).

Editing Time management Topic Group size

Improvements suggested* 8 10 18 4

Table 7. Students’ suggested areas for improvement (*Numbers represent the number of students who commented on this area in open questionnaire items).

Although the course designers felt that the two topics presented to the students were easy to handle and interesting, several students commented that they would have preferred to choose the topic themselves. Not surprisingly, many students felt that as they were science students they could find more interesting scientific topics. In addition some other students commented that they would prefer to choose non-scientific topics for their projects. For me, although the topic is, uh, quite easy to handle and I think we should choose the topic by ourselves… as I am a Chemistry student, I want to do a scientific project related to Chemistry. (Focus Group: Paul) As I am a science student, I would like to take video that is not related to science. Instead, maybe something that about art or music, I think this will be much more interesting. (Questionnaire, Q31: ID03)

The main suggestion from the lecturers taking part in the focus group discussion was that future digital video projects could be more sophisticated in terms of the science: the topics could be ‘ramped up’. They would like to see their students do more ‘real’ experiments and perhaps even link their project work in the EAP course to their disciplinary studies, thereby ‘killing two birds with one stone’.

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


…maybe more experiments, more real experiments, comparison of the literature results, for example. (Lecturer Focus Group: Keith) Well, I wonder… whether we couldn’t tailor this into some of our practical sessions. So if we had some Chemistry students, we could give them a Chemistry practical. (Lecturer Focus Group: Bill) Just ramp up the sophistication of the Maths. And then we’re killing two birds with one stone. Um, or actually, three. We’re getting at their English, we’re getting at their science, and we’re getting at their very poor knowledge of Mathematics [Laughs]. (Lecturer Focus Group: Bill)

5. Discussion The EAP course described here aimed to combine the traditional focus on disciplinary genres with a focus on new media practices as part of a digital video project. The feedback from students and lecturers strongly suggests that the course was successful in this regard. The findings show that students found the digital video project to be enjoyable, interesting, challenging and motivating (see Table 2). In addition, students perceived that they had developed a range of language skills, especially English presentation skills, pronunciation skills and research skills (see Table 4). These findings support the notion that the digital video project promoted the type of language skills that would normally be targeted on an EAP course. In addition, there is evidence that the project supported the development of new literacies for the digital age, the kinds of practices that would be needed by ‘21st century students’. In particular, the results show that students perceived that they had developed video-editing skills, associated visual communication skills, and the ability to work in a team. Feedback from lecturers was similarly positive, with lecturers commenting positively on the new forms of representation used by students in the project and the appropriate use of scientific English by the students. The findings also highlight two main issues. The first of these is the sophistication of the project topics, with both students and lecturers


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

expressing some reservations. In practice, this issue has been resolved by greater involvement of the participating lecturers, who offered to help develop more sophisticated scientific topics for the course. As a result, subsequent iterations of the course have involved a range of lab experiments and scientific studies created by the disciplinary specialists themselves. We see this close collaboration as a positive development for the course, but one that needs to be handled sensitively. The challenge is to provide students with more authentic discipline-specific tasks, while at the same time maintaining the focus of the course on English language and academic literacy (Spack 1988; Hyland 2002). The second issue relates to the perceived relevance of the digital video project to students’ major subjects. While a majority of students reported that the skills learned on the project were useful for them personally, only one in five agreed that the skills learned were relevant to their major subjects (Table 5). This gives rise to an apparent mismatch: even though students perceived value in the digital video project, they did not perceive that the skills learned could be immediately applied in the context of their studies. As noted, students explain this perception by pointing out that the video medium is not utilized for assignments in the major subject, an impression that was confirmed in our interviews with lecturers. The question that then arises is: In view of this perception, can the use of the digital video scientific documentary genre be justified? We believe that it can, for three main reasons. Firstly, the digital video project acts as a motivational bridge to more traditional writing tasks, such as lab reports. On the course in question, students not only present their findings in the form of scientific documentaries, but subsequently also in the form of written lab reports. Students thus move from a more popular genre designed for a wide audience of non-specialists to a more specialized genre that must conform to the norms of the scientific discourse community. The findings clearly show that students enjoyed the opportunity to become actors, directors and editors of a popular documentary, and it seems likely that the requirements of the genre were accessible to them. Students had clear ideas about what makes a good documentary and emphasized the need to catch the attention of their audience through creative use of visuals and narrative devices. When students subsequently re-contextualized their projects as written lab reports, it was possible to reflect on the similarities and differences

Digital Video Projects in English for Academic Purposes


between the two genres in terms of rhetorical structure and community norms. For example, by contrasting the openings of scientific documentaries and lab reports, teachers could highlight that there is a similar need in both genres to attract the attention of the audience, but point out that very different rhetorical resources are used to achieve this end. The second point, related to the first, is that the digital video project engages students with an authentic audience consisting of their classmates, friends and the general public. As noted, the students’ videos were publically accessible on the YouTube website and in the course blog, and a number of students also shared their videos with friends through popular social network sites like Facebook. On the course described then, students learn ways of communicating in science that can be applied to both specialist and non-specialist audiences. Unlike some courses in EAP, the course does not assume that disciplinary communication is limited to communication between specialists. Rather, it is assumed that disciplinary specialists are increasingly engaged with a range of different audiences including experts from other fields, the media, and the general public. Under such circumstances, the ability, promoted by the digital video project, to make scientific information accessible to a non-specialist audience and relate technical concepts to everyday situations, is an increasingly important one. Promoting the public understanding of science is increasingly a goal in the academy, and in the growth of publications about scientific subjects designed for a non-specialist audience. Finally, the findings show that students perceive gains in a range of visual communication skills, such as constructing multimodal arguments, manipulating image, audio and video. Although the students felt that these skills are not directly applicable in the context of assignments for the students’ major subjects, they nevertheless perceived them as important skills for the digital age. There is a growing body of research that documents the way that multimodal forms of communication are proliferating across a range of different contexts. For example, Lemke’s (1998) study shows that advances in new technologies have brought with them an attendant increase in the use of multimodal content in printed newspapers and scientific textbooks. In the academic context, work by Engberg and Maier (2011) describes the use of video essays in academic journals in the humanities. The video essay also appears to be


Christoph A. Hafner / Lindsay Miller / Connie Ng Kwai-fun

a genre that academics can adopt in order to reach out to a broader audience of non-specialists, as anthropologist Michael Wesch (2007) managed to do with his short film The Machine is Us/ing Us, a YouTube video that at the time of writing has been viewed over eleven million times. Other research in progress (Paltridge/Starfield/Ravelli 2011) shows how new visual genres are emerging within the academy, in the context of PhD dissertations in fine arts. All of these studies suggest that, even in formal academic contexts, the role of visual communication is increasing in importance. As a result, some sort of focus on visual communication skills in EAP courses may be warranted.

6. Conclusion In this chapter we have attempted to formulate a pedagogic response to the challenge that emerging digital literacy practices pose to EAP courses. The approach adopted broadens the traditional focus of the EAP course on academic genres, by introducing students to a hybrid genre, the digital video scientific documentary. In creating and publically sharing this digital video, students experimented with innovative, multimodal forms of representation and considered how to attract the attention of a different kind of audience – a non-specialist audience on the Internet. The findings show that students and lecturers perceive value in this approach, which was found to be motivating, supportive of the development of language skills, and supportive of the development of digital literacies. The findings further suggest that such a use of digital media should be balanced by a focus on the more ‘traditional’ genres of the academy that students can immediately apply in the context of their disciplinary studies. The approach adopted here does so by having students rework their video projects as written lab reports for a specialist audience. In this way, the video project acted as a motivational ‘bridge’ to more traditional writing tasks, engaging students with both specialist and non-specialist audiences and at the same time giving students the opportunity to experiment with new forms of visual communication.

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References Belcher, Diane 2004. Trends in Teaching English for Specific Purposes. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24/1, 165-186. Black, Rebecca W. 2005. Access and Affiliation: The Literacy and Composition Practices of English-language Learners in an Online Fanfiction Community. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 49/2, 118-128. Davis, Kathryn A. 1995. Qualitative Theory and Methods in Applied Linguistics Research. TESOL Quarterly 29/3, 427-453. Engberg, Jan / Maier, Carmen D. 2011. From Academic Research Articles to Academic Visual and Video Essays: Only a Multimodal Transition? Paper presented at the CERLIS Conference, Centro di Ricerca sui Linguaggi Specialistici, University of Bergamo, Italy, June 23-25. Gee, James P. 2004. Situated Language and Learning: A Critique of Traditional Schooling. New York: Routledge. Hafner, Christoph A. / Miller, Lindsay 2011. Fostering Learner Autonomy in English for Science: A Collaborative Digital Video Project in a Technological Learning Environment. Language Learning & Technology 15/3, 68-86. Hyland, Ken 2002. Specificity Revisited: How Far should we Go Now? English for Specific Purposes 21/4, 385-395. Hyland, Ken 2010. Constructing Proximity: Relating to Readers in Popular and Professional Science. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9/2, 116-127. Jenkins, Henry 2006. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. Jones, Rodney H. / Hafner, Christoph A. 2012. Understanding Digital Literacies: A Practical Introduction. London: Routledge. Knobel, Michele / Lankshear, Colin (eds) 2007. A New Literacies Sampler. New York: Peter Lang. Kress, Gunther 2003. Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge.


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Lam, Wan Shun Eva 2000. L2 Literacy and the Design of the Self: A Case Study of a Teenager Writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly 34/3, 457-482. Lemke, Jay. L. 1998. Multiplying Meaning: Visual and Verbal Semiotics in Scientific Text. In Martin, James R. / Veel, Robert (eds) Reading Science: Critical and Functional Perspectives on Discourses of Science. London: Routledge, 87-113. Marsh, Jackie 2004. The Techno-literacy Practices of Young Children. Journal of Early Childhood Research 2/1, 51-66. Miles, Matthew B. / Huberman, A. Michael 21994. Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. New London Group 1996. A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures. Harvard Educational Review 66/1, 60-92. O’Reilly, Tim 2005. What is Web 2.0? Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation. Retrieved June 12, 2009, from . Paltridge, Brian / Starfield, Sue / Ravelli, Louise 2011. Textographies and the Researching of Academic Writing: Doctoral Theses in the Visual and Performing Arts. Paper presented at the CERLIS Conference, Centro di Ricerca sui Linguaggi Specialistici, University of Bergamo, Italy, June 23-25. Richards, Keith 2003. Qualitative Inquiry in TESOL. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Spack, Ruth 1988. Initiating ESL Students into the Academic Discourse Community: How Far should we Go? TESOL Quarterly 22/1, 29-51. Street, Brian 2004. Academic Literacies and the ‘New Orders’: Implications for Research and Practice in Student Writing in Higher Education. LATISS: Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences 1/1, 9-20. Unsworth, Len 2001. Teaching Multiliteracies across the Curriculum. Buckingham, PA: Open University Press. Wesch, Michael 2007. Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us. Retrieved from .


Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization in Academic Settings

1. Introduction Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are touch-sensitive boards within which a series of multimedia resources may be integrated. The presence of IWBs has increased significantly in both professional and educational settings in the last few years. With particular regard to the context of education, the use of this tool is now consolidated in primary and secondary schools in several countries and has recently received considerable scholarly attention (e.g. Miller/Glover 2002, Solvie 2004); research has generally confirmed the positive impact of IWBs to enhance students’ participation and involvement in lessons and their achievement of educational success. However, IWBs are less extensively present in academic settings, and research on their use in academia is consequently relatively limited (cf. Bertarelli et al. 2010). The first section of this chapter describes the type of board examined here (Smart Board) and its main features. Then the chapter moves to the investigation of how and to what extent Information and Communication Technology (ICT)1 tools, and in particular IWBs, may enhance the hybridization of academic genres. In particular, consideration is given as to the way in which the use of this type of board may contribute to combining and merging features that usually typify different genres, such as lectures, seminars, workshops and presentations. The third part of the chapter investigates the use of an IWB in Business English courses at the University of Bergamo, Italy. The study analyses specific moments of interaction in these lectures and 1

For a discussion of the use of ICT in education see inter alia Chin (2004).


Patrizia Anesa / Daniela Iovino

particular attention is devoted to moments that display features that may be associated with different genres. The concluding section argues for further investigation within this area if a better understanding of the potential impact of IWB on academic communicative events and genres is to be reached.

2. Using IWBs in academia: Practical aspects The IWB is a transportable touch-sensitive board that is connected to a portable computer and also to the classroom projectors. The normal use of an IWB would imply the instructor working directly on the board, having the students focus their attention on one single spatial area, instead of moving from the observation of the teacher to the observation of projectors and vice-versa. The whiteboard used in this project is a short-throw projector with a 77” wide screen (Smart Board). The device does not display an integrated CPU, and therefore it is a particularly flexible product that can be used with different computers (both Windows and Mac), so that the teachers can use their own laptop with no need to transfer their files onto another computer. In the case described here, the video output allowed the device to be connected to the projector system available in the room, and the presentation could be displayed on different screens simultaneously, which was a further advantage, given the large number of students present. This feature, which is less important in the context of primary and secondary school teaching, is particularly significant in university lectures, at which the large number of students and the large size of the rooms can often impede the view. The number of students attending classes was variable because attendance was not compulsory and because of occasional schedule clashes. However, the average number of students attending was between 30 and 50. The classrooms used were, in fact, quite large and students were therefore encouraged to sit in the front rows in order to improve participation and visibility. The board was placed very close

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


to the first rows of desks and not behind the teacher’s desk, an arrangement that allowed the instructor not to be confined to a tool that separated her from the class, and also to maintain a more dynamic interaction with the entire group. Proxemics and kinesthetic factors were also deemed to play a considerable role in that students could see directly the teacher working on the material and could also observe all the modifications that were carried out on the texts. The main benefits of using this model of IWB in this context include the multimodal possibility of manipulating texts, images and videos. For example, the instructor could add comments using the digital ink tool. Furthermore, such notes could be saved (they could also be automatically saved at regular intervals), and could therefore be available for later use. All types of files could be immediately shown and modified. The software available allowed the user to intuitively apply the tools; for example, pens, eraser, etc. could be used exactly like on a traditional board with the advantage that everything appearing on the screen could be saved and later used, for instance, to prepare presentations and demos. Audio and video recording was also available, features which allowed the instructor to create interactive video-lessons.

