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Specialist genres

Grado en Estudios Ingleses, 2º Curso, Grupo B, Pascual Pérez-Paredes

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Specialist genres

  1. 1. What can a corpus tell us about specialist genres? By Michael Handford Group 5 Beatriz Medina Zenzano Nuria Muñoz Navarro Susana Morales Bernal Sonia Mench ón Arqués Eva Márquez Zayas
  2. 2. Corpus and the study of genres: an introduction <ul><li>Linguistics corpus is undoubtedly one of the modern success stories in applied linguistics although the value the corpora is not universally accepted. The three areas more important to the linguistic criticisms are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Corpus data are decontextualized data. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corpora require a bottom-up approach. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corpora are quantitative, number-crunching tools. </li></ul></ul>Corpora of specialised genres (CSGs) are created to research various aspects of languages: spoken or styles of academic writing. In this work we will deal with written academic, spoken business and service-encounter discourse.
  3. 3. Specialist corpora vs. Mega-corpora <ul><li>MEGA-CORPORA </li></ul><ul><li>Comprise million or hundred of millions of words. </li></ul><ul><li>Way to data is through a bottom-up, automated, quantitative approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize on writing more than spoken data. </li></ul><ul><li>Not always contain complete texts. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. BNC (British National Corpus) and CIC (Cambridge International Corpus). </li></ul><ul><li>SPECIALIST CORPORA </li></ul><ul><li>Specialize into the context. </li></ul><ul><li>Tend to study specialised language. </li></ul><ul><li>Contain beginning and ending texts. </li></ul><ul><li>Have specific goals and are achieved through highly constrained and specialised communicative behaviours, linguistics and otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. (BASE) British Academic Spoken English Corpus. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What are the methodological advantages of specialised corpora in analysing genres? <ul><li>Size </li></ul><ul><li>Context c </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Bottom-up approach </li></ul><ul><li>Size: They can be markedly smaller and still validly claim representative. Nevertheless, the more specialised the genre, the smaller the corpus can be. </li></ul><ul><li>However, a specialised corpus can be defined as large if it contains a million words such as the Cambridge and Nottingham Corpus of Discourse English, which have five million words </li></ul><ul><li>of authentic everyday speech. On the other </li></ul><ul><li>hand, some specialised spoken corpora are </li></ul><ul><li>made up of fewer than 60.000 words </li></ul><ul><li>as these are usually much smaller </li></ul><ul><li>than written corpora. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What are the methodological advantages of specialised corpora in analysing genres? <ul><li>Context: According to Hyland ‘the corpus we use has sufficient relevant contextual information to allow plausible interpretation’ . In other words, Corpora of specialised genres provide a powerful riposte to this, they can allow not only description but also interpretation and explanation of the data. </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative Analysis: The possibility to look at a particular linguistic feature across a collection of instances, not only corpus linguistic genres analysis, but also the interdisciplinary field of discourse analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Bottom-up approach: The size and composition of many corpora of specialised genres lend themselves to qualitative-based analysis and to approach the texts individually or manually or automatically, as this is not dictated by the data itself, but by the research question we want to answer. </li></ul>
  6. 6. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>CORPORA, </li></ul><ul><li>STUDIES - RESEARCH - ANALYSIS </li></ul><ul><li>TRIBBLE’S STUDY </li></ul><ul><li>POSSIBLE CRITICISM OF THIS APPROACH </li></ul><ul><li>CORPORA </li></ul><ul><li>Many corpus studies of academic language : most in written texts but also some important in spoken discourse. </li></ul><ul><li>The Michigan University MICASE corpus is notable because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Researches such as Simpson 2004, Swales 2004 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is a free corpus of over 1.8 million words = spoken texts recorded on the university campus. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lectures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dissertation defences and meetings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Service encounters (a web search of MICASE will bring you to the home page) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>2. The British companion corpus – The Base corpus: freely accessible online too. </li></ul><ul><li>It has video as opposed to transcribed data. </li></ul><ul><li>3. The written equivalent of the Base is the BAWE, the British Academic Written English – also freely available online. </li></ul><ul><li>4. The Purdue University ‘Owl’ writing laboratory website _ another excellent site. </li></ul><ul><li>5. The Nottingham’s CANCODE corpus and an academic subset of it- Works on spoken academic genres and other speech genres have been conducted in this corpus. (O’Keeffe et al. 2007: Ch. 10) </li></ul>
  8. 8. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>STUDIES – RESEARCH – ANALYSIS </li></ul><ul><li>Most important studies on written and written/spoken genres are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Biber 1988 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Swales 1990, 2004 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Biber et al. 1998 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flowerdew 2002 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hyland 2003 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connor and Upton 2004 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research on comparing different academic disciplines : Flowerdew 1998, Hyland 2000, Ghadessy et al. 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of particular features in academic genres such as vague language - Cutting 2007- and hedges - Hyland and Milton 1997. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>TRIBBLE’S STUDY </li></ul><ul><li>Tribble (2002) : About a short academic journal report written by a respected researcher who discusses recent developments in his field. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Text – Taken from the RAT (Reading Academic Text Corpus, of Reading University) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 Basic steps in Tribble’s study : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Choose a text which is an ‘expert performance’ (Bazerman 1994: 131) of the relevant genre </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compile contextual information about the creation of the text </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct linguistic analyses which can be integrated with the context. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why Tribble’s study – because of his integration of the themes discussed so far, especially (written academic) corpus data and genre analysis. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>2. In terms of traditional corpus linguistic approaches (e.g. Sinclair 1991). Tribble’s approach is unusual because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The text-external context is emphasised. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The analysis is primarily concerned with a single text. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>HOWEVER , he employs recognisable corpus techniques such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>d) Frequency and concordance searches. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>c) Access a larger reference corpora (the 1million word BNC sampler) to conduct keyword searches (Scott 1996). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>KEYWORDS are statistically significant items in a corpus or text = an empirically valid impression of the typifying language of the genre (see Scott, this volume). </li></ul>
  11. 11. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres?
