We, I and Who else? How Mathematics Builds Identity in Abstracts
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
Lia Amelia Maria Cava
PhD student, Facoltà di Scienze Politiche