3. Hybridization of academic genres 3.1. The lecture as a genre The notion of genre is inevitably protean and multifaceted. For the purpose of this study, following Barkenkotter and Huckin (1995), we will briefly outline some of the theoretical principles that may be adopted to frame the concept of genre: x Dynamism: genres are continuously evolving and changing in relation to the sociocognitive needs of different communities. x Situatedness: knowledge of genres can be seen as a form of situated cognition.

422 x

x x

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Form and content: genre knowledge includes knowledge of the appropriateness in terms of both form and content to a specific situation, which is a fundamental aspect of genre knowledge (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995: 1-25). Duality of structure: genres are constitutive of social structures, and at the same time they are a reproduction of such structures. Community ownership: communities2 share a common set of interests (e.g. Wenger 1998), purposes (e.g. Swales 1990), and knowledge (e.g. Hyland 2006).

It has often been argued that genres display a tension between stability and change (cf. Schryer 1993), and between conventionalized structures and flexibility, and they are inevitably manipulated and modified according to the specific communicative event and the participants involved. As regards academic genres, it is true that considerable research has recently been devoted to learning and teaching environments in academic settings.3 Some studies have investigated the features of lectures, often tackling issues related to their comprehension, especially in second language lectures or in cases where English is used as a Lingua Franca (Flowerdew/Miller 1992, 1996; Crawford Camiciottoli 2004; Morell 2004). Lectures have also been analysed in relation to, for instance, metadiscursive and cohesive features as well as intonation aspects (Thompson 1994, 2003) and signalling cues (e.g. Flowerdew/Tarouza 1995). Our reflection on academic genres draws on Hyland’s observation that “while research discourses have gathered considerable celebrity and attention, genres concerned with the more work-a-day functions of teaching and learning have, until quite recently, been of less interest to researchers. Lectures, classroom teaching and textbooks, however, are the bread and butter of university life” (Hyland 2009: 96). Indeed, it is our interest to focus on teaching and learning con2


For further details cf. the notions of speech communities (Hymes 1971), interpretive communities (Fish 1980), discourse communities (Swales 1988, 1990) and communities of practice (Lave/Wenger 1991, Wenger 1998). Besides Flowerdew’s (1994) seminal work, see e.g. Morell (2004); Bondi/ Bamford (2005).

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


texts as we deem them to be a crucial area of academic discourse. In particular, we decided to devote our attention to lectures, in light of Flowerdew’s (2002: 5) consideration that “[t]he lecture, as a genre, while still predominant in undergraduate education, […] remains relatively neglected”. The events observed in this chapter could be broadly defined as university lectures even though, as will be shown, such definition is not uncomplicated. These events may be seen to fall within the category of instructional discourse (cf. Hyland 2009), even though it is clear that broad areas of academic discourse4 inevitably overlap and are reciprocally influenced. Hybridization could be observed from a variety of perspectives (see Anesa 2010), for example, in the way that different modes (for instance writing and speaking) constantly interplay, or the way that different registers, styles, and genres interact and are constantly interlinked. Such hybridization is inherent in different instantiations of academic discourse, and lectures are no exception. Indeed, a university lecture can intuitively be seen as constitutive of a genre because of the conventions and the communicative goal that characterize it. Academic discourse may involve different types of participants. Following Widdowson (1979; see also Sala 2008), it is possible to identify three main categories of addressees of academic texts, namely: x other experts (informative, argumentative, persuasive texts); x future experts (educational texts); x non-experts (informative, but ‘popularized’ texts). Although lectures are generally identified as examples of educational texts addressed to future experts, it is also clear that the contours of such categories are not always clear-cut. Lectures indeed may involve a wide range of different participants, and texts often display the copresence of different functions (informative, educational, persuasive, etc.). A lecture can be characterized by an infinite number of styles. For instance, Dudley-Evans (1994: 148) identifies three main styles, namely: 4

In his categorization Hyland (2009) lists, for instance, research discourses, instructional discourses, student discourses, popular discourses.

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424 1. 2. 3.

Reading style: the lecture is read or presented as if it was being read; conversational features and intonational range are minimized. Conversational style: the lecture displays a relatively higher use of informal, conversational and interactional features. Rhetorical style: the lecture is characterized by a wide intonational range and a high use of conversational features, as well as jokes and digressions (cf. Benson 1994).

According to Benson (1994), there has been a constant shift towards a more informal style, even though it is not possible to clearly state which style is predominant. We would also like to highlight that these three styles, however, may overlap and their boundaries blur. Lectures can also be placed along a continuum between a monologic and dialogic mode of interaction, as well as between a predominantly expository style and a more elicitative one. It is intuitively clear that “lecture delivery style is affected by the context and purpose of the lecture” (Nesi 2001: 216), as well as by the number of participants, their characteristics (cf. Chiang/Dunkel 1992), the physical setting, and the rules and praxis adopted in a certain institution. Enhancing class participation may be particularly complex in case of students whose level of English is not advanced, as this factor may lead them to be even more reticent to intervene verbally in discussions, because of, inter alia, difficulty in the language and lack of confidence. As will be discussed below, the use of interactive boards may encourage a more active approach on the part of the students, or at least contribute to clarity.

3.2. Instructional genres and ICT Genres are inevitably interlinked and may also be subject to cultural variations so that event types that have similar features may in turn be labelled differently; for instance, events such as a seminar, a colloquium, and a round table may display broadly similar characteristics. Some genres (e.g. a lecture) may have more intuitively explicit conventions than others. However, they may also present traits that are typical of other events, such as presentations, seminars or workshops.

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


It cannot be denied that the person in charge of leading the event plays a fundamental role in moulding the event itself; for instance, he/she may intervene on the level of interaction, formality, register, etc. Instructional academic genres are extremely diversified and multifaceted. They have also undergone major changes since the Internet revolution, which has contributed to the hybridization of academic events and has brought with it new challenges linked, for instance, to the integration of synchronous and asynchronous teaching, written and spoken modes and the integration of different modalities. Academic genres are often divided into two main categories, namely written and spoken genres, and lectures still remain, to some extent, the epitome of academic spoken genres. However, the use of ICT in academic teaching contexts has brought with it a wide series of hybrid forms. Lectures are not a homogenous genre and often more traditional methods of delivering lectures coexist with new interactive methods which are facilitated by the use of ICT. It is not our aim to enter the debate on what ICT is to be deemed more appropriate in lectures, nor to discuss the benefits and the drawbacks of lectures supported by tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint or similar programs and the implications related to their use (cf. Meyers 2000, Szabo/Hastings 2000, Meyer 2001, Bartsch/Cobern 2003, Blokzijl/Naeff 2004, Mahin 2004, Tufte 2003). Rather, we aim to observe whether and how the use of one specific type of ICT may contribute to the phenomenon of genre hybridization, which is an increasingly salient aspect of academic discourse. It can also be argued, however, that the use of certain tools and technologies may be an enhancer of hybridization. For instance, an IWB can easily be used to give presentations; it can also be used in workshops (where students can actively work on the tool), for lectures with a large number of students, as well for lessons with small classes. The versatility of the tool allows the integration of elements that generally characterize different events within the same context. This is not to say that this would not be possible without the use of specific technological tools, but simply that such integration is made smoother and faster.

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4. Analyzing lectures Despite the variety of instructional activities present in academia, it has often been stated that lectures remain central (e.g. Flowerdew 1994). It has often been observed that the boundaries between different academic genres may be very blurred. Indeed, similar events may assume different definitions because of several factors, such as institutional rules, cultural conventions, type and number of the participants involved, etc. The events here observed are called lectures within the institution where they took place. There is no discriminatory number of students that can discern between a large and small lecture. However, the average number of students in the events described below was 5060, and for the purpose of the study, the events here observed will be labelled as ‘small lectures’. More specifically, the events investigated were a series of 41 lectures given by the same lecturer. The duration was three hours, twice a week. The majority of students were first-year undergraduates, most of them being Italian native speakers.

4.1. Lectures as a mixed genre There is wide consensus on the idea that hybridity in genres is the norm rather than the exception. In the following oft-quoted passage Bakhtin illustrates the innate hybridity that is typical of speech genres:5 The wealth and diversity of speech genres are boundless because the various possibilities of human activity are inexhaustible, and because each sphere of activity contains an entire repertoire of speech genres that differentiate and grow as the particular sphere develops and becomes more complex. (Bakhtin 1986: 60)

Lectures may be extremely complex, diverse and hybrid. In particular, hybridization can also be observed in the light of the phenomena of intertextuality and interdiscursivity. The former is here intended as 5

In Bakhtin’s view speech genres are intended as both spoken and written genres.

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


“the property of one text being used in another, either directly or by pragmatic implication” (Bhatia et al. 2004: 204; cf. Bhatia 1983). Interdiscursivity is here seen as a form of ‘constitutive intertextuality’ (Fairclough 1992: 85). As Fairclough notes: “On the one hand, we have the heterogeneous constitution of texts out of specific other texts (manifest intertextuality); on the other hand, the heterogeneous constitution of texts out of elements (types of convention) of orders of discourse (interdiscursivity)” (Fairclough 1992: 85). Interdiscursivity is therefore linked to the concept of a “particular mix of genres, of discourses, and of styles” (Fairclough 2003: 218). More specifically, intertextuality is constantly manifested in lectures, where different written, spoken and visual texts are inevitably incorporated: (1)

L:6 Ok let’s read this passage together.

Even a reading style may be alternated with a conversational and a rhetorical style (Dudley-Evans 1994: 148) and the reading can give way to puns, jokes, and digressions, as often happens in the lectures observed: (2)

L: Ok, now that you know what ‘catch up’ means in English, I’ll have to tell you a joke.

Intratextual references are a common feature of academic genres and they are also present in lectures: (3)

L: We’ll get back to this in a minute.


L: Keep this definition in mind, because we’ll get back to this in a second.


L: So, what was the definition of Ponzi schemes? Ok, let me show you again.

In the latter case a previous file showing the topic in question is quickly retrieved by operating the board. This is clearly not to say that a similar process would not be available without the use of the IWB, but simply that this passage is made particularly quick and easy. The document referred to is not only mentioned, but also visually shown instantly. 6

L = lecturer; S = student.

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428 4.2. Style and interactivity

It has often been noted that there may be (more or less implicit) conventions on the lecturing style to be adopted, but such styles are not dictated and their level of standardization may vary considerably. Indeed, as Bligh remarks, “[t]here may be some wrong ways, but there are many right ways. If everyone lectured the same way, students’ academic diet would be very monotonous” (1998: 148). Consequently, there is not one uniform and standardized style of delivering lectures; rather, a difference exists between different instructional activities. Many variables affect the delivering style adopted in specific activities, such as lectures. In particular, Saroyan and Snell (1997: 85) highlight that choices often depend on “one’s philosophy and beliefs about teaching, the pedagogical principles incorporated in the instruction and resources and realities surrounding the instructional situation”. Indeed, lectures can display very different features and some of the variables that affect the lectures are, among others: the lecturers (their style, their background, their pedagogical credo); the participants (and their number, age, culture, etc.); the setting (the size of the room, the tools available, etc.); the subject. Interviews with the lecturer reveal that she believes in the usefulness of a dialogic approach. For example, she points out that the attention span is necessarily limited and, therefore, it’s important to involve students as much as possible. Moreover, active participation is also a chance for them to practice speaking. The lectures here observed include a variety of different communicative modes, each of which is characterized by significant differences in the level of interaction: x Monologic (lecture – students) x Dialogic7 (lecturer – students – lecturer) x Group tasks (student – student) The monologic mode is predominant in the lectures observed, as is typical of this event. However, dialogic interaction may also be present. The dialogic approach is in line with the initiation-response- evalua7

Among the different interpretations available, the term ‘dialogic’ is here intended as ‘opposed to monologic’ (cf. Wegerif 2007: 15).

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


tion (IRE) pattern described by Cazden, who remarks that “the threepart sequence of teacher initiation, student response, teacher evaluation (IRE) is the most common pattern of classroom discourse at all grade levels” (Cazden 1988:30). This pattern can also be present in lectures and may have important implications for the structure of the lecture itself.8 In a classroom environment, it is the teacher who generally initiates this form of interaction, typically using a question form. A similar pattern is followed in the dialogic moments of interaction between the lecturer and the students: (6)

L: So if I buy shares these shares here, and then I sell these shares here, I am a …? S: (Inaudible) L: A speculator, exactly. Bull or bear?


L: Right, questions about this graph? S: (Inaudible) L: Ok, Ponzi schemes. Let me give you an example.

Through elicitation the lecturer encourages active participation on the part of the students and the professor often latches on the students’ answers in order to continue her explanation: (8)

L: So what was the trough? S: (Silence) L: Ok, let’s go back to the definition. [Opening previous file on the board] Look here [underlining definition]. Ok, so where is the trough along here? Here, here, here…? [Pointing at the graph] S: [Inaudible] L: Here, exactly.

