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Discursive practices in EAP: unpacking specificity in academic writing

By Ken Hyland


It is now largely accepted that, for the moment at least, English should be taught to facilitate students’ studies at university and to encourage participation in global networks of scholarship, but what kind of English should be taught is more controversial. In this paper I argue that the emergence of community-oriented views of literacy and students’ writing experiences at university encourage us to attend to the specific contexts of language use. Because texts are only effective when writers employ \ud conventions that other members of the community find familiar and convincing, these conventions are likely to differ across disciplines. Identifying the particular language features, discourse practices, and communicative skills of target groups therefore becomes central to teaching English in Higher Education, and teachers have to become researchers of the genres they teach. In this presentation I will revisit some of the arguments for specificity by drawing on my research over the last decade into both student and professional academic writing. Through analyses of different corpora, I will attempt to highlight something of the disciplinary-specific nature of genres and show how writers use rhetorical choices to create a recognizable social world

Topics: P1, PE, Z004
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