Promotional (Meta)discourse in Research Articles in Language and Literary Studies
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Abstract It is now widely recognized that promotionalism permeates scholarly discourse. Yet a systematic account of rhetorical and linguistic means, which researchers across disciplines deploy to achieve this effect, is still to be developed. The present thesis attempts to contribute to the investigation of strategies and exponents of the promotional (meta)discourse in the humanities. In particular, it compares and contrasts research articles in language and literary studies published in North American academic journals during 2001-2006. This inquiry demonstrates that in both disciplines scholars utilize two rhetorical strategies to publicize their work: first, positive evaluation of one’s own study and of those investigations in which the current study is grounded and second, negative evaluation of dissenting views. A combination of both strategies is used to widen the gap between one’s contribution and (erroneous) alternative treatments. Among lexicogrammatical and discourse devices employed in both disciplines are evaluative lexis reinforced by derivational and inflectional morphology, coordination, comment clauses, personal pronouns, lexical cohesion, and discourse chunks sequencing. Distribution of promotional elements across article sections and moves in the two disciplines, however, differs. On the whole, the thesis reconfirms the advantage of specificity in teaching academic literacies advocated by many applied linguists and provides actual patterns that can be incorporated into writing curriculum.