In this case the IWB proved useful to retrieve previous definitions from other files and to work directly on those files. Indeed, definitions can be shown, read, underlined or hidden, according to the specific needs, and the IWB can be functionally used to encourage students’ participation. This is not to say that these kinds of lecturing techniques could not be applicable by using different tools, but simply to show 8

In a similar vein, for a discussion of the IRF (initiation – response – feedback) pattern see Sinclair/Coulthard (1975) and Wells (1993, 1999).


Patrizia Anesa / Daniela Iovino

that their application is made quickly and smoothly, as confirmed by the lecturer herself. In the lectures, students were also occasionally encouraged to carry out some tasks individually or in groups: (9)

L: Ok, what would be the best option? I’ll give you one minute to choose. You can do it in pairs.


L: Ok, now look at the graph and match the numbers with the definitions.

These tasks we deemed functional to increase the involvement and to assess students’ comprehension. Students’ tasks are not typical of lectures, yet they are occasionally introduced. In this case, while the students were carrying out their activity, the lecturer was also actively interacting with them, as well as monitoring their progress and giving feedback whenever possible. This approach is typical of class activities with a smaller number of students and their instructors, but such activities are obviously not excluded a priori in lectures with a larger number of students, in order to enhance participation or to allow the lecturer to elicit some feedback from the students. Students are also occasionally called to the IWB to carry out certain exercises. The interactivity of the board allows the lecturer to constantly move from one type of file (e.g. the slides of a PowerPoint presentation) to other types of files where different exercises can be done. Even though such interactive moments are not common, they are at times encouraged by the lecturer. The same approach can theoretically be used with a traditional board; however, visibility in a big room is problematic, and the fact that the whiteboard is placed close to the audience facilitates interaction. The lecturer can then comment on the student’s actions: (11)

L: Our friend correctly showed us that this is the peak.

Moreover, the observation of this example calls for a reflection on the lecturer’s lexical choice of the phrase ‘our friend’. Expressions of this kind (or, similarly, the use of the personal pronoun ‘we’) may be the indication of a form of closeness between interactants. Indeed, Kamio

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


shows that the use of the pronoun ‘we’ evokes higher closeness between speaker and listeners (2001: 1120). However, it should also be noted that ‘we’ is often used to refer to people in general (Fortanet 2004: 60), as happens in the following passage: (12)

L: We often hear the words bulls and bears, but who are they?

Going beyond the analysis of statistical frequencies,9 the observation of personal pronouns also represents a fruitful area for research that can offer insights into the heterogeneity of styles and approaches that can be adopted in lectures. Another aspect that emerges constantly in the lecturer’s style is the use of repetition. It should be noted that repetition is not only deemed to facilitate comprehensibility but also plays a negotiating function between speaker and listeners. As Tannen observes, “[e]ach time a word or phrase is repeated, its meaning is altered. The audience reinterprets the meaning of the word or phrase in light of the accretion, juxtaposition, or expansion; thus it participates in making meaning of the utterances” (Tannen 1987b: 576). Repetition can be used in both casual and planned conversation10 (Tannen 1987a, 1987b, 2007, Norrick 1987). Although it can also be present in lecturers characterized by a reading style (see Section 3), it plays a crucial role when the conversational or rhetorical style is predominant. (13)

L: So this is the peak. If this is the peak, this is the trough. Peak, here. Trough, here.


L: Ok, let me repeat. Let me show you my little drawing again.

In the latter case the phenomenon of repetition is metalinguistically marked. Repetition in this case is not simply intended as the reitera9


For instance, some research shows that ‘we’ is more frequent (Rounds 1987a, 1987b) in instructional activities, but these studies are based exclusively on the observation of Teaching Assistants. Other studies claim instead a higher use of ‘I’ (Fortanet 2004). The two types of conversation are however here intended developing along a continuum.


Patrizia Anesa / Daniela Iovino

tion of certain words or, from a wider perspective, of certain concepts. Repetition can also be intended as the re-presentation of visual elements. In this case, a graph previously drawn by the lecturer is shown again to the students, and the retrieval of the graph is made possible thanks to one of the functions of the IWB.

5. Conclusions Academic instructional genres are undergoing constant changes and, as Solly remarks, “[c]onceptions of knowledge and learning as well as course provision are being powerfully altered by current socio-political agendas, technological innovation, demographic developments” (Solly 2008: 9). Moreover, multimodal forms of representation and communication inevitably contribute to the realization of teaching and learning (Jewitt 2008, Kress et al. 2006) and the mode of communication has considerably shifted from a print-based to a predominantly screen-based mode of communication (Snyder 1998). The material produced using the IWB in the lectures can be made available by the lecturer on the e-learning platform of the course. Even though this aspect would go beyond the scope of this study, attention should also be devoted to how instructional genres may vary in synchronous and asynchronous learning and to how the use of specific ICTs may facilitate the integration of the two modalities. Another potential avenue for investigation lies in the comparison between the IWB used here and other models and versions of Smart Board, as well as a comparison between these tools and the use of other technological devices in lectures, such as simple touch-screen boards, or the use of tablets. This study is intended as a preliminary attempt at an analysis of the effects of the use of IWBs on academic genres, and the observations presented should be compared with findings obtained from a broader section of academic staff, students, and across a range of disciplines, in order to observe in which contexts the introduction of

Interactive Whiteboards as Enhancers of Genre Hybridization


these tools may influence lectures in relation to their generic features in a significant way. As has been shown, lectures are highly complex genres. From a multimodal perspective, even though generally considered a predominantly spoken genre, they combine spoken, written and visual features. Indeed, using slides, writing on the board, presenting audio and video material are everyday practices in lectures. Kinesthetic aspects are also particularly important and they can include, for instance, the distribution of handouts or the movement of the lecturer during classroom tasks. From an interactional point of view, in the lectures here observed considerably different levels of interaction between lecturer and students were also present (including, for instance, both monologic and dialogic modes of interaction). Moreover, within a generally informal delivering style, stylistic variations also emerged. With some good reviews now available as a background (see Flowerdew 1994, Hyland 2009), we did not aim in this chapter to unravel the complexities of the vast world of academic discourse, but instead to observe some specific communicative events, namely a series of university lectures, with a focus on the use of an IWB in this context. In particular, we first attempted to investigate how the use of a specific ICT tool would facilitate hybridization in academic genres. Drawing on the growing recognition that no genre is an island, and given the complexity encountered in the very definition of ‘genre’, we began with the premise that genres are inherently hybrid and lectures are no exception. It was not the aim of this chapter to state that the use of certain technologies can per se determine genre hybridization, but we observed that the use of ICT tools in class may favor the interplay of genres that are generally considered different. For example, it was noted that lectures may include elements that generally typify a presentation, a seminar or a class discussion. Moreover, it was noted that it is often the lecturer who may somehow determine (a priori or in itinere) the level of hybridization of a certain genre. A number of other situational, conventional, institutional and personal factors contribute to the hybridization of the lecture genre. This process is ongoing and IWBs cannot be labelled as the reason for the existence of mixed genres, but they may contribute to making the hybrid nature of genres manifest.


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References Anesa, Patrizia 2010. Courtroom Discourses: An Analysis of the Westerfield Jury Trial. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Verona. Bakhtin, Mikhail 1986. Speech Genres & Other Late Essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. Bartsch, Robert A. / Cobern, Kristi M. 2003. Effectiveness of PowerPoint presentations in Lectures. Computers & Education 41, 77-86. Benson, Malcolm J. 1994. Lecture Listening in an Ethnographic Perspective. In Flowerdew (ed.), 181-198. Berkenkotter, Carol / Huckin, Thomas N. 1995. Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition/Culture/Power. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Bertarelli, Fabio / Corradini, Matteo / Guaraldi, Giacomo / Genovese, Elisabetta / Kilwake, Juma / Mutua, Stephen 2010. The Digital Board in a University Setting: Two Real Cases in Europe and East Africa. In Lytras, Miltiadis D. / Ordóñez De Pablos, Patricia / Avison, David (eds) Technology Enhanced Learning. Quality of Teaching and Educational Reform. Berlin: SpringerVerlag, 259-264. Bhatia, Vijay K. 1983. An Applied Discourse Analysis of English Legislative Writing. Birmingham: University of Aston. Bhatia, Vijay K. / Langton, Nicola M. / Lung, Jane W.Y. 2004. Legal Discourse: Opportunities and Threats for Corpus Linguistics. In Connor, Ulla / Upton, Thomas (eds) Discourse in the Professions: Perspectives from Corpus Linguistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 203-234. Bligh, Donald A. 1998.What’s the Use of Lectures? Exeter: Intellect. Blokzijl, Wim / Naeff, Roos 2004. The Instructor as Stagehand. Dutch Student Responses to PowerPoint. Business Communication Quarterly 67/1, 70-77. Bondi, Marina / Bamford, Julia (eds) 2005. Dialogue within Discourse Communities: Metadiscursive Perspectives on Academic Genre. Tübingen: Niemeyer.

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Cazden, Courtney B. 1988. Classroom Discourse: The Language of Teaching and Learning. Portsmouth: Heinemann. Chin, Paul 2004. Using C&IT to Support Teaching. London: Routledge. Chiang, Chung Shing / Dunkel, Patricia 1992. The Effect of Speech Modification, Prior Knowledge, and Listening Proficiency on EFL Lecture Learning. Tesol Quarterly 26/2, 345-374. Crawford Camiciottoli, Belinda 2004. Non-verbal Communication in Intercultural Lectures. In Bondi, Marina / Gavioli, Laura / Silver, Marc (eds) Academic Discourse, Genre and Small Corpora. Rome: Officina Edizioni, 35-51. Dudley-Evans, Tony 1994. Variations in the Discourse Patterns Favoured by Different Disciplines and their Pedagogical Implications. In Flowerdew (ed.), 146-158. Fairclough, Norman 1992. Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity. Fairclough, Norman 2003. Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. London: Routledge. Fish, Stanley 1980. Is There a Text in this Class? The Authority of Interpretive Communities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Flowerdew, John 2002. Introduction. In Flowerdew (ed.), 1-17. Flowerdew, John / Miller, Lindsay 1992. Student Perceptions, Problems and Strategies in Second Language Lectures. RELC Journal 23/2, 60-80. Flowerdew, John / Miller, Lindsay 1996. Lecturers’ Perceptions, Problems and Strategies in Second Language Lectures. RELC Journal 25/1, 23-60. Flowerdew, John / Tauroza, Steve 1995. The Effect of Discourse Markers on Second Language Lecture Comprehension. Journal of Studies in Second Language Acquisition 17/4, 435-458. Flowerdew, John (ed.) 1994. Academic Listening: Research Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Flowerdew, John (ed.) 2002. Academic Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fortanet, Inmaculada 2004. The Use of ‘we’ in University Lectures: Reference and Function. English for Specific Purposes 23/1, 45-66.


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Hyland, Ken 2006. English for Academic Purposes: An Advanced Resource Book. London: Routledge. Hyland, Ken 2009. Academic Discourse. London: Continuum. Hymes, Dell 1971. Competence and Performance in Linguistic Theory. In Huxley, Renira / Ingram, Elisabeth (eds) Language Acquisition: Models and Methods. London: Academic Press, 3-28. Jewitt, Carey 2008. A Multimodal Take on School English. In Solly/ Conoscenti/Campagna (eds), 9-21. Kamio, Akio 2001. English Generic we, you and they: An Analysis in Terms of Territory of Information. Journal of Pragmatics 33, 1111-1124. Kress, Gunther / Jewitt, Carey / Ogborn Jon / Tsatsarelis, Charalampos 2006. Multimodal Teaching and Learning: The Rhetorics of the Science Classroom. London: Continuum.. Lave, Jean / Wenger, Etienne 1991. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mahin, Linda 2004. Powerpoint Pedagogy. Business Communication Quarterly 67/1, 219-222. Meyer, Richard E. 2001. Multimedia Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Meyers, Greg 2000. Powerpoints: Technology, Lectures and Changing Genres. In Trosborg, Anna (ed.) Analysing Professional Genres. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 177-191. Miller, Dave / Glover, Derek 2002. The Interactive Whiteboard as a Force for Pedagogic Change: The Experience of Five Elementary Schools in an English Education Authority. Information Technology in Childhood Education Annual, 5-9. Morell, Teresa 2004. Interactive Lecture Discourse for University EFL Students. Journal English for Specific Purposes 23, 325-338. Nesi, Hilary 2001. A Corpus-based Analysis of Academic Lectures across Disciplines. British Studies in Applied Linguistics 16, 201-218. Norrick, Neal R. 1987. Functions of Repetition in Conversation. Text 7/3, 245-264. Rounds, Patricia 1987a. Multifunctional Personal Pronoun Use in Educational Settings. English for Specific Purposes 6/1, 13-29.

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Rounds, Patricia 1987b. Characterizing Successful Classroom Discourse for NNS Teaching Assistant Training. TESOL Quarterly 21/4, 643-671. Sala, Michele 2008. Persuasion and Politeness in Academic Texts. An Introduction. Bergamo: CELSB. Saroyan, Alenoush / Snell, Linda S. 1997. Variations in Lecturing Styles. Higher Education 33/1, 85-104. Schryer, Catherine 1993. Records as Genre. Written Communication 10, 200-234. Snyder, Ilana 1998. Page to Screen. London: Routledge. Solly, Martin 2008. Introduction. In Solly/Conoscenti/Campagna (eds), 9-21 Solly, Martin / Conoscenti, Michelangelo / Campagna, Sandra (eds) 2008. Verbal/Visual Narrative Texts in Higher Education. Bern: Peter Lang. Solvie, Pamela A. 2004. The Digital Whiteboard: A Tool in Early Literacy Instruction. Reading Teacher 57/5, 484-7. Swales, John 1988. Discourse Communities, Genres, and English as an International Language. World Englishes 7/2, 211-220. Swales, John 1990. Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sinclair, John M. / Coulthard, Malcolm 1975. Towards an Analysis of Discourse: The English Used by Teachers and Pupils. London: Oxford University Press. Szabo, Attila / Hastings, Nigel 2000. Using IT in the Undergraduate Classroom: should we Replace the Blackboard with PowerPoint? Computers & Education 35, 175-18. Tannen, Deborah 1987a. Repetition in Conversation as Spontaneous Formulaicity. Text 7/3, 215-243. Tannen, Deborah 1987b. Repetition in Conversation: Toward a Poetics of Talk. Language 63/3, 574-605. Tannen, Deborah 22007. Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse. New York: Cambridge University Press. Thompson, Susan E. 1994. Aspects of Cohesion in Monologue. Journal of Applied Linguistics 15, 58-75.


