Co-evolving academic rhetoric across culture; Britain, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany in the 20th century
2009 (Swedish)In: Journal of Pragmatics, Vol. 41, no 1, 290-305 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
If differences among the rhetorics of academic articles from different cultures are due to essential cultural differences, analogous differences should be found in older articles. This paper aims to find out whether this is the case. It examines 91 articles from economics journals in Bulgarian, Danish, English, and German published between 1900 and 2000, looking at article type and length, title length, first-person pronoun usage, first-sentence orientation to research or policy, moves in the introduction, and orientation of the conclusion.
Most aspects of the development are similar across languages: many early articles are accounts rather than problem-oriented analyses, but by 1973 all are cast in the latter form. Mere accounts died out between 1933 and 1953 in the British and Danish samples, possibly later in Germany and Bulgaria. Joint authorship predominates in 1993, but is hardly known before 1973. Division into sections was sporadic initially, but by 1993 titled sections are obligatory. Explicit statements of aim and of the occasion for writing have become common; thesis statements seem to have appeared at different times.
There are, however, some differences in the date of developments and differences across languages/cultures/communities. Articles in most languages tend increasingly to avoid first-person pronouns, whereas the trend is the opposite in the British sample. The focus of introductions and conclusions has shifted more towards research in the British sample than it has in the others.
These developments seem explicable in terms of professionalisation of the whole discipline, alongside internationalisation focused on English-language publication. There seems little evidence of essential differences at this level.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 41, no 1, 290-305 p.
Academic discourse rhetoric, Economics language, English, German, Danish, Bulgarian
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-18786ISI: 000263389200006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-18786DiVA: diva2:185309