Heteroglossic (dis)engagement and the construal of the ideal readership

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Appropriating White’s (2003) distinction of ‘heteroglossic engagement/disengagement’ modes of expression, this paper analyses a sample of grammatical patterns and their rhetorical functionality for the expression of intersubjective stance in research articles written in English by scholars from two cultural contexts (an Anglophone-based context and a Spanish context) and articles written in Spanish by Spanish scholars. Results show that the scholars from the Anglophone context prefer patterns that construct a heteroglossic disengagement mode, suggesting the construal of their readership as sharing similar values, beliefs and attitudes. The texts in Spanish display patterns that create a heteroglossic engagement mode, indicating that writers conceive their readership as having potentially dissenting views. Remarkably, the texts written in English by the Spanish scholars strategically combine a heteroglossic disengagement mode with a heteroglossic engagement mode, hence creating a hybrid dialogic space for writer/reader interaction.


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