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Thompson, Susan E. 2003. Text Structuring Metadiscourse, Intonation and the Signaling of Organization in Academic Lectures. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 2, 5-20. Tufte, Edward 2003. The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint. Cheshire: Graphics Press LLC. Wegerif, Rupert 2007. Dialogic, Education and Technology: Expanding the Space of Learning. New York: Springer. Wells, Gordon 1993. Reevaluating the IRF Sequence: A Proposal for the Articulation of Theories of Activity and Discourse for the Analysis of Teaching and Learning in the Classroom. Linguistics in Education 5/1, 1-37. Wells, Gordon 1999. Dialogic Inquiry: Toward a Sociocultural Practice and Theory of Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wenger, Etienne 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Widdowson, Henry 1979. Explorations in Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Representation of Events and Event Participants in Academic Course Descriptions1

1. Introduction Academic discourse studies mainly focus on forms of scientific communication lying at the core of a scholar’s work (e.g. books, articles, presentations, reviews); they analyse the communicative practices involved in the negotiation, validation and dissemination of knowledge (e.g. Swales/Feak 1994/2004, 2000; Tognini-Bonelli/Del Lungo Camiciotti 2005; Fløttum/Dahl/Kinn 2006; Hyland/Bondi 2006, Bruce 2008; Gotti 2009; Hyland 2009; Hyland/Diani 2009). Other studies examine academic textual products for handling professional/social relationships and performing administrative tasks (e.g. calls for papers, recommendation letters, acknowledgements, book blurbs), that is, those that make it possible for scientific discourse and practices to take place (e.g. Swales 1988; Räisänen 1999; Trix/Psenka 2003; Giannoni 2006; Hatipo÷lu 2007; Gea Valor/Inigo Ros 2009). Analyses are also available of forms of official communication through which academia presents itself to the public and offers its services to them, namely institutional academic discourse.2 Lemke (1999) conducted a linguistic-semiotic analysis of the discourse(s) produced at an academic library on the occasion of its re-organization, which revealed the heteroglossic voices within the institution (i.e. divergent viewpoints, beliefs and values). Biber (2006) examined linguistic features (e.g. nouns, modals) of several university registers, 1 2

This chapter explores in depth an aspect briefly touched upon in Gesuato (2011). On institutional communication in general see, e.g., and Wodak (1995), Müllerová (1998) and Rinzler (2004).


Sara Gesuato

including institutional texts (e.g. university magazine articles, academic program brochures), and observed that these contain few verbs and pack important information in noun phrases (2006: 50). Thelwall (2005) analysed Australian, New Zealand and UK university websites. He observed a significant amount of non-English text, frequent references to the future, and, among the top 50 most frequent words, the presence of some typical of non-Web written English as well as others more academically oriented. Fairclough (1993) analysed extracts from three of the University of Lancaster’s undergraduate prospectuses produced over three decades, and noticed an increase in the informativepromotional function of the texts. Askehave (2007) examined exemplars of the international student prospectus genre from four countries, analysing in depth the language of the University of Sterling (Scotland) prospectus. Both in the rhetorical moves identified and their lexico-grammatical encoding, the author found a trend towards presenting the university as an efficient provider of innovative, non-academic products/services and the potential students as “‘demanding’ clients on the look-out for the best possible ‘university experience’” (2007: 739). Connell and GalasiĔski (1998) examined the mission statements of 146 English higher education institutions. The authors noticed that, unlike business mission statements, which are people-oriented, universities’ statements were either subject matter-oriented or agentoriented, and represented institutions as impersonal, third-party social actors aiming to provide excellent and/or accessible educational services that are, however, determined entirely by the institutions themselves, rather than motivated by students’ needs. Bernardini, Ferraresi and Gaspari (2010) analysed stance and engagement signals in IrishUK, other-European and Italian degree programme descriptions written in English. They found that the European-Italian texts presented universities as authoritative and remote institutions, which provided factual information about their educational offerings and research activities, and specified administrative/normative requirements. In contrast, the British-Irish texts provided information focusing on students’ social life and welfare; they were characterised by a higher use of engagement strategies (e.g. we to identify universities, imperatives to assist in navigation), and appeared to be advertising institutions’ research/teaching credentials and facilities.

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


This chapter contributes to research on institutional academic English, its goal being to highlight characteristics of academic course descriptions (ACDs) in English through a textual approach.

2. Academic course descriptions as a genre To my knowledge, no linguistic studies have been carried out on ACDs. Hagstrom (1983), a bibliographer and book collector, simply stated that if literary figures held courses for which they prepared ACDs, these should be part of their official bibliographies. Lewis and Peterson (1998) only compiled a list of ACDs relevant to oral literatures. Two works have examined ACDs from an educational perspective. Sideris (2004) classified 176 first-year composition ACDs according to these features: explicit/implicit reference to a student-centered pedagogy; employment of student- and/or professional-generated models; consideration of students’ present and/or future writing needs; focus on writing as a process and/or product; consideration for ESL concerns; and reference to entrance/exit exams (2004: 169). Thompkins (2007) investigated how first-year writing is taught at colleges and universities in Florida through an examination of, among other things, the ACDs of first-year writing courses from 67 academic institutions (i.e. the requirements, learning outcomes, methods and topics mentioned in them). The author noticed that while public colleges and universities met state-level requirements, other institutions were more influenced by test criteria and/or discipline-specific performance objectives. None of the above-mentioned studies, however, describes ACDs as a genre: what it is for (i.e. its communicative goal), how it is organized (i.e. its structure), what it is about (i.e., its content), or who might constitute its intended audience (because of its lexicon/register).

Sara Gesuato

442 2.1. The purpose of ACDs

ACDs are a form of institutional communication through which universities officially and concisely inform students about course offerings; they outline the content of and mention the restrictions applying to courses. This material enables students to form an opinion about courses, to choose whether to take them, and learn what is expected of them. ACDs are thus meant to be of use to their target readership in two respects. First, ACDs should satisfy students’ curiosity about the topics and design of courses, and the issues relevant to given disciplines. Second, they should specify the policies that will be enforced, and, as well, the requirements to be met for an acceptable, valid course participation More generally, these orientational and regulatory components of ACDs are instrumental for those who run the courses, as they raise expectations about the roles to be played by both the parties involved: course lecturers’ commitment to instructing and assessing students, and, as well, course attendees’ agreement to do what is required to receive a satisfactory grade as proof of their academic worth.

2.2. Overview of characteristics Depending on ACD authors’ writing styles, universities’ policies and computing/formatting constraints, ACDs may vary in length, textual organization, and detail of content.3 2.2.1. Length The ACDs considered for this study (see Section 4), comprise both short and long texts. The former contain one paragraph: (1)

HIST BC 1062 Introduction to Later Middle Ages: 1050–1450


In general, however, brevity and to-the-pointness may be highly valued features (e.g. ; ).

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


Social environment, political, and religious institutions, and the main intellectual currents of the Latin West studied through primary sources and modern historical writings. J. Kaye 3 points (Hist-01)

The latter consist of several paragraphs, and resemble course syllabi: (2)

University of Maryland, College Park. Department of Physics, Spring 2009, Prof. B. L. Hu Physics 122: Fundamentals of Physics II Course Description Physics 122 is the second part of a two-semester introductory physics non-calculus based course [...] Course Information The course will stress both a conceptual understanding of physical phenomena [...] Lecture: […] The lectures will consist of explanation of concepts and derivations […] Laboratory: Lab counts 20% towards the course score. […] Homework: […] Study all the examples worked out in the lectures […] Tutorials / Recitations: This course will utilize tutorials developed by the physics education research group [...] Grade composition [...] Lecture, Exam and Quiz schedule [...] Homework assignments [...] Useful links [...] (Phys-02)

2.2.2. Content With regard to content, the ACDs examined comprise some or all of the following information units:4 x

the topics to be covered and the issues to be discussed in class (Course content); e.g.:


Content includes modern American drama (Lit-02)5

4 5

On their identification criteria, see Gesuato (2011). Here and elsewhere, italics highlight the text segments encoding the notion(s) under focus.

Sara Gesuato

444 x

the goals and outcomes envisaged for the course (Goals/Outcomes); e.g.:


students should obtain some overview of the world history into which mathematical development was embedded (Hist-02)


Provides a basic understanding of human anatomy and physiology […] (Bio-07)


the policies and logistics characterizing the course; e.g.:


Every student is entitled to have their own personal views respected (Law-02)


Credit can be earned for one course only (Geo-01)


the method adopted, including, if applicable, its specific focus (Method); e.g.:


Using the Internet, law journals, books and other resources provided by the professor, students will look at programs, policies and legislation (Law-01)


This seminar examines […] focusing especially on music as one of a handful of cultural universals (Mus-04)


and the background knowledge contextualizing the topic of the course or the relevant discipline (Background); e.g.:


This course examines Russian émigré literature, a distinct phenomenon that emerged as a result of mass emigration from Russia after the Revolution of 1917 and effectively ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 (Lit-05)


Today, as globalisation and its effects have become part of daily life, it seems to be indispensable to consider the interrelations between the EU and other international organisations [...] (Law-03)

Some of the above-exemplified information units have more of an informational orientation (Course Content, Background), and others a more regulatory bend (Logistics/Policies, Method), while one (i.e. Goals/Outcomes) seems to fall in between. A clear-cut distinction cannot always be made. For instance, if a Course content unit indicates

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


what students are going to explore in class (provision of information), this suggests that they do not have a say in what they will explore (imposition of rules). Whether an ACD comes across as a notice, an offer or an imposition partly depends on how its content is phrased (e.g. as certain or possible, as a commitment or a request) and on how the entities and participants mentioned in it are represented (e.g. as subjects, objects or recipients of action).

3. Goals of the study The focus of this chapter is on the lexico-grammatical representation of the entities/participants that are central to ACDs, namely courses, teachers and students, as well as of the events that they appear to be involved in. The goal is twofold: one, to establish how visible the above-mentioned entities/participants are in the texts (i.e. how often they are mentioned and how often they are cast in prominent discursive roles); two, to determine whether the assertions made about them qualify the texts as informational or regulatory or both. To achieve the first goal, I first count how often the expressions denoting courses, teachers and students occur in ACDs. My expectation is that courses are mentioned more frequently than either teachers or students, since, by definition, ACDs are texts that describe courses. Next, I look at the syntactic-semantic representation of courses, teachers and students by examining the transitivity of the predicates in which the noun phrases denoting them are involved. From a semantic point of view, I expect courses to be cast in the role of patients6 because they are affected by (technically, they are the product of) teachers and students’ coordinated efforts. On the other hand, I expect teachers and students to be represented, respectively, as agents vs recipients or experiencers, because the former are in charge of designing and running courses, 6

I use the term patient in Frawley’s (1992: 210) sense: “If an argument undergoes, or is changed by, or is directly affected by a predicate, it is a patient” (original emphasis).


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while the latter are the target of courses. Finally, I also consider how often teachers and students are represented in the texts as direct interlocutors (through such pronouns as I, you and the inclusive we), which would accurately mirror their status as communication participants. With regard to the second goal, I consider whether the content conveyed in the texts (which is oriented both toward the provision of information and the imposition of rules) is presented to the readership, with certainty vs uncertainty, as can be gleaned from tense and modality choices in the finite clauses whose subject noun phrases denote teachers, students or courses. The hypothesis is that if the content is conveyed confidently, it will appear as accurate, reliable, and unquestionably valid, but at the same time also as a set of non-negotiable arrangements, and thus as a form of imposition. On the other hand, if the content is conveyed with less certainty, it will come across more as a proposal (or an offer of information) than an imposition, that is, as the possible development of courses of action that have not been completely pre-determined, whose details have not been completely thought out and are still open to change.

4. Data collection I collected from the Internet 100 ACDs, representative of ten disciplines, by carrying out searches on Google, using ‘course description’ AND ‘biology/geography/history/journalism/law/literature/music/physics/psychology/statistics’ as my query keywords (slashes indicate alternatives). The original word count was about 40,000 words. However, while I examined the complete texts of the short, one-paragraphlong ACDs (see example (1) above), I considered only the main, oneparagraph-long sections of the longer ACDs, identifiable on the basis of their headings (e.g. ‘Course description; Aims; Objectives; Course structure’; see example (2) above). Table 1 shows that the corpus comprises the whole texts of 37 short ACDs and the main sections of 63 longer ACDs. In most disciplines short ACDs outnumber longer ones, the exceptions being Law,

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


Literature and Physics. The total number of words is 10,304. The longest sub-corpus is Law, with 1,521 words, and the shortest Psychology, with 714. On average, an ACD is 129 words long. (The shortest are Bio-08 and Phys-06 with 32 words, and the longest is Geo-03, with 404). Discipline Bio Geo Hist Journ Law Lit Mus Phys Psych Stat Total

Main sections of long ACDs 1 2 4 2 5 7 3 7 4 2 37

Complete texts of short ACDs 9 8 6 8 5 3 7 3 6 8 63

Words 990 1,033 1,181 932 1,521 1,253 1,217 743 714 720 10,304

Table 1. Distribution of long and short ACDs, and corpus size in number of words.

