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Metadiscourse in Academic Speech

A Relevance-Theoretic Approach

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Marta Aguilar

Even though metadiscourse has recently received considerable attention, most research revolves around written, not spoken, metadiscourse. This book studies spoken metadiscourse in two academic genres in the engineering field, the lecture and the peer seminar. It examines what motivates metadiscourse and how engineering academics resort to different types of metadiscourse when they address different audiences. Based on relevance theory (RT), this study provides a socio-cognitive framework within which metadiscourse is analysed. The author draws on RT’s generic concept of cognitive environment and uses it to describe the academic context in particular. This theoretical perspective provides novel insights into motivations, abilities and preferences of engineering academics when using metadiscourse in the two genres under study.

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List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Transcription Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Chapter One Exploring Discourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 1. Discourse Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 1.1 Interdisciplinarity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 1.2 General Issues in Discourse Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 1.3 Core Properties of Language and Discourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 2. Meaning, Context and Communication in Pragmatics . . . . . . . . . . 31 3. Relevance Theory: a Cognitive Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 3.1 The First Principle of Relevance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 3.2 The Second Principle of Relevance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 3.3 Explicature and Implicature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 3.4 Connectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 3.5 Final Remark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 8Chapter Two Exploring Metadiscourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 1. Metadiscourse: an Appraisal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 1.1 Early Approaches to Metadiscourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 1.2 Later Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 1.3 Integrative and Separative Approaches to Metadiscourse . 81 1.4 Relevance-theoretic Interpretations of Metadiscourse . . . . 89 2. A Picture of Metadiscourse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 2.1 Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 2.2 Effort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 3. Discourse and Metadiscourse Integrated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Chapter Three The Scientific Community: Situating Cognition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 1. The Scientific Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 1.1 The Scientific Discourse Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 2. Communication in Science . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 2.1 The Social Context of Scientific Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 2.2 Rhetorical Studies: Persuasion in Scientific Communication and the Scientific Community as Audience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129 2.3 Genre Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 3. Goal and Hypothesis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 Chapter Four Two Forms of Communication in the Academia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 1. Method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 2. Analysis of Lectures and Seminars from a Socio-Cognitive Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 2.1 Defining Lectures and Peer Seminars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 2.2 Mapping the Shared Arena of Lectures and Seminars . . . . 161 2.3 The Singularities of the Lecture Arena and the Seminar Arena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 3. A Relevance-theoretic Interpretation of Metadiscourse . . . . . . . . 205...

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