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Pragmatics of adjectives in academic discourse: from qualification to intensification

Mihaela Matešić
E-mail: mmatesic@ffri.hr
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4780-8512
University of Rijeka

Anita Memišević
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4780-8512
University of Rijeka

Jezikoslovlje.17.179.Matesic_-_Memisevic.pdf [ 0.32 MB - Engleski]
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Sažetak: Certain communicative and linguistic conventions, that, on the one hand, have been established for the academic discourse type in general, and on the other, for this discourse type in a particular language, are noticeable in academic discourse. Objectivity, which is one of the most prominent features of academic discourse, can be achieved by using various strategies. Such strategies are described in terms of preferred and less preferred/non-preferred means of expression. As a result, the author of a scientific text is constantly faced with the challenge posed by, on the one hand, the (rhetorical) need to persuade the readers/academic community to accept his positions, opinions, methods, results and conclusions, and on the other, the demand for objectivity. One procedure for increasing the level of objectivity that is frequently advised involves a decrease in the use of evaluative adjectives and their modifiers because they directly intensify the claims. A claim made in a scientific text should obtain its “strength” or “weight” in an implicit manner from the results of research and scientific evidence, and not from explicit expressions such as evaluative adjectives (e. g.: velika važnost toga istraživanja (‘the great significance of that research’), dalo je iznimne rezultate (‘has yielded exceptional results’)) and their modifiers (e. g.: ono što je nama ovdje posebno zanimljivo (‘what is especially significant for us here’), posebno neravnopravni (‘especially unequal’), posebice je to važno (‘this is particularly significant’), takvi su prozni poslanički tekstovi vrlo važni za oblikovanje (‘such epistolary texts are very important’), imao je iznimno dobru recepciju (‘was extremely well received’), većina prije završenih skulptura izrazito je statična (‘the majority of sculptures finished earlier are extremely static’), povezuje ih izrazito samosvojno intelektualno polazište (‘are connected by an extremely individual intellectual starting point’). In order to explore the use of evaluative adjectives and their modifiers in scientific texts, the paper focuses on the analysis of texts from different scientific domains – those of linguistics and medicine. We compare texts in Croatian and English with the aim of proving or disproving the assumption that these two languages employ different strategies. The rules for writing scientific texts in English prescribe, among other things, an extremely limited use of qualifying expressions in general, and this includes evaluative adjectives. The comparison of the frequency of use of evaluative adjectives and of the nature of adjectives that appear in scientific texts in Croatian and English allows us to gain insight into the practices characteristic of these two languages. Our results indicate, that contrary to our expectations, the analysed scientific texts in English contain a greater number of evaluative adjectives than the Croatian ones and that, in general, these texts exhibit a greater diversity with respect to the evaluative adjectives used when compared to the analysed scientific texts in Croatian.
Ključne riječi:
pragmatics, evaluative adjectives, scientific text, academic discourse, intensification,
Podaci na drugim jezicima: Hrvatski