Table 2 shows the distribution of moves in the corpus. Virtually all disciplines instantiate Course content (98%). Most (72%) also include Logistics/Policies. Method is found in 63% of the texts. Goals/Outcomes are identified in a large minority of the ACDs (44%), while Background applies to 22% of the corpus. Discipline Bio Geo Hist Journ Law Lit Mus Phys Psych Stat Total

Course content 10 10 10 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 98

Goals/ Outcomes 6 3 5 3 5 4 8 3 3 4 44

Table 2. Distribution of moves.

Logistics/ Policies 8 7 5 7 6 7 9 6 10 7 72



5 6 10 6 8 9 5 4 5 5 63

2 3 2 3 5 5 1 1 0 0 22

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5. Findings 5.1. Courses Courses can be referred to in several ways: through nouns denoting courses (course, component, seminar, curriculum, class, module, lectures, laboratory), phrases referring to parts of courses (the nth part/segment of the course/seminar), pronouns (it; that; which), course titles, and via ellipsis. Courses are semantically represented in four ways: as agents, patients, experiencers or circumstances of events (cf. Table 3).

Discipline Bio Geo Hist Journ Law Lit Mus Phys Psych Stat Total

T 8 7 9 7 6 8 8 3 5 4 65

Agents O 13 15 17 9 9 14 15 7 10 5 114 (50.2%)

Courses as Patients Experiencers T O T O 5 10 6 10 2 3 2 4 1 1 4 4 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 2 2 3 6 2 3 6 10 2 2 1 1 3 6 4 7 21 33 32 48 (14.6%) (21.1%)

T 1 1 3 2 5 1 4 5 1 3 26

Other O 2 1 3 2 8 1 4 7 1 3 32 (14.1%)

Table 3. Representation of courses (T = No. of texts; O = No. of occurrences).

When they are talked about as curriculum components, courses are semantically represented as agents responsible for educational contents, approaches and goals, and they are syntactically encoded as subject noun phrases of active action verbs; e.g.: (12)

The course deals with the more specific influences of culture on psychopathology and diagnosis (Psych-05)

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions (13)


[Ø] Explores the political, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of food and eating [...] (Geo-04)7

When they are talked about as events to be run, courses may assume the semantic role of patients. In this case, they appear as entities affected by others’ actions, and show up as object noun phrases of active action verbs or as subject noun phrases of passive action verbs: (14)

The Course is expected to be covered in 10 weeks [sic] teaching (Stat-08)


It will be offered again in January of 2009 (Bio-05)

Alternatively, courses may be cast in the role of experiencers, that is, represented as endowed with qualities/identities, or as involved in situations/relations. In such cases, the noun phrases encoding courses show up as the subjects and/or subject complements of relational verbs, which may be ellipted: (16)

Geography 111 serves as an introduction to courses in Geography, Geology, and Environmental Studies (Geo-07)


The course may also be of interest to students in linguistics, dance, psychology [...] (Mus-05)


[Ø] Not available for mathematics majors (Stat-02)

Finally, independently of whether they are talked about as events to be run or as curriculum components, courses may be semantically represented as circumstances of time (i.e. as the setting in which something takes place) or as the secondary participants of events (i.e. when a part /aspect/goal of them is under focus), and syntactically encoded as object noun phrases of prepositions; e.g.: (19)

In this class students will learn what many of these numbers mean [...] (Journ-07)


Here and elsewhere, the symbol Ø stands for the ellipted noun phrase denoting the entity or participant being discussed (i.e. ‘It’), and where applicable, also the accompanying verb (i.e. ‘It is’).


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Also, some guest lecturers can be invited to enrich the content of the course on specific topics (Law-03)

5.2. Teachers Teachers are rarely mentioned on their own in the ACDs (20 times; see Table 4), but they are referred to through various expressions: generic nouns (teacher(s), lecturer(s), instructor(s), graduate student(s), graduate student instructors, instructor(s)), titles (e.g. Mr./ Dr./Prof.) + Names, job titles (for guest lecturers; e.g. MP, trade unionists), or personal deictics (i.e. I / my).

Discipline Bio Geo Hist Journ Law Lit Mus Phys Psych Stat Total

T 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 4

Agents O 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 0 6 (30%)

Teachers as Patients Experiencers T O T O 1 1 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 5 2 2 (25%) (10%)

Other T 2 1 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 7

O 2 1 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 7 (35%)

Table 4. Representation of teachers (T = No. of texts; O = No. of occurrences).

Teachers are represented in four main ways. When mentioned with reference to their instructional activities, teachers are mostly represented as the agents responsible for them; syntactically, they show up as I subjects of active action verbs or as object noun phrases of the preposition by after passive action verbs; e.g.: (21)

I will assign team members based on an analysis of skill and experience factors (Journ-02)

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions (22)


The lectures held by the guest lecturer will be open to other students (Law-03)

Occasionally, in the same type of discursive context, teachers are represented as patients, appearing as subject noun phrases of passive action verbs; this usage, however, applies to guest lecturers, whose participation in courses is decided on by the instructors; e.g.: (23)

MBIDP mentors are asked to organize sections of the series on a rotating basis as part of their mentoring responsibilities (Bio-10)

Teachers can also be talked about with reference to their attitude towards and/or their relationship with students. In such cases, they are represented as experiencers, and are encoded as I subjects of active experiential verbs; e.g.: (24)

I hope you will learn how to write a complete solution to a problem (Phys-04)


I expect students enrolled in this course to uphold the UMBC Code of Student Conduct (Hist-08)

Finally, independently of what is being talked about, teachers can be cast in the role of secondary participants of events, in which case they are encoded as object noun phrases of prepositions; e.g.: (26)

Prerequisites: Biology 4602, Biology 3622, & Biology 4712, or consent of instructor (Bio-06)


The approaches [...] involve [...] interaction with instructors [...] (Phys-10)

5.3. Students Students are referred to in the corpus through nouns (student(s), class, major(s), minor(s), participant, candidate, team, team member(s)) and pronouns (i.e. they/them/you/your(s)/he/she/himself/herself/that/who/ those/everyone), while ellipsis is instantiated with imperatives, and coordinate or infinitive clauses. Students are cast in a variety of roles in

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the ACDs, which reflects their multiple forms of participation in courses (see Table 5).

Discipline Bio Geo Hist Journ Law Lit Mus Phys Psych Stat Total

Agents T O 5 6 1 2 4 8 0 0 3 5 1 1 4 8 4 5 1 1 2 4 25 40 32.8%

Experiencers T O 6 7 0 0 3 3 4 6 4 5 1 1 4 5 2 2 1 1 4 6 29 36 29.5%

Students as Recipients T O 3 3 1 1 2 3 4 4 3 6 2 5 2 4 1 1 2 4 1 1 21 32 26.2%

Patients T O 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 2 1 1 0 0 2 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 7 11 9.0%

T 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2

Other O 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 2.5%

Table 5. Representation of students (T = No. of texts; O = No. of occurrences).

Students can be represented as agents, who act consciously and deliberately, but under others’ direction; they are encoded as subject noun phrases of active action verbs or, alternatively, as object noun phrases of the preposition by after passive action verbs; e.g.: (28)

each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant [...] (Hist-08)


The best essays written by the students (Law-03)

Students are represented as experiencers, showing up as subject noun phrases of experiential or relational verbs, when they are talked about as participants involved in the achievement of learning goals that correspond to envisaged expectations; e.g.: (30)

Students [...] develop critical listening habits (Mus-03)


[...] if you are interested in taking this course in January 2009! (Bio-03)

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


Students can also be represented as recipients, that is, as beneficiaries or target of courses. Syntactically, they are encoded as the object noun phrases of the preposition for or of active action verbs, or as subject noun phrases of passive action verbs or of active relational verbs; e.g.: (32)

The course is suitable for students interested in any area [...] (Mus-05)


The course goal is to give you tools that you can use in your research (Psych-04)


students are introduced to key research [...] approaches (Hist-06)

Students are also represented as patients, appearing as object noun phrases of active action verbs or subject noun phrases of passive action verbs, usually when the logistics of courses is being discussed: (35)

It aims to help students from a broad range of Applied Sciences [...] (Phys-05)


Students will receive 3 credits and will be graded by a combination of final examination, class participation, class debate and a field research project. (Law-09)

Finally, students are represented in a variety of semantic roles when they are encoded as the object noun phrases of prepositions, or as possessive adjectives; e.g.: (37)

The class will be divided into news teams (Journ-02)


strategies [...] can deepen your musical experiences (Mus-08)

5.4. Teachers with students Teachers and students are occasionally referred to together, by means of pronouns and possessives (we, us, our), or through the formula student/teacher, or via ellipsis. Of the 25 occurrences of this combined reference, 20 (i.e. 80%) are representations of agents, namely volitional participants engaged in joint deliberate acts, and five of experiencers, that is, sentient participants involved in common experiences. Syntactically, teachers and students mentioned together are

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encoded as subject noun phrases of active action verbs and of experiential verbs, but also as possessive adjectives (followed by abstract nouns) and as premodifiers in compounds; e.g.: (39)

We will visit critically the discourse on colonization [...] (Lit-03)


The object of our study is not the origins of music [...] (Mus-04)


Individual student/teacher meetings will be held [...] (Law-05)

5.5. Addressers and addressees As shown in sections 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4, the use of first- and secondperson personal pronouns to denote teachers and students is not common in the ACDs. More specifically, teachers are encoded through the pronoun I five times out of 20 (20%; plus one possessive); students are encoded as you 20 out of 161 times (12.4%), and teachers together with students as we 20 out of 25 times (80%). First- and second-person possessive forms are even more infrequent (one my, three your’s and one our’s). This means that, besides being infrequently mentioned, teachers and students are represented as the participants involved in the communication process only 21.8% of the time (i.e. in 45 occurrences). Although they are the actual addressers and addressees, they are hardly ever encoded as such.

5.6. Tense and modality As the examples throughout the chapter illustrate, the events in which courses, teachers and students appear to be involved are represented with strong certainty. This is due to consistent tense and modality choices. If we consider the finite clauses whose subject noun phrases denote courses, teachers and students, we can see that the use of the

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


simple present tense and will future accounts for most of the predicates, as summarized in Table 6.8 Subjects in finite clauses Courses Students Teachers with students Teachers Global

Total occurrences 157 54 19

Simple present 113 (72.0%) 21 (38.9%) 0 (0.0%)

9 239

5 (55.6%) 139 (58.2%)

36 (22.9%) 17 (31.4%) 17 (89.5%)

Other modals 7 (4.5%) 13 (24.1%) 2 (10.5%)

1 (0.6%) 3 (5.6%) 0 (0.0%)

2 (22.2%) 72 (30.1%)

2 (22.2%) 24 (10.0%)

0 (0.0%) 4 (1.7%)



Table 6. Tenses and modals in finite clauses whose subjects denote courses, students, teachers with students, and teachers.

The use of other tenses, moods and modals is fairly limited:9 (42)

This course has been designed especially for first-year college students [...] (Lit-04)


Enrollment: Limited to 8. [Ø] Please contact Meg Bentley [...] (Bio-05)


Students should be ready to engage in discussions. (Lit-06)

6. Conclusion In general, institutional communication informs the public of the activities, strategies and policies pertaining to given institutions; it also creates awareness in the public of those institutions’ raison d’être, or mission; and it tries to influence the reader’s behaviour in a way that



Finite clauses with ellipsis of the subject were counted in, while those with ellipsis of both subject and auxiliary were not. Similar findings are in Thelwall (2005: 533, 535). However, as examples (10) and (11) show, other tenses may occur in clauses whose subjects have different referents.


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can further the institutions’ goals. It is thus instrumental in ensuring the audience’s informed and cooperative participation in the achievement of institutions’ clearly specified goals. In academia, institutional communication is important from a social and logistical point of view: it establishes an official, public link between the scholarly community and the public, and it creates the conditions for other forms of scholarly communication and activities to take place. ACDs exemplify this communicative goal: they inform the readership of universities’ educational intents, and set up the conditions necessary for the efficient running of courses universities are responsible for. The successful realization of the educational offer as specified in ACDs involves the transmission of accurate information ensuring the readerships’ cooperation. This in turn requires a skilful management of the interaction between the universities and the students. The ACDs examined display the characteristics of efficient yet considerate communication: officiality, credibility, authoritativeness, and concern for the addressees. The official character of the texts can be attributed to the textual backgrounding of the teachers and students. These seldom appear in the texts as direct interlocutors (i.e. as I and you, respectively, or together as we: 21.8%), although they are the communication participants. Most of the time, they are referred to as third parties. Also, the teachers are rarely mentioned (20 times), and are cast as agents only 20% of the time (in six ACDs), even if they are responsible for designing and running the courses. On the other hand, the courses are foregrounded as prominent textual entities because they are frequently mentioned (227 times) and frequently represented as agents (52% in 65 ACDs), that is, as if they were in charge of educational goals. The texts, therefore, appear to be produced by academic institutions, rather than specific teachers, and to be addressed to the public at large, rather than groups of students, and to be more about the institutions themselves than the people involved in them. The ACDs also inspire confidence due to their encoding of tense and modality. An examination of the finite clauses whose subject noun phrases denote courses, teachers and students, shows that the simple present tense and the will future together account for 88.3% of the predicates, while other modals and tenses occur in only 11.7% of

Representation of Events and Participants in Academic Course Descriptions


the texts.10 The impression given is that courses are well-organized and thought-out courses of action, because the future events being referred to are announced with unmitigated certainty, as if they were – which they probably are – always true or easily predicable. The ubiquitous simple present and will future are also responsible for the authoritativeness of the texts (cf. Fowler 1991: 127). The sense of inevitability conveyed through these verbal choices, which represent events as definite arrangements not susceptible to change and unconditionally valid, gives a directive force to the ACDs, which takes the place of more explicit deontic formulas.11 Therefore, students’ cooperative participation appears to be expected as a matter of course, or taken for granted, as no room for negotiation is envisaged. This subtle, indirect form of imposition is only partly countered by the frequent reference to the students (mentioned 161 times), who are represented in various semantic roles, which reflects the multiple social roles they play as course participants. At the same time, the integration of the above-mentioned communication strategies contributes to mitigating the directive force of the texts. First, the teachers and students are represented as third parties, rather than interlocutors, and so they do not appear to be the source and the target, respectively, of the imposition. Second, the courses are represented as agents responsible for course design and policies, and as a result, the imposition of rules appears to come from them as an external source. More specifically, the courses metonymically stand for the teachers, and act as mediators between these and the students. Finally, deontic modality is mildly used, so that the imposition is not made explicit: requirements are mentioned as facts but not imposed as commands. This way, the ACD authors manifest concern for the addressees, while remaining in charge of the discourse.



