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Language Across Disciplines

Towards a Critical Reading of Contemporary Academic Discourse

by Marc S. Silver

Paperback eBook PDF

Publisher: BrownWalker Press
Pub date: 2006
Pages: 184
ISBN-10: 1599424029
ISBN-13: 9781599424026
Categories: Language, Literature & Linguistics


Academic discourse is the principle means by which knowledge is constituted in the world today and English is the globalized language in and through which such knowledge most often gets constructed and transmitted. Be it in the form of specialized books, disciplinary journals, international congresses or university lectures, the influence and power of such discourse is enormous. Most students and scholars, however, concern themselves almost exclusively with 'what' is written or said within such discourse, ignoring the often more important question of 'how' what is written or said is expressed or received. This book analyzes and contrasts ways in which writers from the disciplines of History and Economics present themselves and their knowledge claims to their readers, in an attempt to understand how common lexico-grammatical and pragmatic elements of texts act to persuade the readers of the knowledge claims being brought forth, as well as to see how the writers position themselves as they are making these claims. The work investigates the way academic writers construct disciplinary identity through display of their ideas or assumptions, the persuasive forms of argumentation they employ and how they represent themselves and others in their texts. In doing so, it aims as well to establish the consistency and the effects of such disciplinary identity by highlighting a few of the ideological and epistemological consequences of the choices made by each of the disciplinary (or discourse) communities.

About the Author

Marc Silver is Associate Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy. He has written extensively on questions surrounding argumentation in written discourse, on the relation between language and culture and on language and communication in the psychoanalytic setting.