A Corpus-Based Approach
8. Relevance markers 175
175 8. Relevance markers The fourth and last category of markers identified in the global WL centres on the notion of ‘relevance’, conceptualised here as a quality attached by RA authors to referents deemed to be important/pertinent in a given context. Relevance is a key aspect of the academic value system in that it signals aspects of research deserving special attention on the interlocutor’s part. As an analytical category it is dealt with (albeit differently) also elsewhere: Hunston (1994: 199) lists ‘relevance’ as one of the three functions of evaluative speech acts, alongside ‘status’ and ‘value’; more recently, Thompson and Hunston have argued that ‘importance or relevance’ is one of the four parameters of evaluation (the other three being good/bad, certainty and expected- ness) and that its function is largely metadiscoursal: It is part of the discourse itself that is evaluated as important, directing the reader towards the main point of the text. This is typically signalled through adjectives and adverbs such as important and significantly. [...] Evaluation along the importance parameter appears to play a key role in the organization of texts, as indications of the importance or relevance of information are found especially at the beginning and end of paragraphs or discourse sections. (Thompson/Hunston 2000: 24) Turning from evaluative discourse in general to the explicit lexicalisa- tions of this parameter, it is useful to recall that relevance is also among the seven analytical categories – indicating “how closely related something is to the topic or field being discussed” – identified in...
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