However, if the whole texts of the longer ACDs had been considered, the findings might have been different (cf. Biber 2006 on written course management – i.e. assignments, syllabi and exams – and institutional texts). This is in line with Biber’s (2006: 160-161) findings about stance lexical bundles in written course management texts. Also cf. Rinzler (2004: 216): “[p]lus le texte est injonctif, plus les marquest grammaticales d’injonction et le marques auctoriales de l’injonction disparaissent ou sont aduoucies”.


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Giannoni, Davide S. 2006. Book Acknowledgements across Disciplines and Texts. In Hyland, Ken / Bondi, Marina (eds) Academic Discourse across Disciplines. Bern: Peter Lang, 151-175. Gotti, Maurizio (ed.) 2009. Commonality and Individuality in Academic Discourse. Bern: Peter Lang. Hatipo÷lu, Çiler 2007. (Im)politeness, National and Professional Identities and Context: Some Evidence from E-mailed ‘Call for Papers’. Journal of Pragmatics 39, 760-773. Hagstrom, Jack W.C. 1983. The Role of Course Descriptions in Bibliographies of Twentieth Century Authors (with Specific Reference to Richard Wilbur). Notes on Contemporary Literature 13/3, 8. Hyland, Ken 2009. Academic Discourse: English in a Global Context. London: Continuum. Hyland, Ken / Bondi, Marina (eds) 2006. Academic Discourse across Disciplines. Bern: Peter Lang. Hyland, Ken / Diani, Giuliana (eds) 2009. Academic Evaluation: Review Genres in University Settings. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Lemke, Jay L 1999. Discourse and Organizational Dynamics: Website Communication and Institutional Change. Discourse & Society 10/1, 21-47. Lewis, Lynn C. / Peterson, Lori 1998. Course Descriptions and Syllabi. In Foley, John Miles (ed.) Teaching Oral Traditions. New York: Modern Language Association of America 13, 445-464. Müllerová, Olga 1998. Communication Breakdowns in Dealings between Institutions and the Public. In Cmejrková, Svetla / Hoffmannová, Jana / Müllerová, Olga / Svetlá, Jindra (eds) Dialoganalyse, VI. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 179-184. Räisänen, Christine 1999. The Conference Forum as a System of Genres. A Sociocultural Study of Academic Conference Practices in Automotive Crash-safety Engineering. Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. Rinzler, Simone 2004. Pragmatique d’un Genre: Communication Institutionnelle, Monologisme et Aspect Passif. Anglophonia: French Journal of English Studies 16, 207-225. Sideris, Jeremy Brian 2004. First-Year Composition Course Descriptions and Writing Program Pedagogy: A Taxonomy. PhD dissertation, New Mexico State University.


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Notes on Contributors

PATRIZIA ANESA holds a PhD in English Studies, with a specialization in professional and legal communication. Her research interests lie mostly in the area of specialised discourse, with particular reference to legal language and courtroom communication. She is currently interested in the analysis of arbitration practices, the applications of Conversation Analysis in LSP and the investigation of knowledge asymmetries in expert-lay communication. CAROL BERKENKOTTER is Professor of Rhetoric and Communication in the Department of Writing Studies, University of Minnesota. In 1995 she published (with Thomas N. Huckin) Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition/Culture/Power. Over the last decade she has used the techniques of discourse and genre analysis to study the evolution of professional genres, and in 2008 published the book, Patient Tales: Case Histories and the Uses of Narrative in Psychiatry. Her current research interests include the influence of digital technology on ‘emergent genres’ of the Internet, such as blogs, wikis, and Facebook. VIJAY K. BHATIA has recently retired as Professor from the City University of Hong Kong. His research interests include applied genre analysis of professional discourse, including legal, business, newspaper, and advertising genres; ESP and Professional Communication (Theory and Practice); simplification of legal and other public documents; cross-cultural and disciplinary variation in professional discourses. He has widely published in international journals. His work on genre analysis includes two books, Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings (1993) and Worlds of Written Discourse: A Genre-based View (2004).


Notes on Contributors

WILLIAM BROMWICH is a researcher in English linguistics at the Marco Biagi Faculty of Economics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where he lectures in English for economics, and at the Marco Biagi Foundation, where he is on the faculty of the Doctoral Research School. His research interests focus on language, genre and the law, and the linguistic construction of social reality, and his most recent work deals with language and disability, and the use of metaphor in financial discourse. An expert witness at the Tribunal of Bologna, he is also English language editor of the International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, and Ratio Juris: An International Journal of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law. OLGA DONTCHEVA-NAVRATILOVA is Assistant Professor of English Linguistics at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. Her main research interests lie in the area of discourse analysis, stylistics and pragmatics, currently specializing in political and academic discourse. She is the author of Analysing Genre: The Colony Text of UNESCO Resolutions (2009) and Coherence in Political Speeches (2011) and co-editor of Coherence and Cohesion in Spoken and Written Discourse (2009). FRANCISCO JAVIER FERNÁNDEZ POLO is a lecturer in English at the University of Santiago, Spain. His research trajectory covers areas such as translation, contrastive rhetoric, text accessibility, and language teaching and the new technologies. Of late he has developed a special interest in English as a lingua franca of science (‘English for research purposes at the University of Santiago de Compostela: a survey’, JEAP 2009), particularly in the spoken genre of the conference presentation and issues of native vs. non-native usage. His latest research relates to the use by conference presenters of discourse markers, self-mentions, humour or gesture. SARA GESUATO is Associate Professor of English at the University of Padua, Italy, where she teaches English language and linguistics. Her research interests include academic discourse, genre analysis, lexical semantics and tense and aspect. In her recent publications she has examined the structure and wording of dialogic and monologic expressive

Notes on Contributors


speech acts, and investigated the phraseology and content of academic genres. She has also studied the temporal and aspectual meanings of catenative motion verbs, and carried out corpus-based analyses of nearsynonyms and of compounds with singular vs plural nominal premodification. She is currently working on pedagogical applications of speech act analysis and the phraseologies of anticipatory-it constructions. DAVIDE S. GIANNONI is Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Bergamo, whose Centre for LSP Research ( he helped to establish in 1999. He holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading and an MA in Linguistics-TESOL from the University of Surrey. His research on academic and professional genres has appeared in several international journals and volumes. He has recently published Mapping Academic Values in the Disciplines (2010) and edited Researching Language and the Law (2010), Identity Traits in English Academic Discourse (2008) and New Trends in Specialized Discourse Analysis (2006). He is also co-editor of Language Studies Working Papers ( MICHELA GIORDANO, MA (California State University, Long Beach) is a researcher and lecturer of English Language and Translation at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Cagliari. Her research activity and major publications focus on psycholinguistics, applied linguistics, ESP teaching methodology, discourse and genre analysis applied to academic, political and legal discourse. She has recently published: ‘Conflict in Hillary Clinton’s Political Speeches: A Rhetorical analysis’ in Women, Conflict and Power (2010); ‘ODR Websites: Interaction and Exchange across National Boundaries’ (coauthor O. Denti) in R. Salvi /H. Tanaka (eds) Intercultural Interactions in Business and Management (2011). MAURIZIO GOTTI is Professor of English Language and Translation and Director of the Research Centre on Specialized Languages (CERLIS) at the University of Bergamo. He is Director of the Language Centre at the University of Bergamo and President of the Italian Association of University Language Centres. His main research areas


Notes on Contributors

are the features and origins of specialized discourse, both in a synchronic and diachronic perspective (Robert Boyle and the Language of Science, 1996; Specialized Discourse: Linguistic Features and Changing Conventions, 2003; Investigating Specialized Discourse, 32011). He is also interested in English syntax – English Diachronic Syntax (ed.), 1993; Variation in Central Modals (co-author), 2002; English Historical Linguistics 2006 (co-ed.), 2008 – and English lexicology and lexicography, with particular regard to specialized terminology and canting (The Language of Thieves and Vagabonds, 1999). He is a member of the Editorial Board of national and international journals, and edits the Linguistic Insights series for Peter Lang. CHRISTOPH A. HAFNER is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the City University of Hong Kong. He teaches a range of courses in discipline specific English and digital literacies at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. His research interests include academic and professional literacy, digital literacies, and legal discourse. In addition to his other publications, he has co-authored a book (with Rodney H. Jones) entitled Understanding Digital Literacies: A Practical Introduction (2012). ISABEL HERRANDO-RODRIGO graduated in English studies and obtained her MA Thesis at the University of Zaragoza (Spain), where she currently works as a part-time lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and School of Health Science. Her research interests focus on the exploration of identity in medical research articles and their corresponding popularizations, genre analysis and written academic discourse. The results of her research on identity and academic discourse have been published in journals such as Miscelánea, Tropelías and Journal of the IATELF SIG. She is at present involved in several Innovative teaching projects ( Some results from these teaching projects have been published in Arbor and Prensas Universitarias. DANIELA IOVINO has a degree in foreign languages focused on multimedia and Web design, and a second level master degree in eLearning. She is currently eLearning manager and course designer for the

Notes on Contributors


University of Bergamo and her professional profile includes multimedia development, instructional design and website creation and administration, with a focus on emerging multimedia technologies and mobile device solutions. Her main research interests concern instructional design, collaborative working environment, learning and knowledge management, and the production of distance-education resources. SUSAN KERMAS is Associate Professor of English language at the University of Salento (Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures). Her teaching and research interests focus on language variation and change. She is currently involved in a National Research Project (PRIN) on the popularization of scientific discourse and is investigating the dissemination of botanical discoveries and its impact on English lexicography. Her work has been published in numerous volumes including Nicholas Brownlees (ed.) News Discourse in Early Modern Britain (2006), John Flowerdew/Maurizio Gotti (eds) Studies in Specialized Discourse (2006), Maurizio Gotti (ed.) Commonality and Individuality in Academic Discourse (2009) and Davide Giannoni/Celina Frade (eds) Researching Language and the Law (2010). Her monographs include English Lexis in a Changing World (2003). MARÍA JOSÉ LUZÓN is Senior Lecturer at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. She has a PhD in English Philology and has published papers on academic and professional discourse and on language teaching and learning in the field of English for Specific Purposes. Her current research interests include the analysis of online academic discourse, especially the discourse of academic weblogs, and the use of new technologies in English language teaching and learning. DAVIDE MAZZI is a researcher in English language and translation at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. His research activity has essentially focused on the following areas: discourse analysis, corpus linguistics and argumentation studies. In particular, his research interests and related publications have concentrated on legal and academic discourse. His recent publications include: ‘This argument fails for two reasons’: A Linguistic Analysis of Judicial Evaluation Strategies in US Supreme Court Judgments (International Journal for the


Notes on Contributors

Semiotics of Law 2010) and ‘In Other Words, ...’: A Corpus-based Study of Reformulation in Judicial Discourse (Hermès 2011). LINDSAY MILLER is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the City University of Hong Kong. He teaches a variety of proficiency courses at BA level, conceptual courses at MA level, and has PhD supervision. Lindsay’s main research interests are in the areas of learner autonomy, listening, and teacher education. He has published widely in these areas and has co-authored Establishing Self-Access: From Theory To Practice (with D. Gardner 1999) and Second Language Listening: Theory and Practice (with J. Flowerdew 2005). PILAR MUR-DUEÑAS (PhD) is a lecturer in the Department of English and German studies of the Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain). Her main research interest is the intercultural analysis of written academic discourse. Her studies have mainly focused on the study of interpersonality features in research articles in the international Englishmedium context of publication and in the national Spanish context. She has published the results of her research in international journals such as Journal of English for Academic English, Journal of Pragmatics and International Journal of Applied Linguistics. She is a member of the research group InterLAE ( CONNIE NG KWAI-FUN is a Research Fellow in the Department of English at the City University of Hong Kong. She has been teaching ESP/EAP courses for over ten years and currently coordinates discipline-specific English courses for science and engineering students. She acted as co-investigator on a Teaching Development Grant (TDG) funded research project on the development of multiliteracies through English for science with Dr. Christoph Hafner and Dr. Lindsay Miller. Currently, she is co-investigator for another TDG project on the creation of corpus-based online materials and resources for Engineering students. Her research interests are in the areas of ESP/EAP, multiliteracies, L2 teacher cognition and identity. MASUMI ONO is a doctoral student in the Applied Linguistics programme at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. Her doc-

