ERIC Number: ED395531
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Pragmatics of the Use of Nominals in Academic and Professional Genres.
Bhatia, Vijay K.
Pragmatics and Language Learning, v3 p217-230 1992
Use of complex noun phrases, complex nominals, and other nominalized expressions has been a controversial characteristics of academic and professional writing. To the specialist community it is an indispensable linguistic device that brings precision and clarity and removes ambiguity by promoting text cohesion and facilitating reference to associated technical concepts already mentioned. To the non-specialist this is often seen as a strategy to promote solidarity within the specialist community and keep non-specialists at a distance. It is argued here that the truth is somewhere in between. A number of texts from three different genres of academic and professional discourse (advertising, academic/scientific, and legislative) are examined for evidence of genre-specific considerations in the use of complex nominals and nominalizations. It was found that in advertising, nominals are more often in the form of complex nominals because the copywriter's main concern is to find as many syntactic slots as possible for adjectival insertion. Scientific research writing uses predominantly compound nominal phrases to refer to concepts either created as the discourse proceeds or refer to further refined and repeated concepts. Legislative language shows extensive nominalization, generally to condense long provisions into more unambiguous and all-inclusive statements. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For complete volume, see FL 023 890.