Introduction Parallel to the rapid development of academic discourse analysis, a lively interest has arisen in how evaluation is expressed in all types of academic texts: written and oral, scholarly and pedagogical. A confer- ence was organised in Pontignano, near Siena, last year to discuss the concept of evaluation in such texts and the methodological tools most apt to investigate it. This volume focuses on evaluation through individual contribu- tions by leading researchers working in this area; they represent a va- riety of diverse views and approaches, but all share the common goal of throwing light on a crucial dimension of academic communication: the epistemic and attitudinal assessment of content and the argumen- tive and metadiscourse devices used to interact with audiences of scholars or novices. The contributions selected for this book not only witness the interest in ways of signalling evaluation in academic texts, but also show the breadth and depth of the field. Their focuses range from papers addressing general issues to papers focusing on specific cases employing a variety of analytical tools, including qualitative and quantitative analysis of both small and large corpora. Moreover, the book considers the time dimension with some contributions looking at changes in ways of expressing and interpreting evaluation over time in accordance with changes in disciplinary practices and culture. The chapters of the book can be roughly divided into three parts which illustrate different ways of focusing on the topic of the confer- ence. The first deals with the basic modes of...
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