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Abstracts in Academic Discourse

Variation and Change


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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Research Article Abstracts as Domain-specific Epistemological Indicators: A Corpus-based Study: Michele Sala



Research Article Abstracts as Domain-specific Epistemological Indicators: A Corpus-based Study


This chapter discusses research article abstracts (RAABs) as an embodiment of central discipline-related epistemological factors. Using RAABs in four different disciplines – namely Applied linguistics (henceforth ALABs), Economics (ECABs), Law (LAABs) and Medicine (MEABs) – we will investigate how differently and according to what linguistic parameters such texts codify ideational material, represent disciplinary beliefs and values, and negotiate meanings with the community of reference.

The adherence to disciplinary epistemology-based canons is central to RAABs for several reasons (Melander et al. 1997; Lorés 2004; Samraj 2005). First, the RAAB is an academic genre whose purpose is to anticipate and point to an associated text, i.e. the corresponding research article (henceforth RA), by performing both an informative and a promotional function (Berkenkotter/Huckin 1995; Hyland 2007; Bondi 2010a), namely by selectively indicating the content of the ensuing text and eliciting the reader's interest or curiosity as to the type of contribution and the possible worth of the following RA (Swales/Feak 2009). This promotional function is textually realized through the deployment of conventionalized linguistic strategies, especially at the interpersonal level of discourse, which are distinctively discipline specific, by the use of which writers represent both themselves as ‘insiders’ (Hyland 2007) and, as a consequence, their research as the work of an expert, i.e. a representative and recognizable community member. ← 199 | 200 →

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