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The Dissemination of Contemporary Knowledge in English

Genres, Discourse Strategies and Professional Practices


Rita Salvi and Janet Bowker

This volume brings together a series of studies on the nature of the dissemination of specialist knowledge in English, its various principles, conceptualizations, constructs and pragmatic dynamics, over a range of discourse genres: knowledge discourse is addressed to a number of audiences, expert and lay, in a variety of fields, legal, political, economic, institutional, academic, organizational and professional. The authors explore the use of language in the creation and diffusion of knowledge, in its transformation from being a mere repository of information, achieved through complex discursive processes. These processes use both general pragma-linguistic textual resources, and also derive from the communicative practices specific to the discourse communities in question. The studies as a whole demonstrate the multi-levels of knowledge, its very varied typology, and its dynamic nature in ongoing co-construction, maintenance and updating among heterogeneous audiences.
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Evidential Devices in English Medical Journals


1. Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to investigate some of the evidential markers used in a range of specialized medical journals, a genre where reference to evidence is of fundamental importance. Writers of this kind of literature need to substantiate their statements by providing some kind of evidence, specifying how they obtained the information conveyed. Therefore, besides that of the author, other voices are incorporated into the text not only to testify to awareness of previous works but mainly to “provide justification for arguments and demonstrate the novelty of one’s position” (Hyland 1999: 342). As a result, evidentiality is a powerful means for bestowing trustworthiness on a text and creating a reliable image of the author.

In this chapter I shall analyse the features of some evidential formulations in the attempt to provide an answer to the following questions:

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