Edited By Barbara Kryk-Kastovsky
Concessivity in scholarly prose: An intercultural study. Zofia Golebiowski, Deakin University
Concessivity in scholarly prose: An intercultural study Zofia Golebiowski, Deakin University 1. Introduction The skill to argue successfully is essential in academic writing. Academic argumenta- tion requires presenting novel frameworks and often challenges existing paradigms. In order not to be perceived as too assertive or be accused of making bold claims without sufficient grounds, writers tend to employ strategies aiming at toning down the strength of their argumentation. Failure to modulate successfully has been viewed as a feature of an undergraduate student (Skelton 1988: 40). Refraining from making strong and straightforward assertions is related to the positions academic writers wish to adopt in their research discourse communities and communities of their readers. It has been pointed out that while varying degrees of deference maybe expressed in relations between individual researchers, in research writing authors face the entire discourse community of readers, before whom “they need to humble themselves” (Myers 1989: 13). This results in authors making scientific claims “provisional, pending acceptance by the community” (Myers 1989: 13). The strategies aimed at reducing the certainty and precision of propositions have been usually researched under the rubric of “hedging”. Studies on academic hedging include the examination and comparison of downtoning across fields of study and across cultures. Among the former we find studies comparing hedging constructions in the sciences and humanities (e.g., Skelton 1988), social sciences and hard sciences (e.g., Crismore 1989), as well as more specific disciplinary investigations, such as those dealing with academic literary texts (Simpson 1990), texts in economics...
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