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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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1860-7349
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Volume 31, Issue 5

Issues

The impact of genre and disciplinary differences on structural choice: taxis in research article abstracts

Akila Sellami Baklouti
Published Online: 2011-08-30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2011.025

Abstract

Structural operations in a text may be seen as realizing systemic choices in a network of interlocking options (Halliday and Matthiessen, An introduction to functional grammar, Edward Arnold, 2004: 23). The probability of these choices, however, varies in different functional contexts (Halliday, Methods—techniques—problems, Continuum, 2009: 252). This paper aims to show that the probabilities of structural choices above the clause in research article abstracts (RAA), first between the clause simplex and the clause complex, then between parataxis and hypotaxis, are affected by the genre features of abstracts and disciplinary differences. To this end, the two moments of choice are quantified in a corpus of 120 research article abstracts belonging to six academic disciplines (representing the hard–soft distinction). It is statistically proved that clause simplexes have a higher probability in abstracts representing hard disciplines, whereas soft disciplines show a preference for the clause complex. The quantitative analysis also shows that, in case of the clause complex, hypotaxis is more probable than parataxis, regardless of disciplines. The interpretation of the quantitative results leads to the conclusion that the high probability of hypotaxis is due to the features of the abstract genre in terms of linguistic conventions and communicative purposes and that the varying probabilities of clause simplex versus complex can be explained by disciplinary differences as to what constitutes knowledge and its linguistic representation.

Keywords:: choice; probability; taxis; research article abstract; genre; discipline

About the article

Address for correspondence: English Department, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, 3029-BP 1168, Sfax 3000, Tunisia.


Published Online: 2011-08-30

Published in Print: 2011-09-01


Citation Information: Text & Talk - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies, Volume 31, Issue 5, Pages 503–523, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2011.025.

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