Polyphony in academic discourse

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The study presented in this paper is based on an analysis of openings of historical research articles in English and in Italian and uses openings in economics research articles for disciplinary comparison. The paper starts by outlining some basic assumptions of this “double” cross-cultural perspective: in the context of an approach to writer’s identity based on the notion of multiple identities, its focus lies on both national and disciplinary communities. Including consideration of both textual rhetoric and language features, the study explores the way the writer’s voice interacts with other voices – in particular discourse actors, i.e. historical characters and witnesses - in the opening of the research article, across disciplines and across national academic cultures. Attention is also paid to the more or less explicit presence of the writer’s voice in stating the purpose of the article.


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