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Investigating Specialized Discourse

Third Revised Edition

Maurizio Gotti

Investigating Specialized Discourse is a shortened and revised textbook edition of the monograph Specialized Discourse (2003). This book analyses the various features of specialized discourse in order to assess its degree of specificity and diversification, as compared to general language. Prior to any analysis of such traits, the notion of specialized discourse and its distinctive properties are clarified. The presence of such properties is accounted for not only in linguistic but also in pragmatic terms since the approach is interpretative rather than merely descriptive. Indeed, the complexity of this discourse calls for a multidimensional analysis, covering both lexis and morpho-syntax as well as textual patterning. Some lexical aspects, morpho-syntactic features and textual genres are also examined from a diachronic perspective, thus showing how various conventions concerning specialized discourse have developed over the last centuries.


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IV. Textual Features of Specialized Discourse - 79


IV. Textual Features of Specialized Discourse There are a number of features that distinguish specialized texts also from the textual standpoint. Many of these are peculiarities shared by all types of text – not only in specialized fields – and do not constitute a typological exception but rather a distinction in quantitative terms. In some cases, however, specialized texts seem to avoid the use of standard textual norms in favour of ‘deviant’ options whose motives this chapter seeks to address. It also reviews other peculiarities attributed to specialized discourse by previous studies, with an assessment of their accuracy. These similarly include exceptions that signal an analogy between certain specialized genres and other more general text types. 1. Anaphoric reference Various studies have shown that anaphoric reference is one of the most common devices deployed to increase textual cohesion (cf. Halliday/Hasan 1976, ch. 2). In conjunction with other referential phenomena, alongside ellipsis, substitution and lexical cohesion, it forms the textual framework which – combined with suitable cohesive devices – accounts for a text’s constituent features. This phenomenon is familiar in common language but far less so in specialized texts: in legal writing, for example, it is normally avoided in favour of lexical repetition. An illustration of this is the following paragraph taken from the Appendix to this volume: (1) The Member Firm shall notify Grantor in writing, of any infringement, imitation, passing off or use of the Service Marks or any confusingly similar marks by any third party which comes to its attention. The Member...

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