Abstract

Cross-cultural research has shown that cultural values are discernible in the rhetoric of academic authors. Cultural characteristics—such as uncertainty avoidance, power distance, and individualism/collectivism (Hofstede 1980)—define relations of power and solidarity among individuals, their notions of politeness and appropriate social behavior, as well as their persuasive styles, affecting the ways authors express their claims and build up their arguments in academic texts. These factors (together with audience and purpose of genre and degree of an author's socialization in the academic community) affect the writing style of Greek authors as it is revealed by the analysis of Research Articles (RAs) and samples of students' writing (assignments, dissertations and theses) in the fields of Electronic, Electrical, and Chemical engineering. The analysis shows that the rhetorical behavior of Greek expert engineers and student engineers has both similarities and differences. Common points include the projection of an authoritative expert persona in their writing, the expression of great certainty and conviction in their claims, and references to the body of shared knowledge. These are shown to be the result of the high uncertainty avoidance, high power distance, collective values, and solidarity orientation that characterize Greek society. The differences are attributed to the conventions of the genre in which the authors are writing and their degree of enculturation in the academic community.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 97-138
Launched on MUSE
2005-06-13
Open Access
No
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