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Academic Discourse – New Insights into Evaluation

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Edited By Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti and Elena Tognini Bonelli

This volume assembles a selection of papers presented at an international conference held in Pontignano, Siena, (14-16 June 2003). It discusses the concept of evaluation in academic discourse and the methodological tools most apt to investigate it. All contributions focus on a crucial dimension of academic communication: the epistemic and attitudinal assessment of content and the argumentative and metadiscourse devices used to interact with audiences of scholars or novices. The assembled contributions deal with theoretical and methodological issues including diverse academic genres ranging from written and oral texts. A report of the discussion on evaluation in academic texts concludes the volume.

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PAUL DREW (YORK): Integrating Qualitative Analysis of Evaluative Discourse with the Quantitative Approach of Corpus Linguistics 217

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PAUL DREW Integrating qualitative analysis of evaluative discourse with the quantitative approach of corpus linguistics Papers were presented at the conference which explored academic evaluation either in the context of discourse in interactional (face-to- face) situations such as lectures and seminars, or, more particularly, through discoursal constructions employed in textual materials (book reviews, journal articles etc.) which were interactional in so far as they frequently involved evaluations of, and challenges and responses to, the published work of other authors. Thus papers focused on the evaluative roles played by particular modes or constructions identified in discourse analysis (such as negations, in the chapter by Webber, or verb tense, in Tucker’s chapter). These discourse modes and functions were investigated through the largely quantitative techniques devel- oped within corpus linguistics. There is no doubt that corpus linguistics has begun to make a sig- nificant contribution to our understanding of the pragmatics and ‘rhetoric’ of discourse and that it offers a more comprehensive and po- tentially more powerful approach than some other methods for inves- tigating large scale linguistic phenomena in discourse, such as co- location (co-occurrence, concordance) analysis. There is no doubt also that since evaluation is just such a lexical phenomenon, and since cor- pus linguistics is so lexically based, then corpus linguistics (hereafter CL) is particularly well suited to exploring how language is used evaluatively in academic discourse. Academic writing and speech is, of course, as unremittingly rhetorical as any other: no matter how technical and seemingly detached a scientific paper...

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