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Abstracts in Academic Discourse

Variation and Change

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Edited By Marina Bondi and Rosa Lorés Sanz

The book brings together a rich variety of perspectives on abstracts as an academic genre. Drawing on genre analysis and corpus linguistics, the studies collected here combine attention to generic structure with emphasis on language variation and change, thus offering a multi-perspective view on a genre that is becoming one of the most important in present-day research communication. The chapters are organized into three sections, each one offering distinct but sometimes combined perspectives on the exploration of this academic genre. The first section looks at variation across cultures through studies comparing English with Spanish, Italian and German, while also including considerations on variation across genders or the native/non-native divide. The second section centres on variation across disciplines and includes a wide range of studies exploring disciplinary identities and communities, as well as different degrees of centrality in the disciplinary community. The third and final section explores language and genre change by looking at how authorial voice and metadiscourse have changed over the past few decades under the influence of different media and different stakeholders.
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On English and Italian Research Article Abstracts: Genre Variation Across Cultures: Giuliana Diani

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GIULIANA DIANI

On English and Italian Research Article Abstracts: Genre Variation across Cultures

1.Introduction

Great interest has been shown over the last two decades in the study of academic discourse, especially from a genre perspective (Swales 1990, 2004; Bhatia 1993, 2004). Research in the field has mainly focused on highly conventionalised written academic genres, such as research articles, abstracts, and textbooks, often combining linguistic and rhetorical analysis. Although not as widely studied as the research article itself or the textbook, the abstract has drawn the attention of a number of genre researchers (Salager-Meyer 1990a; Bhatia 1993; Kaplan et al. 1994; Santos 1996; Bondi 1997, 2001; Hyland 2000; Martín-Martín 2003; Dahl 2004a; Lorés-Sanz 2004; Samraj 2005; Pho 2008; Bondi/Cavalieri 2012).

Genre-based studies on research article (RA) abstracts have received quite a lot of scholarly attention in English (e.g. Graetz 1985; Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995; Santos 1996; Hyland 2000; Lorés-Sanz 2004; Cross/Oppenheim 2006; Swales/Feak 2009), across different disciplinary fields (Harvey/Horsella 1988; Salager-Meyer 1990a; Tibbo 1992; Lindeberg 1996; Anderson/Maclean 1997; Hartley/Benjamin 1998; Samraj 2005), and across cultures. There are papers comparing English with Spanish (Martín-Martín 2003, 2005; Lorés-Sanz 2009a), French (Van Bonn/Swales 2007), Portuguese (Johns 1992), German (Busch-Lauer 1995), Swedish (Melander et al. 1997), and Arabic (Alharbi/Swales 2011). One notable exception to date is lack of attention to abstracts written in Italian.

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