The chapter studies metadiscursive practices in academic writing with a view to a definition of how they vary across genres and disciplines. Comparative analysis of textbook introductory chapters and abstracts in the field of economics shows that metadiscursive practices play a major role in the two generic structures. Introductive chapters of textbooks centre on generic reference to the disciplinary community and use metadiscourse to highlight moves like: identifying a problem, presenting methodological tools, representing debate within the discipline, guiding the reader through argument. Abstracts, on the other hand, constitute a basically reflexive practice themselves and focus their reflexive activity on specific reference to the abstracted paper, in a representation of how researchers go about their research.The overview and the analysis confirm the expectation that the syntactic foregrounding of argumentative procedures, mostly linked to thematization of discourse constructs is really constitutive in abstracts, part of the abstract’s textual structures, whereas in textbooks, the representation of processes in relation to their human agents and their frequent nominalization is mostly attributable to the ideational dimension of textbooks, part of a strategy meant to offer the reader a representation of the argumentative procedures of the community.The findings presented here restate the need to consider multiple dimensions of language variation in the analysis of discourse patterns and their signals. The interplay between text and context can be analyzed with different degrees of delicacy, with reference to both discourse, defined as the general field of social activity in which the speech event takes place, and to genre, defined as the class of communicative events to which the specific set of texts belongs. Meta-argumentative expressions can be seen as constitutive in the definition of both academic discourse in general and academic abstracts in particular. The analysis also shows a close link between language choice and epistemology in academic discourse. When considered from the point of view of variation across disciplines, this case study confirms that metadiscursive expressions highlight issues that reflect the epistemological ethos of the disciplines: metadiscursive practices play a constitutive role in both fields, economics and history, but tend to represent discipline-specific argumentative procedures. As for the specific metadiscursive expressions that characterise the two disciplinary corpora and their typical lexico-grammatical patterns, the analysis shows differing patterns. Illocution markers tend to be more clearly foregrounded in the economics corpus, where they are also preferably associated to subjects that may be classified as discourse participants or discourse units. History, on the other hand, shows a clear preference for less “representational” textual patterns. Discourse processes are often thematized only in an introductory framework, which is then followed by sequences of direct statements about the object of discourse.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2005|
|Titolo:||"Metadiscursive practices in academic discourse: variation across genres and disciplines"|
|Titolo del libro:||Dialogue within discourse communities: metadiscursive perspectives on academic genres|
|Collana:||Beitraege zur Dialogsforschung|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Capitolo/Saggio|
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