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Claim-making and Claim-challenging in English and Polish Linguistic Discourses

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Grzegorz Kowalski

The book presents the results of multi-parameter corpus research on Polish and English scientific discourses in the field of Linguistics. Highlighting the relevance of contextual variables (including time, culture, L1 vs. L2 language) in research framework, the study develops a discourse model of the scientific article, integrating paradigmatic, interpersonal and textual dimensions. The model is applied to investigate distribution patterns of linguistic exponents of claim-making and claim-challenging, i.e. two processes fundamental to scientific argumentation. The results show the changes which English and Polish linguistic discourses underwent between 1980 and 2010, and the extent to which English as lingua franca of modern science affects Polish L1 and English L2 linguistic discourses.
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In the present work I have analyzed English and Polish scientific discourses in the field of linguistics in terms of discursive strategies involved in claim-making and claim-challenging, that is two processes considered fundamental to scientific publications. Similarities and differences in the distribution of the relevant strategies have been examined in order to reveal possible regularities in their use, as well as to find the possible reasons for positive and negative deviations from the standard frequencies.

Three research questions were formulated and investigated in the empirical analysis: (1) How have English and Polish linguistic discourses changed during the period 1980–2010?; (2) What are the similarities and differences in linguistic discourses in articles written by Polish authors in their mother tongue and in English?; (3) To what extent does the status of English as the lingua franca of modern science affect scientific discourses in languages other than English?

The analysis was based on an interdisciplinary approach developed from theories and models in the fields of discourse analysis, pragmatics and ethnopragmatics, and contrastive rhetoric. Methods and tools of corpus research were employed, supported with dedicated software. The methodology adopted offers at least two advantages. Firstly, corpus research enables a large-scale, multi-parameter analysis, which involves numerous elicitable parameters and takes into account several contextual variables. Secondly, it provides precise statistical results, which can be easily compared with each other.

The empirical research was carried out on a corpus of 210 scientific articles (1,639,373...

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