Schematic structure and the modulation of propositions in economics forecasting text
Working within the framework of the branch of Linguistics known as discourse analysis, and more specifically within the current approach of genre analysis, this thesis presents an analysis of the English of economic forecasting. The language of economic forecasting is highly specialised and follows certain conventions of structure and style. This research project identifies these characteristics and explains them in terms of their communicative function. The work is based on a corpus of texts published in economic reports and surveys by major corporate bodies. These documents are targeted at an international expert readership familiar with this genre. The data is analysed at two broad levels: firstly, the macro-level of text structure which is described in terms of schema-theory, a currently influential model of analysis, and, secondly, the micro-level of authors' strategies for modulating the predictions which form the key move in the forecasting schema. The thesis aims to contribute to the newly developing field of genre analysis in a number of ways: firstly, by a coverage of a hitherto neglected but intrinsically interesting and important genre (Economic Forecasting); secondly, by testing the applicability of existing models of analysis at the level of schematic structure and proposing a genre-specific model; thirdly by offering insights into the nature of modulation of propositions which is often broadly classified as `hedging' or `modality', and which has been recently described as lq`an area for prolonged fieldwork'. This phenomenon is shown to be a key feature of this particular genre. It is suggested that this thesis, in addition to its contribution to the theory of genre analysis, provides a useful basis for work by teachers of English for Economics, an important area of English for Specific Purposes.