Part Six – Academic Discourse
Corpora and EAP: Specificity in Disciplinary Discourses Ken Hyland Abstract: The emergence of community-oriented views of literacy in recent years has led to greater research attention being devoted to the specific contexts of language use and this is particularly evident than in the field of English for Academic Purposes. Corpus studies have become invaluable here in revealing how language choices help construct both arguments and disciplines and showing how texts are successful only when they employ conventions that other members of the community find familiar and convincing. In this paper I draw on my own work conducted over several years into student and research genres to show how some familiar conventions of academic writing are employed by different fields. More specifically, I will use corpus and interview data to not only show how language differs across disciplines, but what these differences can tell us about the epistemological understandings and social practices of those fields. Keywords: Bundles, Citation, directives, Discipline, Discourse community, EAP, Genre, Hedges, Reporting verbs, Self-mention, Specificity. Corpora and EAP are perfect companions. What we know of genre structures, disciplinary variation, and lexico-grammatical uses in academic communication are largely a result of corpus studies conducted over the past ten years. Essentially, corpora bring evidence of typical patterning and salient features to the study of academic discourse, providing data which represent a speaker’s experience of language in a restricted domain. In other words, it is a method which moves away from individual preferences to focus on community practices, dematerializing texts...
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