The notion of voice has been discussed from different perspectives in academic discourse studies, often in relation to discursive identity and self-representation in research genres. Not much attention has been paid, however, to what constitutes authorial voice in a textbook. Textbook writers tend to hide behind the values of the community, often attributing stance to the community in general, but attention should be paid to ways of expressing epistemic and deontic modality, attitudinal values or evaluations of importance. Focusing on authorial voice in academic textbooks, this chapter looks at writers’ professional identities, studying how writers relate discursively to their object of discourse as well as to other textual voices, especially other discourse participants - the student-reader and the discourse community at large. The chapter presents an overview of the literature on voice in textbooks showing that this has often looked at textbooks as merely expositive texts, concealing the argumentative nature of science in an attempt to offer an established view of the discipline. The literature review also shows that a range of lexico-grammatical tools can be used in the typical moves of instructional discourse. These include self-mention, forms of engagement and markers of evaluation, highlighting the writer’s interpretative position in the text and the dialogic involvement of other voices: issues like factivity, hedging, attribution, metadiscourse and repetitive textual structures can contribute to the voice of the textbook writer addressing the student as well as the colleague. The overview of the literature is followed by a sample study of a corpus of academic history, representative of the authorial voices university students are exposed to in their early studies. Historical discourse seems to deviate from some specific tendencies noted in the hard and social sciences. Hedging, for example, is found to be more frequent in textbook chapters than in journal articles, but it is also accompanied by greater display of data and facts. The overview of positive and negative keywords reveals a varied use of authorial voice: the Textbook writer moves between the Recounter (with an emphasis on facts and the narrative) and the Intepreter (assessing historical actors and processes of change), whereas the researcher talking to other researchers in the journal article highlights the Academic Arguer (placing the research in the context of a debate). Markers of importance prove to be in line with this tendency, variously showing a preference for forms that assess entities and processes, rather than alternative perspectives. The voice of the Interpreter, supported by the authority of the Recounter, may well be the most suitable for a genre addressing such a wide range of readers with their background knowledge and expertise.
Authorial voice in textbooks: between exposition and argument / Bondi, Marina. - STAMPA. - (2012), pp. 101-115.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Titolo:||Authorial voice in textbooks: between exposition and argument|
|Titolo del libro:||Stance and Voice in Academic Discourse|
|Nazione editore:||REGNO UNITO DI GRAN BRETAGNA|
|Citazione:||Authorial voice in textbooks: between exposition and argument / Bondi, Marina. - STAMPA. - (2012), pp. 101-115.|
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