Investigating Action Nominalization in the Introduction Sections of Research Articles: A Cross-disciplinary Study of Hard and Soft Sciences

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

2 University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

10.22132/tel.2018.70500

Abstract

This study reports on a corpus-based study of action nominalizations and their distribution in the thematic structure of introduction sections of research articles (RAs) across hard and soft sciences. Using the UAMCorpus Tool software, the corpus was tagged to locate the action nominalization instances. Manual text analysis was undertaken to exclude cases which did not comply with action nominalization criteria and to include instances of zero-derivation nominalizations. Action nominalizations were significantly more frequent in the introduction sections of hard science RAs (χ2= 39.850, P=.000). Results, however, did not show a significant difference in the lexical densities of the introduction sections of the two text groups. Moreover, the writers of RAs indicated a higher tendency to employ the action nominalizations in clause rhemes which may be attributed to the role of clause rhemes in the information structure of clauses. ESP writing instructors may use the findings of the present study to raise the awareness of the novices of the vital role of nominalization in facilitating their production of appropriate academic discourse.

Keywords


Banks, D. (2008). The development of scientific writing: Linguistic features and historical context. London: Equinox.

Basturkmen, H. (2012). A genre-based investigation of discussion sections of research articles in dentistry and disciplinary variation. Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 11(2), 134–144.

Becher, T. (1989). Academic tribes and territories: Intellectual enquiry and the cultures of disciplines. Milton Keynes: The Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.

Becher, T., & Trowler, P. (2001). Academic tribes and territories: Intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines. Buckingham: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press.

Bhatia, V. K. (1992). Pragmatics of the use of nominal in academic and professional genres. Pragmatics and Language Learning: Monograph Series, 3, 217-230.

Biber, D. (1995). Dimensions of register variation: A cross-linguistic comparison. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, D. (1996). University language: A corpus-based study of spoken and written registers. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Biber, D., & Conrad, S. (2009). Register, genre, and style. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Leech, G. (2002). A student grammar of spoken and written English. London: Longman.

Biber, D., Conrad, S., & Reppen, R. (1998). Corpus linguistics: Investigating language structure and use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  

Billig, M. (2008). The language of critical discourse analysis: the case of nominalization. Discourse & Society, 19(6),783–800.

Chahal, D. (2014). Research article introductions in cultural studies: a genre study exploration of rhetorical structure. The Journal of Teaching English for Specific and Academic Purposes, 2, 1-20.

Chomsky, N. (1970). