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Current Trends in LSP Research

Aims and Methods

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Edited By Margrethe Petersen and Jan Engberg

This volume offers an overview of new perspectives and ongoing developments in research on Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) and specialised discourse. Traditionally investigated on the basis of terminology and genre studies, the area now also draws on such diverse fields as sociolinguistics, sociology, psychology and communication studies. This widening range of perspectives increases the need for insights into and knowledge about current developments in research on LSP and specialised discourse.
The chapters included here have been selected to address this need. Based on papers presented at the XVII European LSP Symposium, they reflect its focus: aims and methods in current research on LSP and specialised discourse. Two chapters present the research history of the area, its current status, and emergent issues. Nine chapters exemplify methods currently applied, new aims pursued, or new aims supported by innovative methods. The methods include discourse analysis, use of specialist informants, study of multimedia texts, sociological observation, interviews, etc. The aims vary from unveiling politicians’ linguistic representation of the 2008 financial meltdown over inclusion of visual representations in LSP research to clarifying the limits of lay understanding of specialised knowledge. In sum, the volume offers the reader a holistic, yet multi-faceted overview of state-of-the-art research in this area.

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Epilogue

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CHRISTOPHER N. CANDLIN / JONATHAN CRICHTON Emergent Themes and Research Challenges: Reconceptualising LSP Preamble: Histories and Perspectives The beginning point of this chapter is that of identifying a process of intellectual and research development in LSP which closely mirrors that which Sarangi and Candlin have advanced in a number of publi- cations as characterising applied linguistics in general (see Candlin 2002, Sarangi/Candlin 2003a and b, 2004a and b, 2011a and b). Such a process, they argue, evidences a gradual shift of research attention from text-based linguistic and genre analytical accounts of special purpose texts-as-objects, through interpretive, ethnographically in- formed studies of interaction in specific domains and in a range of sites, towards more problem-centered interventionist studies necessar- ily involving close collaborative and jointly problematised work (see Sarangi/Candlin 2001) between applied linguists and professionals from a range of specific professional fields. Example fields they cite include inter alia law and justice, management and organisational studies, medicine and healthcare, bureaucracy, social work; and, as they further note, where within those fields analysts’ and participants’ attention is drawn towards exploring key and focal themes (see Rob- erts/Sarangi 2005) arising from the practices and perspectives of those professionals, and with a mutual interest in the potential for this participatory and collaborative research to make a contribution to changes in such practices. Two initial comments are important in respect of such a brief and synoptic account: firstly, that the gradual interconnection the process implies of description, interpretation and explanation is by no means new; it...

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