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Insights Into Medical Communication


Edited By Maurizio Gotti, Stefania Maria Maci and Michele Sala

This book analyses the subject of medical communication from a range of innovative perspectives, covering a broad spectrum of approaches and procedures that are particularly significant in this field.
In this volume, medical communication is analyzed from various viewpoints: not only from a merely linguistic angle, with a focus on the description of the genres used in medical and healthcare contexts, but also from a social and cultural standpoint, with an emphasis both on the doctor-patient relationship and on the social relevance of the other types of communicative links existing between the many communities involved in this type of interaction.
The study of some of the main fields typical of medical communication has highlighted a considerable variety of themes, data and research methods which are clearly representative of the eclectic interest in this specific domain and of the wide range of approaches developed for its investigation.
As the various chapters show, linguistic analysis proves to be highly applicable to textualizations involving multiple interactions and practices, and several kinds of participants, including different healthcare professionals, trainees and patients.
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Semantic Sequences and the Pragmatics of Medical Research Article Writing


1.  Introduction

In today’s medical profession, there is increasing recognition that doctors should develop clinical as well as research-oriented skills. In this respect, the medical discourse community demands that they become ever more active members of the discipline in both doing and writing about the research they undertake (Swales 2004). One implication of such a complex training process is that doctors are expected to familiarise themselves with the communicative requirements of medical research texts, and more precisely with their key pragmatic aspects.

This may request that doctors acquire sound knowledge of the relationship between the discourse structures of the discipline and its underlying epistemology (Dahl 2004; Engberg 2010). This is an overall challenging task in terms of language-teaching methodology and syllabus design, whereby the need for a grammar addressing fluency as well as context-based accuracy goes hand in hand with the expectation that “descriptions of language will be based on quantities of authentic data rather than on a course writer’s intuitions and/or language prejudices” (Hunston/Francis 1998: 45).

It is within such an educational setting that specialised corpora (Hunston 2002; McEnery/Hardie 2011; Gabrielatos et al. 2012) deserve to be acknowledged as a source of significant insights to socialise medical students along with practitioners into the distinctive communicative practices of scientific communities. This aspect should become central when it comes to the prolific output of corpus investigation to show the recurrence of co-occurring items in text. In that regard, the adoption of corpus-based approaches...

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