We, I and Who else? How Mathematics Builds Identity in Abstracts

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Research article abstracts, as academic texts, are not necessarily more objective than other texts; they are simply more effective at hiding subjectivity linguistically (cf. Bhatia 1993, 1996 about hybridization of genres). Abstracts are ‘everywhere’ and they are largely based on rhetorical activity, involving interactions between writers and readers. In this perspective, researchers do not just offer their own points of view, but seek to negotiate a credible account of themselves and their work by claiming solidarity with their readers, evaluating ideas and acknowledging alternative views. The aim of the present research paper is to investigate the way authors assert and present their results to their colleagues and peers, in order to build their own discourse-community and identity. The analysis is basically quantitative and qualitative, setting out to highlight certain lexico-grammatical features specifically related to ‘cultural-identity’ language. The data for this study is drawn from a corpus of 10 years of the international journal of Mathematics and Computer in Simulation (about 2 million words). Research article abstracts are semantically tagged by means of the POS tagger GATE and investigated by means of the concordancing software WordsmithTools 5.


Keywords: Identity, Abstracts, Science, Corpus Linguistics, POS, Discourse-community
Stream: Language, Linguistics , Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Lia Amelia Maria Cava

PhD student, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche 
Dipartimento di Scienze Statistiche - Sezione Linguistica, Università Federico II of Naples

Naples, Italy

I am an Italian PhD student in ESP my research focuses on investigating academic texts in the scientific field. I have an honour degree in Foreign languages and Literature, an MA in Translation Studies, an MA in Corpus Linguistics and I am close to finish my PhD. I enjoy a bit of programming basic XML and Perl. Just recently I started using POS tagger and the last version of WordsmithTools 5. I am fond of art, especially painting, my favourite painter is Alphonse Mucha and reading good books. Classic and modern music.

Ref: H08P0016