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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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VIII. The Formation of the Lexis of Computer Science - 167

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VIII. The Formation of the Lexis of Computer Science Although it is a fairly recent subject, information science has rapidly assumed a very important role in the modern world. The use of com- puters has become more and more widespread in all countries as too has the vocabulary related to this field. Since it is a relatively new branch with specific concepts and tools, information science has deve- loped its own terminology, part of which derives from other disci- plines or from general English, and part of which has been devised for this discipline only. The main purpose of this chapter is to examine the lexis used in computer science texts, in order to ascertain the pro- cesses most commonly used in the formation of their terms. Such pro- cesses will be compared to those commonly adopted in general En- glish and any possible discrepancies will be pointed out. Comparisons will also be made with the main features of other specialized lan- guages in order to discover similarities and differences. The second part of the chapter will take into consideration some recently-coined terms belonging to the lexis of computer science, in order to ouline the processes of word-formation employed. 1. Main features of the lexis of computer science Before starting our analysis some clarifications ought to be provided: not all the words used in computer science texts will be taken into consideration here. Of the three categories of lexis found in scientific and technical texts by Inman (1978) – functional, subtechnical...

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