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Title: Discourse variation in medical texts : schema, theme and cohesion in professional and journalistic accounts
Author: Nwogu, Kevin N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 4052
Awarding Body: University of Aston in Birmingham
Current Institution: Aston University
Date of Award: 1989
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This study is undertaken as an exercise in Comparative Discourse Analysis. Working within the framework of the branch of Discourse Analysis known as Genre-Analysis, this thesis examines differences in the organization of discourse in three parallel genres of written medical texts - the Abstract (ABS) accompanying a medical research paper, the Research Article Proper (RAP) and the equivalent Journalistic Reported Version (JRV) of the research article in a popular science magazine or in a newspaper. The corpus for the study consists of 45 texts: 15 triadic sets of parallel texts representing an equal number of texts from each of the three genres on which the study is based. The approach to the analysis of features of discourse organization is eclectic and comparative. Thus, texts in the corpus are analysed for differences at three levels of organization - the levels of schematic structure, Thematic Progression (TP) and Cohesion. A number of differences are observed across the three genres. First, the genres are found to differ distinctively in the way information is organized into hierarchical schematic units. Less di stinctive pragmatic differences are observed in the realization and di stribution of formal syntactic elements which constitute theme. Similarly, very subtle pragmatic differences are observed in the realization and function of Reference, Conjunction and Lexical Cohesion items in texts across the three genres. The results indicate that there is a great similarity in discourse organization between the professional genres (ABS and RAP) and that both genres differ distinctively from the popularized genre (JRV). This thesis provides conclusive evidence to support the view that subject-matter is not the sole determinant of genre; that subject-matter is only one alongside a number of other contextual factors such as purpose, audience and medium of discourse by which genres must be characterized. To this end, this thesis is a contribution to the newly developing field of genre-analysis. But, more importantly, it is a contribution to research in the field of science popularization.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Linguistics