A cross cultural analysis of conjuncts as indicators of the interaction and negotiation of meaning in research articles

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Abstract

The role of English as a global lingua franca of academia has become indisputable in the on-going process of internationalization of all scholarship, even though the majority of writers and readers of academic texts are non-native speakers of English. Thus it is questionable whether there is any justification for imposing on international academic communication written in English the style conventions typical of the dominant Anglophone discourse community. Recommendations usually comprise qualities such as clarity, economy, linearity and precision in communication (cf. Bennett, 2015), which can be achieved, among other means, by certain overt guiding signals including conjuncts (Quirk et al., 1985).

Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to reveal cross-cultural variation in the use of these important text-organizing means as it is believed that conjuncts can enhance the interaction and negotiation of meaning between the author and prospective readers of academic texts. The paper explores which semantic relations holding between parts of a text tend to be expressed overtly by conjuncts and which semantic classes, such as appositive, contrastive/concessive, listing and resultive conjuncts, contribute most to the interactive and dialogic nature of written academic discourse. The data are taken from research articles (RAs) selected from two journals, one representing academic discourse written by native speakers of English (Applied Linguistics) and the other representing academic texts written in English by Czech and Slovak scholars (Discourse and Interaction).

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