  12. 12. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>FIRST PART OF TRIBBLE’S ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK : Explanation of social / cultural dimensions of the text in question - name, social context, communicative purpose, roles, cultural values, text context and formal text features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. Under point 2, social context, Tribble (2002: 134) states: ‘The article was written for publication in a specialist academic journal. In writing such a short piece, the author faces special constraints in terms of content and extent, but also has to meet normal academic standards of warrant and referencing.’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Such insights help us understand the context in which the text is produced, and the constraints under which the writer is working. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Practical pedagogical level - academic writing requirements the students may have. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>2. SECOND PART OF TRIBBLE’S ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK: Three aspects of linguistic analysis - lexicogrammatical features, text relations / textual patterning, and text structure </li></ul><ul><li>LEXICOGRAMMATICAL FEATURES </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FIRST STEP – To conduct a keyword search of the article, showing that words such as membrane , enzyme and ethylene are statistically significant in comparison to the reference corpus. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>According to Tribble : This is essential information to participate in the target discourse community because: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keywords : give us content knowledge of the text (2002: 137), as well as the collocational and colligational patterns which feature these genre-specific terms. Also – clarify interpersonal features typical in a genre. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>b) NEXT STEP – Frequency counts across the text and the reference corpora, and run left and right concordances of the most frequent words. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tribble: this allows for deeper insights into the ‘stylistically salient’ lexicogrammatical features. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 14. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>TEXT RELATIONS / TEXTUAL PATTERNING </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The keyword and frequency analysis – show aspects of textual patterning. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Textual pattern, E.g.: that clauses are employed in the reporting claims </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Textual patterns – Important, Contribution to the text’s particular identity and are evidence of ‘the constraints which the writer has had to respond to in order to ensure that the text is an allowable contribution to a specialist genre’ (Tribble 2002: 142) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In this instance – the constraints include the requirement for claims to be made in academic research, and for them to be communicated in a particular stylistic fashion </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Often through referencing others, e.g. ‘Y found that …’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>TEXT STRUCTURE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focusing on the moves that organise the text’s information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He finds that the text follows – the Situation-Problem-Response-Evaluation discourse model (Hoey 1983) both in terms of the overall relational patterns and the paragraphing of the text. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Such understanding - of great value to novice learners: Swales and Lee (2006) - first step in acquiring genre-awareness. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Flowerdew (2008): Triblle’s (2002) approach is suitable for analysts who are ‘unfamiliar with the institutionalized practices of the genre’, perhaps because of the exhaustive analysis of the contextual features. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>She states that Tribble’s position ‘is to see the role of context as very much informing corpus-based analyses’ (2008: 115), </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>So it is very important to collect and assimilate relevant information about the communicative context and the author’s purpose before we analyse the language. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? <ul><li>3. POSSIBLE CRITICISM OF THIS APPROACH </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Given that it is ‘corpus based’ (Flowerdew 2008) and not ‘corpus-driven’ (Tognini Bonelly 2001: 65), the relationship between the corpus data and the context might be ‘vague’ and ‘difficult to validate’. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In a corpus-driven approach, the methodology is ‘observation leads to hypothesis leads to generalisation leads to unification in theoretical statement’. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>BUT we should remember </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>that: the corpus-driven </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>approach has been developed </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>in alliance with large corpora. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CSGs, in contrast, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>are contextually </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>driven corpora. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. What does a corpus tell us about professional genres? <ul><li>Why genres are important in professional discourses? </li></ul><ul><li>The reason why genres are important in professional communication is that professionals achieve their goals and develop professional solidarity through genres. </li></ul><ul><li>2. How many types of research we have in professional genres? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research on professional genres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>has explored, above all, written texts, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as well as collections which include </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>academic and professional studies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research into spoken professional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>genres is a challenge because of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the difficulty in obtaining permission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to record authentic data. