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Academic Identity Traits

A Corpus-Based Investigation


Edited By Maurizio Gotti

This volume investigates identity traits in academic discourse. Its main purpose is to better understand how and to what extent language forms and functions are adapting to the globalisation of academic discourse. Key factors of verbal behaviour such as the affiliation of actors to one or more cultures have been found to interact, producing transversal identities that are independent of local traits, with a tendency to merge and hybridise in an intercultural sense. The volume consists of three main parts: The first deals with identity traits across languages and cultures, as the use of a given language affects the writing of a scholar, especially when it is not his/her native language. The second comprises investigations of identity features characterising specific disciplinary communities or marking a differentiation from other branches of knowledge. The third part of the volume deals with identity aspects emerging from genre and gender variation.


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MAURIZIO GOTTI 2. The CADIS Corpus This chapter provides a detailed description of the corpus compiled for the research project presented in the Introduction to this volume, targeting the relationship between sociocultural identity-related factors and textual variation in different areas of written English academic discourse. For this purpose a specialised corpus named CADIS (Corpus of Academic Discourse)1 was designed as a basis for the project’s investigations, so as to enable our research unit to explore a range of identity traits in a corpus of English academic texts from various disciplinary contexts. Our approach is not limited to linguistic evidence, however, but supplemented – wherever possible – with information regarding the communicative events and actors involved, for a reconstruction of the sociolinguistic context of the texts taken into consideration. All of these factors influence the emergence of identity variants whose evaluation and interpretation were carried out in the light of the latest literature. A key factor of verbal behaviour is the affiliation of actors to one or more cultures (whether professional, ideological, or ethnic- geographic) that variously affect not only the language itself but also the community’s thinking and internal relationships. For this reason, our corpus also compares English texts with their Italian equivalents, for a contrastive analysis of interculturality capable of highlighting the ‘positioning’ of different participants. 1 A breakdown of the corpus is available online at . 44 Maurizio Gotti 1. Compilation criteria Corpus linguistics offers powerful tools for the analysis of texts whose impact is today widely felt in many...

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