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When practice belies 'theory' : form, function and frequency of if-conditionals in specialised discourse

Abstract : The aim of the present study is to examine possible discrepancies between the presentation of a core syntactic construction, the if-conditional, in the theoretical literature and in teaching resources and the way this construction is used in the specialised research discourse of medicine. We focus on three types of differences: differences in the frequency with which the construction is used, differences in the functions it fulfils, and differences in formal features (verb sequences and clause positioning). Two genres are examined: research articles and conference presentations produced by two groups of researchers, native English speakers and non-native (French) authors and speakers. Our analysis reveals some marked divergences between specialised discourse use and what is traditionally presented as the norm. Moreover, the differences observed between the two speaker groups lead us to argue that a more genre-sensitive and discourse-based approach to syntax is necessary, in order to raise learners' awareness of the linguistic and discursive specificities of their discipline and its associated genres.
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Submitted on : Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 1:14:56 PM
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Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet, Shirley Carter-Thomas. When practice belies 'theory' : form, function and frequency of if-conditionals in specialised discourse. ASp - La revue du GERAS, (en ligne) / Bordeaux : GERAS (imprimé), 2008, 53-54, pp.39-61. ⟨10.4000/asp.343⟩. ⟨halshs-00331879⟩



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