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. What does a corpus tell us about professional genres? <ul><li>3. Disadvantages of spoken research in professional genres </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Studies of spoken professional discourse have been referred to as “corpus-based” and they have been highly influential, not only in the area of spoken genres but also because the data does not seem to be fully transcribed, as there are no quantitative findings from either study. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is debatable whether such studies are indeed corpus-based, because the data itself does not appear to be in machine-readable form, and only machine-readable datasets will be considered as corpora and analysed as such. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4. Differences between written texts and speech </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written texts are much more clear-cut and are usually the finished product when we see them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speech is far fuzzier. It unfolds as a process, and it may not be clear where it begins and where it ends. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But speech is more important systemically, more layered semantically, and more interesting analytically, than writing. This is because spoken language responds to the small changes in its environment, both verbal and non-verbal. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. What does a corpus tell us about professional genres? <ul><li>5. Koester’s ABOT (American and British Office Talk) corpus. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The ABOT corpus is taken from thirty hours of recordings from various workplaces in the US and UK. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Koester’s work is a demonstration of the depth of analysis possible with a small but carefully selected and painstakingly studies dataset. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>She distinguishes between transactional and non-transactional workplace discourse, and then categorises such discourse into separate genres, such as decision-making and office gossip, respectively. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Koester quantitatively and qualitatively explores interpersonal meanings in both transactional and non-transactional goal-oriented discourse; the interpersonal language features she analyses include modal verbs, idioms, vague language, hedges and intensifiers. The point is to understand the relationship between such features and the workplace genres. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. What can a corpus tell us about non-institutional genres? <ul><li>The boundary between institutional and non-institutional discourse is necessarily fuzzy. There are also transactional genres that are not strictly institutional (i.e. neither wholly professional nor academic). </li></ul><ul><li>CANCODE data, for example, has five contextual categories: intimate, socialising, pedagogical, professional and transactional. </li></ul>
  21. 21. What can a corpus tell us about non-institutional genres? <ul><li>The analysis of the test is largely qualitative, demonstrating how a corpus of whole texts and discourse analytical techniques can be integrated. </li></ul><ul><li>92.5 % of the communication that takes place in the above encounters is interpersonal as it does not directly relate to the task at hand but instead is relational in nature. This is an important finding because it shows that in an apparently transactional genre like a hairdressing encounter, the vast majority of the language can be non-transactional. An encounter that comprised purely transactional language could be perceived as inappropriate and uncomfortable. </li></ul>
  22. 22. What can a corpus tell us about non-institutional genres? <ul><li>McCarthy break the encounter down into eight stages: from the client being invited to c ome through?, to her paying the bill and leaving. Theses stages are transactional and contain varying degrees of interpersonal talk. A communication is highly dependent on the social context in which it is embedded and to which it contributes. </li></ul>
  23. 23. What can a corpus tell us about non-institutional genres? <ul><li>It is existed a combination of genre and corpus approaches and CSGs can answer many of the criticisms levelled at corpus linguistics. Areas that include the role and importance of context are fruitful of combinations of quantitative and qualitative techniques. Thus the corpora are large, decontextualised collection of words necessitating bottom-up, statistical approaches, but can be employ nebulous issues in applied linguistics and discourse analysis. </li></ul><ul><li>The social actions the participants perform in relation to the particular conventions and constraints which best explains what happens in genres, that is why speakers and writers do what they do. Well-designed and compiled CSGs can thus allow the analyst to uncover empirical evidence of the goals and practices that manifest themselves in the typical and therefore normative patterns in the discourse. </li></ul>
  24. 24. What can a corpus tell us about non-institutional genres? <ul><li>The research may increasingly attempt to combine such qualitative and quantitative, genre and corpus approaches, but with increased emphasis on the insights that close linguistic analysis can offer on wider social practices and discourses. Much CSG based research is that it could still go further in interpreting and explaining the contexts in which the text occur. CSGs can provide fecund datasets for theses research fields. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Summary <ul><li>Corpus and the study of genres: an introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist corpora vs. Mega-corpora </li></ul><ul><li>What are the methodological advantages of specialised corpora in analysing genres? </li></ul><ul><li>What can a corpus tell us about academic genres? </li></ul><ul><li>What does a corpus tell us about professional genres? </li></ul><ul><li>What can a corpus tell us about non-institutional genres? </li></ul>