A Contribution to the Study of Writers’ Self-representation: Visible Researchers, Invisible Writers, or How to Make Medical Electronic Popularizations Trustworthy

Herrando Rodrigo, María Isabel
Guillén Galve, Ignacio (dir.) ; Lorés Sanz, Rosa (dir.)

Universidad de Zaragoza, 2014

Abstract: The polyphonic nature of voice has been one of the most debated topics of study in Applied Linguistics over the past three decades. The different points of view adopted by researchers about its definition, its realisation, its pedagogical implications or even its applicability, for instance to the field of EAP, have resulted in insightful studies (c.f Matsuda 2001; John 2009; Hyland and Sancho 2012; among many others). Their findings cast light onto unexplored spaces in Applied Linguistics such as the implications of voice in specialised texts. This dissertation aims to explore how the writers¿ voice in medical electronic popularizations (Med-E-Pops) is modelled in texts that have been used by various discourse communities. Med-E-Pops can be conceptualised both as faithful summaries of medical research articles (Med-RAs) and as a response to lay readers' urge to know. These Med-E-Pops, potentially designed for a lay international Internet audience, seem to exhibit very similar rhetorical conventions as well as linguistic choices. This piece of research (which includes a survey-based approach to the state of the art among medical personnel) confirms that not only members of the Med-RAs discourse community, who have prior experiences and expectations based on knowledge rules, but also the lay audience as the main target audience of the Med-E-Pops genre accept the Med-E-Pop genre as a reliable and valid vehicle to disseminate medical findings outside the scientific community. The medical electronic popularizations genre under study are framed in the ESP tradition. Med-E-Pops genre is the result of a genre (medical popularizations) in constant evolution due to its adaptation to the information demands of the 21st century society. Therefore, the Med-E-Pops genre should be considered as a dynamic genre that evolves within the socio-rhetorical activity of the community, lay Internet readers and medical personnel. Med-E-Pops should be conceptualised as a new combination of Med-RAs form and purpose, embedded in the medical colony, which reorganises linguistic, textual and scientific Med-RAs content for the sake of the understanding by the Internet community. This new balanced understanding of form and function does not represent a threat; on the contrary, it constitutes a new opportunity for sharing reliable medical knowledge within an international and varied electronic audience outside academia. We must consider that Med-E-Pops are therefore differentiated from the genre they draw upon (Med-E-RAs) and recognised, as well as accepted, in their discourse community reading and writing practises. Thus, as discussed in this dissertation, the results obtained with regard to the generic and lexico-grammatical features explored lead me to conclude that the invisibility that the Med-E-Pops writers attempt to achieve has as its ultimate aim the dissemination of reliable medical information among Internet readers worldwide. Med-E-Pops writers represent themselves as invisible for the sake of this genre ultimate aim, which is to be conceptualised as a scientific reliable genre. It should then be concluded that the invisibility of Med-E-Pops writers is constrained by Med-E-Pops generic conventions and their ultimate communicative aim. Finally, this research aimed to raise awareness about the concept of writer's voice and its pedagogical implications, since all writers should anticipate the impact of their (in)visibility on their potential readership and the ensuing effect of their (in)visibility on the communicative purpose of the text they are drafting, since voice is inevitable in written discourse (Burgess and Ivanic 2010).

Pal. clave: lingüística aplicada ; applied linguistics

Knowledge area: Filología inglesa

Department: Filología Inglesa y Alemana

Nota: Presentado: 16 05 2014
Nota: Tesis-Univ. Zaragoza, Filología Inglesa y Alemana, 2014


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