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The Language of Popularization- Die Sprache der Popularisierung

Theoretical and Descriptive Models- Theoretische und deskriptive Modelle


Edited By Giancarmine Bongo and Giuditta Caliendo

In today’s knowledge-based society, exploring the dynamics of communicating specialised contents to the lay public is an undoubtedly topical issue. However, popularization still remains a rather unexplored territory and recent contributions to the field seem to lack a consistent methodological orientation, with hesitations in terms of shared and codified definitions. The contributions to this volume constitute a step forward in the field of popularization studies. New scenarios have been explored with a view to providing shared theoretical and descriptive models from a linguistic perspective and investigating the way popularization is characterised and instantiated, also taking into account its intercultural dimension. The research methods and tools draw upon the analytical framework of discourse analysis, pragmatics, corpus linguistics and genre analysis.
In der heutigen Wissensgesellschaft sind die Mechanismen des Transfers von Fachwissen an Laien von großer Relevanz. Dennoch bleibt Popularisierung ein linguistisch noch relativ unbestimmtes und unerforschtes Phänomen. Ziel des Bandes ist deshalb, neue Perspektiven zu eröffnen und auf mögliche neue konsistente Modelle (sowohl theoretische als auch methodologische) hinzuweisen. Unterschiedliche Ansätze kommen dabei ins Spiel, u.a. Diskursanalyse, Rhetorik, Pragmatik, Korpuslinguistik und genre analysis.
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Connecting science. Organizational units in specialist and non-specialist discourse: Marina Bondi



The paper aims at providing an overview of variation across specialist and non-specialist genres in the discourse of science. The focus is on general language – and organizational units in particular (Sinclair/Mauranen 2006) – rather than specific terminology. Growing attention has been paid to the tools of discourse organization across disciplines (Hyland 2000; Hyland/Bondi 2006), banking on the assumption that discourse organizers can be helpful signposts to disciplinary argumentative strategies. The paper explores the variety of organizational units employed by the discourse of physics and biology in the SPACE Corpus, a corpus of academic journal articles and corresponding popularisations collected at the University of Chemnitz. The corpus allows a double dimension of comparison: across disciplines and across genres (and tenors). The methodology adopted for this study combines a corpus and a discourse perspective in a study of cross-generic variation. A preliminary analysis of frequency data offers an overview of quantitative variation. Attention is paid to a range of organizational units, from general connectives (‘but’, ‘if’, ‘so’) to meta-argumentative lexis (‘like’). The co-text of the nodes is then analyzed with a view to the textual patterns, as well as the semantic and pragmatic implications of the units. Organizational units are shown to contribute to highlighting the narrative of popular science, the social significance of the data or conclusions produced, as well as the relevance to current debates. They thus also become resources by which the author negotiates his/her position with the reader according to genre-specific orientations.


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