Notes on Contributors


toral research focuses on genre analysis of Japanese and English PhD theses. She holds an M.Ed in English Language Education from the University of Tsukuba in Japan and an MA in Applied Linguistics and Intercultural Communication from the University of Essex. Her research interests include intercultural rhetoric, EAP, and second language writing. She has presented papers at many international conferences, including the Symposium on Second Language Writing, Writing Research Across Borders, and the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing. BRIAN PALTRIDGE is Professor of TESOL at the University of Sydney. His most recent publications are Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language (with Sue Starfield), Teaching Academic Writing (with colleagues at the University of Sydney), Continuum Companion to Research Methods in Applied Linguistics (edited with Aek Phakiti), Continuum Companion to Discourse Analysis (edited with Ken Hyland) and New Directions in English for Specific Purposes Research (edited with Ann Johns and Diane Belcher). His main research interests are academic writing, genre analysis and critical discourse studies. RENATA POVOLNÁ is Associate Professor of English Linguistics at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. Her research interests lie in the areas of discourse analysis, pragmatics and conversation analysis, concentrating mainly on coherence, cohesion and discourse markers in spoken and written discourse. She is author of two monographs, Spatial and Temporal Adverbials in English Authentic Face-to-Face Conversation (2003), and Interactive Discourse Markers in Spoken English (2010), and co-editor of Coherence and Cohesion in Spoken and Written Discourse (2009). LOUISE RAVELLI is Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism in the School of English, Media and Performing Arts at the University of New South Wales. Her research interest is communication in professional contexts, using social semiotic approaches, including systemic functional linguistics and multimodal discourse analysis, to enhance communication outcomes. Key areas of application include museum communication and academic literacy. Recent books include


Notes on Contributors

Museum Texts: Communication Frameworks (2006) and Analysing Academic Writing (2004, edited with Robert A. Ellis). CARMEN SANCHO GUINDA is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, where she teaches EAP, ESP and in-service seminars for engineering teachers undertaking English-medium instruction. Her research focus is the interdisciplinary analysis of academic and professional discourses and genres and innovation in the learning of academic literacies. She is currently engaged in pedagogical projects fostering critical and creative thought among engineering and business students and in studying the discourses through which universities commercialize their research. SUE STARFIELD is Associate Professor in the School of Education and Director of The Learning Centre at the University of New South Wales. She is co-author of Thesis and Dissertation Writing in a Second Language: A Handbook for Supervisors (with Brian Paltridge) and co-editor of the Handbook of English for Specific Purposes (with Brian Paltridge). She is co-editor of the journal English for Specific Purposes. Her research and publications cover tertiary academic literacies; advanced academic writing, postgraduate pedagogy, academic discourse socialisation, identity in academic writing and access and equity in higher education. ANNA STERMIERI is a Ph.D student in Comparative Languages and Cultures at the Doctoral School in Human Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Her research interests are focused on genre and discourse studies, in particular on the features of theatre criticism.

Linguistic Insights Studies in Language and Communication

This series aims to promote specialist language studies in the fields of linguistic theory and applied linguistics, by publishing volumes that focus on specific aspects of language use in one or several languages and provide valuable insights into language and communication research. A cross-disciplinary approach is favoured and most European languages are accepted. The series includes two types of books: – Monographs – featuring in-depth studies on special aspects of language theory, language analysis or language teaching. – Collected papers – assembling papers from workshops, conferences or symposia. Each volume of the series is subjected to a double peer-reviewing process. Vol.


Maurizio Gotti & Marina Dossena (eds) Modality in Specialized Texts. Selected Papers of the 1st CERLIS Conference. 421 pages. 2001. ISBN 3-906767-10-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-5340-4



Giuseppina Cortese & Philip Riley (eds) Domain-specific English. Textual Practices across Communities and Classrooms. 420 pages. 2002. ISBN 3-906768-98-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-5884-8



Maurizio Gotti, Dorothee Heller & Marina Dossena (eds) Conflict and Negotiation in Specialized Texts. Selected Papers of the 2nd CERLIS Conference. 470 pages. 2002. ISBN 3-906769-12-7 · US-ISBN 0-8204-5887-2



Maurizio Gotti, Marina Dossena, Richard Dury, Roberta Facchinetti & Maria Lima Variation in Central Modals. A Repertoire of Forms and Types of Usage in Middle English and Early Modern English. 364 pages. 2002. ISBN 3-906769-84-4 · US-ISBN 0-8204-5898-8

Editorial address: Prof. Maurizio Gotti

Università di Bergamo, Facoltà di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, Via Salvecchio 19, 24129 Bergamo, Italy Fax: 0039 035 2052789, E-Mail: [email protected]



Stefania Nuccorini (ed.) Phrases and Phraseology. Data and Descriptions. 187 pages. 2002. ISBN 3-906770-08-7 · US-ISBN 0-8204-5933-X



Vijay Bhatia, Christopher N. Candlin & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Legal Discourse in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts. Arbitration Texts in Europe. 385 pages. 2003. ISBN 3-906770-85-0 · US-ISBN 0-8204-6254-3



Marina Dossena & Charles Jones (eds) Insights into Late Modern English. 2nd edition. 378 pages. 2003, 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-257-9 · US-ISBN 978-0-8204-8927-8



Maurizio Gotti Specialized Discourse. Linguistic Features and Changing Conventions. 351 pages. 2003, 2005. ISBN 3-03910-606-6 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7000-7



Alan Partington, John Morley & Louann Haarman (eds) Corpora and Discourse. 420 pages. 2004. ISBN 3-03910-026-2 · US-ISBN 0-8204-6262-4



Martina Möllering The Acquisition of German Modal Particles. A Corpus-Based Approach. 290 pages. 2004. ISBN 3-03910-043-2 · US-ISBN 0-8204-6273-X



David Hart (ed.) English Modality in Context. Diachronic Perspectives. 261 pages. 2003. ISBN 3-03910-046-7 · US-ISBN 0-8204-6852-5



Wendy Swanson Modes of Co-reference as an Indicator of Genre. 430 pages. 2003. ISBN 3-03910-052-1 · US-ISBN 0-8204-6855-X



Gina Poncini Discursive Strategies in Multicultural Business Meetings. 2nd edition. 338 pages. 2004, 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-296-8 · US-ISBN 978-0-8204-8937-7



Christopher N. Candlin & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Intercultural Aspects of Specialized Communication. 2nd edition. 369 pages. 2004, 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-258-6 · US-ISBN 978-0-8204-8926-1



Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti & Elena Tognini Bonelli (eds) Academic Discourse. New Insights into Evaluation. 234 pages. 2004. ISBN 3-03910-353-9 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7016-3



Marina Dossena & Roger Lass (eds) Methods and Data in English Historical Dialectology. 405 pages. 2004. ISBN 3-03910-362-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7018-X



Judy Noguchi The Science Review Article. An Opportune Genre in the Construction of Science. 274 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-426-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7034-1



Giuseppina Cortese & Anna Duszak (eds) Identity, Community, Discourse. English in Intercultural Settings. 495 pages. 2005. ISBN 3-03910-632-5 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7163-1



Anna Trosborg & Poul Erik Flyvholm Jørgensen (eds) Business Discourse. Texts and Contexts. 250 pages. 2005. ISBN 3-03910-606-6 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7000-7



Christopher Williams Tradition and Change in Legal English. Verbal Constructions in Prescriptive Texts. 2nd revised edition. 216 pages. 2005, 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-444-3.



Katarzyna Dziubalska-Kolaczyk & Joanna Przedlacka (eds) English Pronunciation Models: A Changing Scene. 2nd edition. 476 pages. 2005, 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-682-9.



Christián Abello-Contesse, Rubén Chacón-Beltrán, M. Dolores López-Jiménez & M. Mar Torreblanca-López (eds) Age in L2 Acquisition and Teaching. 214 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-668-6 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7174-7



Vijay K. Bhatia, Maurizio Gotti, Jan Engberg & Dorothee Heller (eds) Vagueness in Normative Texts. 474 pages. 2005. ISBN 3-03910-653-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7169-0



Paul Gillaerts & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Genre Variation in Business Letters. 2nd printing. 407 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-681-2.



Ana María Hornero, María José Luzón & Silvia Murillo (eds) Corpus Linguistics. Applications for the Study of English. 2nd printing. 526 pages. 2006, 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-726-0



J. Lachlan Mackenzie & María de los Ángeles Gómez-González (eds) Studies in Functional Discourse Grammar. 259 pages. 2005. ISBN 3-03910-696-1 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7558-0



Debbie G. E. Ho Classroom Talk. Exploring the Sociocultural Structure of Formal ESL Learning. 2nd edition. 254 pages. 2006, 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-434-4



Javier Pérez-Guerra, Dolores González-Álvarez, Jorge L. Bueno-Alonso & Esperanza Rama-Martínez (eds) ‘Of Varying Language and Opposing Creed’: New Insights into Late Modern English. 455 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-788-9



Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Asian Business Discourse(s). 350 pages. 2005. ISBN 3-03910-804-2 · US-ISBN 0-8204-7574-2



Nicholas Brownlees (ed.) News Discourse in Early Modern Britain. Selected Papers of CHINED 2004. 300 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-805-0 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8025-8



Roberta Facchinetti & Matti Rissanen (eds) Corpus-based Studies of Diachronic English. 300 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-851-4 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8040-1



Marina Dossena & Susan M. Fitzmaurice (eds) Business and Official Correspondence: Historical Investigations. 209 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-880-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8352-4



Giuliana Garzone & Srikant Sarangi (eds) Discourse, Ideology and Specialized Communication. 494 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-888-6



Giuliana Garzone & Cornelia Ilie (eds) The Use of English in Institutional and Business Settings. An Intercultural Perspective. 372 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03910-889-3



Vijay K. Bhatia & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Explorations in Specialized Genres. 316 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-995-2 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8372-9



Heribert Picht (ed.) Modern Approaches to Terminological Theories and Applications. 432 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-156-6 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8380-X



Anne Wagner & Sophie Cacciaguidi-Fahy (eds) Legal Language and the Search for Clarity / Le langage juridique et la quête de clarté. Practice and Tools / Pratiques et instruments. 487 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-169-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8388-5



Juan Carlos Palmer-Silveira, Miguel F. Ruiz-Garrido & Inmaculada Fortanet-Gómez (eds) Intercultural and International Business Communication: Theory, Research and Teaching. 2nd edition. 343 pages. 2006, 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-680-5



Christiane Dalton-Puffer, Dieter Kastovsky, Nikolaus Ritt & Herbert Schendl (eds) Syntax, Style and Grammatical Norms: English from 1500–2000. 250 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-181-7 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8394-X



Marina Dossena & Irma Taavitsainen (eds) Diachronic Perspectives on Domain-Specific English. 280 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03910-176-0 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8391-5



John Flowerdew & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Studies in Specialized Discourse. 293 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-178-7



Ken Hyland & Marina Bondi (eds) Academic Discourse Across Disciplines. 320 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-183-3 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8396-6



Paul Gillaerts & Philip Shaw (eds) The Map and the Landscape: Norms and Practices in Genre. 256 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-182-5 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8395-4



Maurizio Gotti & Davide Giannoni (eds) New Trends in Specialized Discourse Analysis. 301 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-184-1 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8381-8



Maurizio Gotti & Françoise Salager-Meyer (eds) Advances in Medical Discourse Analysis: Oral and Written Contexts. 492 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-185-X · US-ISBN 0-8204-8382-6



Maurizio Gotti & Susan Šarcevi´c (eds) Insights into Specialized Translation. 396 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-186-8 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8383-4



Khurshid Ahmad & Margaret Rogers (eds) Evidence-based LSP: Translation, Text and Terminology. 584 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-187-9



Hao Sun & Dániel Z. Kádár (eds) It’s the Dragon’s Turn: Chinese Institutional Discourses. 262 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-175-6



Cristina Suárez-Gómez Relativization in Early English (950-1250): the Position of Relative Clauses. 149 pages. 2006. ISBN 3-03911-203-1 · US-ISBN 0-8204-8904-2



Maria Vittoria Calvi & Luisa Chierichetti (eds) Nuevas tendencias en el discurso de especialidad. 319 pages. 2006. ISBN 978-3-03911-261-6



Mari Carmen Campoy & María José Luzón (eds) Spoken Corpora in Applied Linguistics. 274 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-275-3



Konrad Ehlich & Dorothee Heller (Hrsg.) Die Wissenschaft und ihre Sprachen. 323 pages. 2006. ISBN 978-3-03911-272-2



Jingyu Zhang The Semantic Salience Hierarchy Model: The L2 Acquisition of Psych Predicates 273 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-300-2



Norman Fairclough, Giuseppina Cortese & Patrizia Ardizzone (eds) Discourse and Contemporary Social Change. 555 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-276-0



Jan Engberg, Marianne Grove Ditlevsen, Peter Kastberg & Martin Stegu (eds) New Directions in LSP Teaching. 331 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-433-7



Dorothee Heller & Konrad Ehlich (Hrsg.) Studien zur Rechtskommunikation. 322 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-436-8






Carmen Frehner Email – SMS – MMS 294 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-451-1



Isabel Balteiro The Directionality of Conversion in English: A Dia-Synchronic Study. 276 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-241-8



Maria Milagros Del Saz Rubio English Discourse Markers of Reformulation. 237 pages. 2007. ISBN 978-3-03911-196-1



Sally Burgess & Pedro Martín-Martín (eds) English as an Additional Language in Research Publication and Communication. 259 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-462-7



Sandrine Onillon Pratiques et représentations de l’écrit. 458 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-464-1



Hugo Bowles & Paul Seedhouse (eds) Conversation Analysis and Language for Specific Purposes. 2nd edition. 337 pages. 2007, 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0045-2



Vijay K. Bhatia, Christopher N. Candlin & Paola Evangelisti Allori (eds) Language, Culture and the Law. The Formulation of Legal Concepts across Systems and Cultures. 342 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-470-2



Jonathan Culpeper & Dániel Z. Kádár (eds) Historical (Im)politeness. 300 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-03911-496-2



