Epistemic Modality Variation in Community Law Journals

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Abstract

Over the last decades the attention of scholars working in the filed of academic discourse has been directed towards language variation, and academic writing is not any more considered as a consistent and homogeneous form of discourse. The importance traditionally given to the consensual and static aspects of disciplinary communication has been coupled with the emphasis increasingly placed to the analysis of interactions/practices/activities that sustain discourse communities. According to the sociolinguist approach, genres become ‘dynamically rhetorical structures’ that can be manoeuvred according to the discipline’s norms, values and ideology, both historically and incrementally changing as disciplinary knowledge and genres required and created by discourse communities change (Hyland 2004, 2009). This is all the more evident in the legal field, where ‘procedural knowledge and social knowledge’ (Bakhtin 1986; Brown et al. 1989) play a key role in the acquisition and strategically deployment of genre knowledge as academic writers participate in their ‘profession’s knowledge-producing activities’ (Berkenkotter & Huckin 2009). The aim of this paper is to explore the use of epistemic modality markers in a selection of issues of a number of international legal journals dealing with constitutional and Public Law & Administration, written in English and published between 1990 and 2010. In particular, emphasis will be given to the emerging constitution of European Community and the European Union and the interplay between law and politics. Starting from the generally agreed assumption (Hyland 1998; Vold 2006) that epistemic assessment of the information conveyed is a significant aspect of academic discourse, the present work focuses on differences/similarities in the use of a number of selected markers in the texts included in the corpus from a diachronic perspective. The aim is to understand the rhetorical organisation and the argumentative strategies deployed by disciplinary actors in response to the changing emergent community’s norms and ideology.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteGenre Variation in Academic Communication. Emerging Disciplinary Trends
Pagine153-174
Numero di pagine21
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2012

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeCERLIS SERIES Vol. 1

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Ardizzone, P., & Pennisi, G. A. (2012). Epistemic Modality Variation in Community Law Journals. In Genre Variation in Academic Communication. Emerging Disciplinary Trends (pagg. 153-174). (CERLIS SERIES Vol. 1).