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Crossed Words: Criticism in Scholarly Writing

Salager-Meyer, Françoise / Lewin, Beverly A. (eds)

Crossed Words: Criticism in Scholarly Writing

Series: Linguistic Insights - Volume 104

Year of Publication: 2011

Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. 371 pp., num. fig. and tables
ISBN 978-3-0343-0049-0 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.540 kg, 1.190 lbs

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Book synopsis

In order for science to advance, previous research findings must be reviewed and criticized. However, conveying criticism is particularly difficult for scientists who must, at the same time, try to maintain an impersonal stance. This co-edited collection of independent studies written by scholars from many different countries addresses the thorny issue of criticism in science through discourse analysis of written scientific texts.
The research reported in this volume deals with questions such as: 1) how criticism is conveyed by various linguistic communities, such as Serbian, French, Spanish, German and English; 2) how criticism is handled in various genres, with examples drawn from book reviews, referees’ reports, research articles, editorials, and review/meta-analysis papers; 3) the extent to which criticism is influenced by academic discipline, with findings from linguistics, economics, biology, business, musicology, chemistry, literary research, medicine, and physics, and 4) the impact interpersonal considerations have on the linguistic realization of criticism.
The conclusions reached by these contributions have implications for both the academic world and society at large in the sense that a fuller understanding of how criticism is expressed will help in the education of future scholars and in the understanding of the social construction of knowledge.


Contents: Françoise Salager-Meyer/Beverly A. Lewin: Introduction – Federico Navarro: The Critical Act as a Pragmatic Unit for Studying Academic Conflict: A Methodological Framework – Esmat Babaii: Hard Science, Hard Talk? The Study of Negative Comments in Physics Book Reviews – Davide Simone Giannoni: ‘Don’t be stupid about intelligent design’: Confrontational Impoliteness in Medical Journal Editorials – Dimitra Koutsantoni: ‘I felt that the proposal had some promise, but was hampered by lack of specificity [...]’: Personal Attribution and Mitigation in Grant Proposals Peer review Reports – Beverly A. Lewin/Hadara Perpignan: Mind the Gap: Criticism in Literary Criticism – Seyyed-Abdolhamid Mirhosseini: Who Accepts? Who Rejects? The Case of a Rejected Paper in Applied Linguistics – Françoise Salager-Meyer/María Ángeles Alcaraz Ariza: Expert Knowledge-Holders, Knowledge-Builders and Factual Reporters: Critical Voices in Medical Genres – Zofia Golebiowski: Scholarly Criticism Across Discourse Communities – Ana I. Moreno Fernández/Lorena Suárez: Academic Book Reviews of Literature in English and Spanish: Writers’ Visibility and Invisibility Strategies for Expressing Critical Comments – Trine Dahl/Kjersti Fløttum: Wrong or Just Different? How Existing Knowledge is Staged to Promote New Claims in English Economics and Linguistics Articles – Phuong Dzung Pho/Simon Musgrave/Julie Bradshaw: Establishing a Niche in Applied Linguistics and Educational Technology Research Articles – Bojana Petrić: Scholarly Criticism in a Small Academic Community: A Diachronic Study of Book Reviews in the Oldest Serbian Scholarly Journal – Olivia Fong-wa HA: A Diachronic Study of Music Criticism: The Case of Record Reviews.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Françoise Salager-Meyer teaches English for Specific Purposes and Russian at the University of the Andes (Mérida, Venezuela), where she co-ordinates the Multidisciplinary and Multilingual Research Group on Scientific Discourse Analysis. She has published several articles dealing with the linguistic, rhetorical and discoursal features of medical English, Spanish and French prose in international journals and has edited the Language and Medicine section of the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (2005).
Beverly A. Lewin has over 30 years experience teaching scientific writing, chiefly at Tel Aviv University and also at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Her research mainly focuses on the interpersonal aspects of scientific writing, namely strategies for realizing politeness and criticism. She is also working on genre analysis of literary research texts. In addition, she has published a textbook for novice writers, Writing Readable Research: A Guide for Students of Social Science.


«(The studies presented here) all contribute to a better understanding of what is at stake when scholars express their opinion on work produced by their peers, and a few of them actually shed light on some recent trends that had not been brought to light before. It is consequently clear to this reviewer that ‘Crossed Words: Criticism in Scholarly Writing’ is worth reading for anybody with an interest in the long and tortuous process that constitutes the development of modern science.» (François Maniez, Anglais de Spécialité)
«I wholeheartedly recommend ‘Crossed Words: Criticism in Scholarly Writing’ to any member of the academic community (students, researchers, ESP and EAP practitioners, scientists and technology professionals alike) interested in the inner workings of critical scholarly writing.» (Carmen Sancho-Guinda, Ibérica 25, 2013)


Linguistic Insights. Studies in Language and Communication. Vol. 104
Edited by Maurizio Gotti