Corbett, John B.
Functional grammar and genre analysis : a description of the language of learned and popular articles.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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There has been a growing interest in the form and function of academic English, especially among teachers of English as a Foreign Language. `Academic' English, however, covers a variety of genres, including specialist and non-specialist writings across a range of disciplines. Little is known about the linguistic similarities and differences among these genres. This thesis aims to add to the study of academic English by investigating learned and popular articles in the fields of biology, computing and history. The descriptive framework is based mainly on Halliday's functional grammar, although reference is made to other linguistic theories, such as Winter's clause relations. Eighteen articles from the three fields were selected, nine learned articles and nine corresponding popular articles. Extracts from these articles form the small corpus analysed. After an introductory chapter, the second chapter reviews the nature of theme in English, and performs a thematic analysis on the corpus. The third chapter reviews the ideational function of language, and investigates how the language of the corpus articles represents reality. The fourth chapter reviews the interpersonal function of language and investigates this aspect of the corpus. The penultimate chapter comments on discourse patterns in the articles. The conclusion suggests that the similarities and differences between learned and popular articles, and between science and the humanities, are a result of systematic functional variation among genres.
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