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Disciplinary Discourses

Social Interactions in Academic Writing

Ken Hyland

Publication Year: 2013

Why do engineers "report" while philosophers "argue" and biologists "describe"? In the Michigan Classics Edition of Disciplinary Discourses: Social Interactions in Academic Writing, Ken Hyland examines the relationships between the cultures of academic communities and their unique discourses. Drawing on discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, and the voices of professional insiders, Ken Hyland explores how academics use language to organize their professional lives, carry out intellectual tasks, and reach agreement on what will count as knowledge. In addition, Disciplinary Discourses presents a useful framework for understanding the interactions between writers and their readers in published academic writing. From this framework, Hyland provides practical teaching suggestions and points out opportunities for further research within the subject area. As issues of linguistic and rhetorical expression of disciplinary conventions are becoming more central to teachers, students, and researchers, the careful analysis and straightforward style of Disciplinary Discourses make it a remarkable asset. The Michigan Classics Edition features a new preface by the author and a new foreword by John M. Swales.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

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pp. v-vi

As I write this short foreword on a chilly November weekend in Ann Arbor, I reflect briefly on some of the events of the previous week. On Monday evening, I taught my 'Writing for Publication' class; in that class, I spent some time going over with my international doctoral students Ken Hyland's chart showing how reporting verbs change from field to field. ...


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

This book makes a new appearance in the colours of the University of Michigan Press following a relatively short, but agreeably visible, life in Chris Candlin's Applied Linguistics and Language Studies series with Longman. While this is not a new edition of Disciplinary Discourses, its republication in a new imprint is a result of the mysterious manoeuvres of academic publishing ...

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pp. xv-xvi

First, there would have been no book without the help of my specialist informants, whose thoughtful views on their practices and insightful commentaries on various texts were invaluable. Among these informants I would like to mention Mark Gaylord, John Bishop, Bill Roberts and Bruce Richardson. ...

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1. Disciplinary cultures, texts and interactions

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pp. 1-19

This book is a study of social interactions in published academic writing, looking at why members of specific disciplines use language in the ways they do. It focuses on texts as the outcome of interactions and explores the view that what academics do with words is to engage in a web of professional and social associations. ...

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2. Academic attribution: interaction through citation

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pp. 20-40

This chapter explores one of the most important realisations of the academic writer's concern for interactions with an audience: that of reporting, or attributing propositional content to another source. Citation is central to the social context of persuasion as it can provide justification for arguments and demonstrate the novelty of one's position (Gilbert, 1977; Dubois, 1988). ...

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3. Praise and criticism: interactions in book reviews

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pp. 41-62

In the previous chapter I focused on the most visible and celebrated genre of the academy, the academic paper, and on one of the ways that writers reach out to ground their research in the understandings of their communities. In this chapter I want to explore the links between communicative practices and the structures of social and institutional relations in academic texts ...

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4. Speaking as an insider: promotion and credibility in abstracts

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pp. 63-84

This chapter examines a genre critical to disciplinary knowledge-making and therefore to the work of academics: that of research article abstracts. After the title, the abstract is generally the readers' first encounter with a text, and is often the point at which they decide whether to continue reading and give the accompanying article further attention, or to ignore it. ...

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5. Priority and prudence: the scientific letter

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pp. 85-103

A dominant feature of disciplines towards the hard end of the epistemological spectrum is that new knowledge is typically seen as generated from what is known. Each new finding illuminates a little more of our ignorance and inexorably contributes to the eventual solution of the issue under study. ...

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6. Constructing an expert identity: interactions in textbooks

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pp. 104-131

In the last few chapters we have examined some of the ways in which academics construct, negotiate and make persuasive their ideas through published texts. By focusing on research articles, book reviews and scientific letters I have tried to situate writers' interactions in some of the principal sites of disciplinary knowledge-making. ...

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7. Researching and teaching academic writing

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pp. 132-154

In the preceding chapters I have considered some of the ways that academic disciplines are defined and distinguished from each other by their texts. In the process I have, often implicitly, sketched a methodology for investigating published academic writing as the outcome of social interactions. ...

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8. Power, authority and discourse change

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pp. 155-176

In this book I have focused on academic genres to determine how communicative practices contribute to the social relations that organise disciplinary realities. We have seen that what writers essentially do in pursuing their professional goals and constructing knowledge is to engage with others, and because of this, discourses carry assumptions about knowledge, ...

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pp. 176-178

I would like to close this book by making a few brief remarks on some of the main points that have been raised. Principally I have tried to elucidate the view that it is through the ways that writers promote their ideas and stake their claims that they sustain their communities and define themselves as members of those communities. ...

Appendix 1: Corpora

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pp. 179-187

Appendix 2: Items expressing doubt and certainty investigated

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pp. 188-189

Appendix 3: Metadiscourse items investigated

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pp. 190-193


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pp. 194-207

Subject Index

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pp. 208-209

Author Index

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pp. 210-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029822
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472030248

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2013