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If-conditionals in medical discourse: from theory to disciplinary practice

Abstract : If-conditionals are a highly valuable resource in academic discourses, whether spoken or written, as they can be used to hypothesize, hedge, manage interaction with the addressee, and promote or on the contrary circumscribe the scope of research claims. This article analyses how if-conditionals are brought into play in three genres of medical discourse: research articles, conference presentations, and editorials. These corpus- and genre-based usages are contrasted with what is predicted in the theory on conditionals and in the explanations learners are likely to have met. Our results indicate that if-conditionals are used, both formally and functionally speaking, in very specific ways in the highly focussed, purposeful disciplinary genres. Previous exposure to and training in the use of this common syntactic pattern does not always prepare learners for this reality of discourse practice. A more genre-sensitive approach to the teaching of syntax in the EAP classroom is therefore advocated.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00331874
Contributor : Shirley Carter-Thomas <>
Submitted on : Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 10:39:39 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:59:13 AM

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Shirley Carter-Thomas, Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet. If-conditionals in medical discourse: from theory to disciplinary practice. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Elsevier, 2008, 7 (3), pp.191-205. ⟨10.1016/j.jeap.2008.03.004⟩. ⟨halshs-00331874⟩

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