METADISCOURSE ACROSS GENRES:
IN SPOKEN & WRITTEN DISCOURSES
Prof. Ken Hyland (The University of Hong Kong)
Metadiscourse: What's new?
Research into the meanings and expression of metadiscourse in writing has become something of a minor industry among those interested in how interaction works in academic persuasion. We have seen a proliferation of studies in recent years using the interactive model to reveal some of the ways that writers monitor their ongoing text to make it coherent, relevant and persuasive to a particular community of imagined readers. Despite this abundance of studies, however, we have little idea how disciplinary preferences for particular features, categories, or even metadiscourse itself has altered over the years. In this presentation I explore how metadiscourse has changed in recent years, asking whether academic texts are becoming more interactional and if so in what ways and in what fields. Based on a corpus of 2.2 million words from the same leading journals in four disciplines from the humanities, social sciences and physical sciences at three periods over the past 50 years, I examine changes in the use of metadiscourse. The results are somewhat unexpected and seem to suggest changes in rhetorical conventions which accommodate more explicit argumentation overall, more interactional intrusion in the sciences and more detached practices in the soft fields.
Prof. Anna Mauranen (University of Helsinki, Finland)
“I see what you mean but…” Discourse reflexivity in dialogue
Reflexivity, the capacity of using language to talk about itself, is a distinctively human trait. It brings about a special layer of sophistication to our language, which enables us to indicate explicitly how we intend our speech to be taken and how it relates to our interlocutors’ contributions. It gives us a chance to evaluate what we’re saying while we’re saying it, or to evaluate each other’s talk. Moreover, it allows us to say we didn’t mean what someone else took us to mean, or that although we said something we didn’t really mean it. In brief, it comes in very handy in everyday encounters. Discourse reflexivity, or metadiscourse, is also a very important part of academic discourse where refined argumentation requires advanced linguistic means to win the day.
Metadiscourse has been studied widely in linguistic research, but although it is essentially an interpersonal, dialogic feature of language, it has nevertheless been almost exclusively studied in the written text. In this talk, I address discourse reflexivity in dialogue. More specifically, I will be looking into spontaneous dialogic speech and the roles that discourse reflexivity assumes for speakers in co-constructing speech, meaning, and knowledge. The data that I draw on is English as a lingua franca, which comes from the ELFA corpus of spoken academic ELF.
Prof. Anneline Adel (Dalarna University, Sweden)
Metadiscursive 'you' across genres
This talk will explore variation in the use of metadiscourse, focussing on variation across genre. To illustrate this, metadiscursive uses of second person 'you' are examined in different genres, all of which represent academic discourse. The material includes university lectures, research articles, advanced university student essays and teacher feedback on student writing. The data is analysed both quantitatively, taking frequency into consideration, and qualitatively, taking discourse function into consideration. The extended units in which 'you' occurs will be compared across genres to highlight the considerable variability of metadiscursive uses.