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Volume :16 Issue : 61 1998      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

In Search of the Linguistics Niche: A Study of Research Article Introduction in Linguistics, Literature and Science

Auther : Madeline Haggan

This paper investigates opening techniques used in published research articles in science, literature and linguistics, Since science and literature are popularly taken to represent opposite ends of the stylistic spectrum, one aim of the paper was to establish how far this was true. In particular, however, the stylistic nature of linguistics openings was investigated in relation to those in science and literature, in an attempt to establish which practice (scientific or literary) they adhered to. A survey of opening techniques yielded a number of rhetorical devices which formed the basis of analysis. Frequency counts made of these techniques indicated that all three types of papers were similar in preferring to make a positive, implicit announcement of the subject, although the precise method of doing this could differ. On the other hand, linguistics openings differed from literature openings in the frequency with which the subject was limited explicitly, the use of devices to capture the readers attention, and in the use of the impersonal point of view. However, the analysis yielded only one significant difference between linguistics openings and science openings, i.e. in how often they indicated the plan of the paper. In comparing science and literature openings, it was found that they did not differ significantly in the frequency with which they indicated the plan of the paper or in the use of the impersonal point of view. The latter device is explored in some depth across the three disciplines to ascertain the extent to which joint authorship influenced the point of view used. Scientists made use of the merging of the plural we and the editorial we offered by joint authorship, but preferred the impersonal point of view in single-author papers. Literature papers (all single-authored) showed the most frequent use of the impersonal point of view, but linguists showed a tendency to use the personal point of view regardless of whether there was one ar more than one author. The findings are discussed and suggestions made as to future research.

 

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