A Corpus-Based Investigation
MAURIZIO GOTTI 1. Variation in Academic Texts 23
MAURIZIO GOTTI 1. Variation in Academic Texts Far from being a single, monolithic dimension of discourse, the expression of academic identity has become increasingly fluid and negotiable (Wright 2000; Pavlenko/Blackledge 2003). Swales (1998), for instance, has shown how discursive differentiations may operate even across three floors of the same university building and there is ample evidence (e.g. Crammond 1998; Hyland 2000) that academic writing is not a uniform body of discourse but varies according to disciplinary conventions, cultural expectations and writers’ profes- sional status and experience. Several textual features have been investigated as markers of authorial presence and stance, such as the use of first-person and indefinite pronouns, realisations of epistemic modality, argumentative connectives, negative and concessive con- structions, specific lexemes and metatextual expressions. Although different academic discourses favour specific generic characteristics (Swales 1990; Bhatia 1993), they also allow writers a certain degree of flexibility. At the same time, genres themselves are not stable but highly dynamic and tightly related to their socio-professional contexts (Bhatia 2004; Swales 2004a; Bhatia/Gotti 2006). 1. Globalising trends in the academic field In recent years, the weakening of cultural, disciplinary and national barriers, especially in the context of co-operation and collaboration at an international level, has accelerated moves towards the globalisation of socio-cultural and communicative practices. This process offers a topical illustration of the interaction between linguistic and cultural 24 Maurizio Gotti factors in the construction of discourse, both within specialised domains and in wider contexts (Candlin/Gotti 2004, 2007). But as language is strictly linked...
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