Linda Lombardo (ed.) Using Corpora to Learn about Language and Discourse. 237 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-522-8



Natsumi Wakamoto Extroversion/Introversion in Foreign Language Learning. Interactions with Learner Strategy Use. 159 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-596-9



Eva Alcón-Soler (ed.) Learning How to Request in an Instructed Language Learning Context. 260 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-601-0



Domenico Pezzini The Translation of Religious Texts in the Middle Ages. 428 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-600-3



Tomoko Tode Effects of Frequency in Classroom Second Language Learning. Quasi-experiment and stimulated-recall analysis. 195 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-602-7



Egor Tsedryk Fusion symétrique et alternances ditransitives. 211 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-609-6



Cynthia J. Kellett Bidoli & Elana Ochse (eds) English in International Deaf Communication. 444 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-610-2



Joan C. Beal, Carmela Nocera & Massimo Sturiale (eds) Perspectives on Prescriptivism. 269 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-632-4



Carol Taylor Torsello, Katherine Ackerley & Erik Castello (eds) Corpora for University Language Teachers. 308 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-639-3



María Luisa Pérez Cañado (ed.) English Language Teaching in the European Credit Transfer System: Facing the Challenge. 251 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-654-6



Marina Dossena & Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade (eds) Studies in Late Modern English Correspondence. Methodology and Data. 291 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-658-4



Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade & Wim van der Wurff (eds) Current Issues in Late Modern English. 436 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-660-7



Marta Navarro Coy (ed.) Practical Approaches to Foreign Language Teaching and Learning. 297 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-661-4



Qing Ma Second Language Vocabulary Acquisition. 333 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-666-9



Martin Solly, Michelangelo Conoscenti & Sandra Campagna (eds) Verbal/Visual Narrative Texts in Higher Education. 384 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-672-0



Meiko Matsumoto From Simple Verbs to Periphrastic Expressions: The Historical Development of Composite Predicates, Phrasal Verbs, and Related Constructions in English. 235 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-675-1



Melinda Dooly Doing Diversity. Teachers’ Construction of Their Classroom Reality. 180 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-687-4



Victoria Guillén-Nieto, Carmen Marimón-Llorca & Chelo Vargas-Sierra (eds) Intercultural Business Communication and Simulation and Gaming Methodology. 392 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-688-1



Maria Grazia Guido English as a Lingua Franca in Cross-cultural Immigration Domains. 285 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-689-8



Erik Castello Text Complexity and Reading Comprehension Tests. 352 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-717-8



Maria-Lluisa Gea-Valor, Isabel García-Izquierdo & Maria-José Esteve (eds) Linguistic and Translation Studies in Scientific Communication. 317 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0069-8



Carmen Navarro, Rosa Mª Rodríguez Abella, Francesca Dalle Pezze & Renzo Miotti (eds) La comunicación especializada. 355 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-733-8



Kiriko Sato The Development from Case-Forms to Prepositional Constructions in Old English Prose. 231 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-763-5



Dorothee Heller (Hrsg.) Formulierungsmuster in deutscher und italienischer Fachkommunikation. Intra- und interlinguale Perspektiven. 315 pages. 2008. ISBN 978-3-03911-778-9



Henning Bergenholtz, Sandro Nielsen & Sven Tarp (eds) Lexicography at a Crossroads. Dictionaries and Encyclopedias Today, Lexicographical Tools Tomorrow. 372 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-799-4



Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani The Development of Controversies: From the Early Modern Period to Online Discussion Forums. 317 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-3911-711-6



María Luisa Carrió-Pastor (ed.) Content and Language Integrated Learning: Cultural Diversity. 178 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-3911-818-2



Roger Berry Terminology in English Language Teaching: Nature and Use. 262 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0013-1



Roberto Cagliero & Jennifer Jenkins (eds) Discourses, Communities, and Global Englishes 240 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0012-4



Facchinetti Roberta, Crystal David, Seidlhofer Barbara (eds) From International to Local English – And Back Again. 268 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0011-7



Cesare Gagliardi & Alan Maley (eds) EIL, ELF, Global English: Teaching and Learning Issues 376 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0010-0



Sylvie Hancil (ed.) The Role of Prosody in Affective Speech. 403 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-696-6



Marina Dossena & Roger Lass (eds) Studies in English and European Historical Dialectology. 257 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0024-7



Christine Béal Les interactions quotidiennes en français et en anglais. De l’approche comparative à l’analyse des situations interculturelles. 424 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0027-8

Vol. 100

Maurizio Gotti (ed.) Commonality and Individuality in Academic Discourse. 398 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0023-0

Vol. 101

Javier E. Díaz Vera & Rosario Caballero (eds) Textual Healing: Studies in Medieval English Medical, Scientific and Technical Texts. 213 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-03911-822-9

Vol. 102

Nuria Edo Marzá The Specialised Lexicographical Approach: A Step further in Dictionary-making. 316 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0043-8

Vol. 103

Carlos Prado-Alonso, Lidia Gómez-García, Iria Pastor-Gómez & David Tizón-Couto (eds) New Trends and Methodologies in Applied English Language Research. Diachronic, Diatopic and Contrastive Studies. 348 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0046-9

Vol. 104

Françoise Salager-Meyer & Beverly A. Lewin Crossed Words: Criticism in Scholarly Writing? 371 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0049-0.

Vol. 105

Javier Ruano-García Early Modern Northern English Lexis: A Literary Corpus-Based Study. 611 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0058-2

Vol. 106

Rafael Monroy-Casas Systems for the Phonetic Transcription of English: Theory and Texts. 280 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0059-9

Vol. 107

Nicola T. Owtram The Pragmatics of Academic Writing. A Relevance Approach to the Analysis of Research Article Introductions. 311 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0060-5

Vol. 108

Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe, Juan Manuel Sierra & Francisco Gallardo del Puerto (eds) Content and Foreign Language Integrated Learning. Contributions to Multilingualism in European Contexts 343 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0074-2

Vol. 109

Ángeles Linde López & Rosalía Crespo Jiménez (eds) Professional English in the European context: The EHEA challenge. 374 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0088-9

Vol. 110

Rosalía Rodríguez-Vázquez The Rhythm of Speech, Verse and Vocal Music: A New Theory. 394 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0309-5

Vol. 111

Anastasios Tsangalidis & Roberta Facchinetti (eds) Studies on English Modality. In Honour of Frank Palmer. 392 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0310-1

Vol. 112


Vol. 113

Mihhail Lotman & Maria-Kristiina Lotman (eds) Frontiers in Comparative Prosody. In memoriam: Mikhail Gasparov. 426 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0373-6

Vol. 114

Merja Kytö, John Scahill & Harumi Tanabe (eds) Language Change and Variation from Old English to Late Modern English. A Festschrift for Minoji Akimoto 422 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0372-9

Vol. 115

Giuliana Garzone & Paola Catenaccio (eds) Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives. 379 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-3-0343-0386-6

Vol. 116

Elena Landone Los marcadores del discurso y cortesía verbal en español. 390 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0413-9

Vol. 117

Maurizio Gotti & Christopher Williams (eds) Legal Discourse across Languages and Cultures. 339 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0425-2

Vol. 118

David Hirsh Academic Vocabulary in Context. 217 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0426-9

Vol. 119

Yvonne Dröschel Lingua Franca English. The Role of Simplification and Transfer. 358 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0432-0

Vol. 120

Tengku Sepora Tengku Mahadi, Helia Vaezian & Mahmoud Akbari Corpora in Translation. A Practical Guide. 135 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0434-4

Vol. 121

Davide Simone Giannoni & Celina Frade (eds) Researching Language and the Law. Textual Features and Translation Issues. 278 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0443-6

Vol. 122

Daniel Madrid & Stephen Hughes (eds) Studies in Bilingual Education. 472 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0474-0

Vol. 123

Vijay K. Bhatia, Christopher N. Candlin & Maurizio Gotti (eds) The Discourses of Dispute Resolution. 290 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0476-4

Vol. 124

Davide Simone Giannoni Mapping Academic Values in the Disciplines. A Corpus-Based Approach. 288 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0488-7

Vol. 125

Giuliana Garzone & James Archibald (eds) Discourse, Identities and Roles in Specialized Communication. 419 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0494-8

Vol. 126

Iria Pastor-Gómez The Status and Development of N+N Sequences in Contemporary English Noun Phrases. 216 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0534-1

Vol. 127

Carlos Prado-Alonso Full-verb Inversion in Written and Spoken English. 261 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0535-8

Vol. 128

Tony Harris & María Moreno Jaén (eds) Corpus Linguistics in Language Teaching. 214 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0524-2

Vol. 129

Tetsuji Oda & Hiroyuki Eto (eds) Multiple Perspectives on English Philology and History of Linguistics. A Festschrift for Shoichi Watanabe on his 80th Birthday. 378 pages. 2010. ISBN 978-3-0343-0480-1

Vol. 130

Luisa Chierichetti & Giovanni Garofalo (eds) Lengua y Derecho: líneas de investigación interdisciplinaria. 283 pages. 2010. 978-3-0343-0463-4

Vol. 131

Paola Evangelisti Allori & Giuliana Garzone (eds) Discourse, Identities and Genres in Corporate Communication. Sponsorship, Advertising and Organizational Communication. 324 pages. 2011. 978-3-0343-0591-4

Vol. 132


Vol. 133

Thomas Christiansen Cohesion: A Discourse Perspective. 387 pages. 2011. 978-3-0343-0619-5

Vol. 134

Giuliana Garzone & Maurizio Gotti Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise. Genres and Trends. 451 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0620-1

Vol. 135

Zsuzsa Hoffmann Ways of the World’s Words. Language Contact in the Age of Globalization. 334 pages 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0673-7

Vol. 136

Cecilia Varcasia (ed.) Becoming Multilingual. Language Learning and Language Policy between Attitudes and Identities. 213 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-0687-5

Vol. 137

Susy Macqueen The Emergence of Patterns in Second Language Writing. A Sociocognitive Exploration of Lexical Trails. 325 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1010-9

Vol. 138

Maria Vittoria Calvi & Giovanna Mapelli (eds) La lengua del turismo. Géneros discursivos y terminología. 365 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-1011-6

Vol. 139

Ken Lau Learning to Become a Professional in a Textually-Mediated World. A Text-Oriented Study of Placement Practices. 261 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1016-1

Vol. 140


Vol. 141

Edith Esch & Martin Solly (eds) The Sociolinguistics of Language Education in International Contexts. 263 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1009-3

Vol. 142–143 Forthcoming. Vol. 144

Margrethe Petersen & Jan Engberg (eds) Current Trends in LSP Research. Aims and Methods. 323 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-1054-3

Vol. 145


Vol. 146

Rita Salvi & Hiromasa Tanaka (eds) Intercultural Interactions in Business and Management. 306 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-1039-0

Vol. 147

Francesco Straniero Sergio & Caterina Falbo (eds) Breaking Ground in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies. 254 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1071-0

Vol. 148


Vol. 149

Vijay K. Bhatia & Paola Evangelisti Allori (eds) Discourse and Identity in the Professions. Legal, Corporate and Institutional Citizenship. 352 pages. 2011. ISBN 978-3-0343-1079-6

Vol. 150

Maurizio Gotti (ed.) Academic Identity Traits. A Corpus-Based Investigation. 363 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1141-0

Vol. 151

Priscilla Heynderickx, Sylvain Dieltjens, Geert Jacobs, Paul Gillaerts & Elizabeth de Groot (eds) The Language Factor in International Business. New Perspectives on Research, Teaching and Practice. 320 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1090-1

Vol. 152

Paul Gillaerts, Elizabeth de Groot, Sylvain Dieltjens, Priscilla Heynderickx & Geert Jacobs (eds) Researching Discourse in Business Genres. Cases and Corpora. 215 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1092-5

Vol. 153

Yongyan Zheng Dynamic Vocabulary Development in a Foreign Language. 262 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1106-9

Vol. 154


Vol. 155

David Hirsh (ed.) Current Perspectives in Second Language Vocabulary Research. 180 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1108-3

Vol. 156–157 Forthcoming. Vol. 158

Bárbara Eizaga Rebollar (ed.) Studies in Linguistics and Cognition. 301 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1138-0

Vol. 159


Vol. 160

Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia & Maurizio Gotti (eds) Insights into Academic Genres. 468 pages. 2012. ISBN 978-3-0343-1211-0

This volume presents the latest research of an international group of scholars engaged in the analysis of academic discourse from a genreoriented perspective. The area covered by this volume is a central one, as in the last few years important developments in research on academic discourse have not only concerned the more traditional genres, but, as well, generic innovations promoted by the new technologies, employed both in the presentation of research results and in their dissemination to a wider community by means of popularising and teaching activities. These innovations have not only favoured important changes in existing genres and the creation of new ones to meet emerging needs of the academic community, but have also promoted a serious discussion about the construct of genre itself. The various investigations gathered in this volume provide several examples of the complexity and flexibility of genres, which have shown to be subject to a continuous tension between stability and change as well as between convention and innovation.

Carol Berkenkotter is Professor of Rhetoric and Communication at the University of Minnesota. Her current research interests include the influence of digital technology on ‘emergent genres’ of the Internet, such as blogs, wikis, and Facebook.

Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia, Maurizio Gotti (eds) • Insights into Academic Genres


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Insights into Academic Genres

Peter Lang

Studies in Language and Communication

Carol Berkenkotter, Vijay K. Bhatia & Maurizio Gotti (eds)

Vijay K. Bhatia has recently retired as Professor from the City University of Hong Kong. His research interests include applied genre analysis; ESP and Professional Communication; crosscultural variation in professional discourses. Maurizio Gotti is Professor of English at the University of Bergamo. His main research areas are the features and origins of specialized discourse, English syntax and English lexicography.

Linguistic Insights