April 1, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Linguistics Colloquium | Complex Noun Phrases and Holistic Syntactic Complexity in Niche-Building Moves, April 12

Elliott Casal, portrait

J. Elliott Casal

The Linguistics Colloquium series presents Ohio University alumnus J. Elliott Casal discussing “Complex Noun Phrases and Holistic Syntactic Complexity in Niche-Building Moves: Addressing the ‘Function-Form Gap’ with Corpus-Based Genre Analysis”on Friday, April 12, from 12:55 to 1:55 p.m. in Gordy 301.

Casal is a doctoral candidate at Penn State in Applied Linguistics. He is former ELIP teaching assistant and a graduate of the M.A. in Applied Linguistics program here at OHIO.

Overview: Although an emerging line of research explores the characteristic linguistic features of disciplinary genres in terms of the rhetorical goals they realize (e.g., Cortes, 2013; Omidian, Shahriari, & Siyanova-Chanturia, 2018; Tankó, 2017), Moreno and Swales (2018) point out that a ‘function-form gap’ still exists in genre research. In this talk, I will present part of an ongoing corpus-based genre analysis project aimed to address this gap by exploring how writers of social sciences research articles use syntactically complex structures to ‘establish a niche’ for their research. Data consist of 600 recently published research articles across six social sciences disciplines. Using a modified version of Swales’ (2004) revised Creating a Research Space model, these texts have been tagged for rhetorical moves and steps by a research team. I identify complex noun phrases and other syntactically complex structures and compare writers’ use of such structures in niche-building moves to their use of such structures elsewhere in the text. A range of holistic syntactic complexity measures are analyzed using Python and Lu’s (2010) automated L2SCA complexity analyzer, and particular complex noun-phrase structures are analyzed using Stanford Tregex (Levy & Andrews, 2006). I will reflect on how these complex structures may allow writers to achieve their niche-building goals.

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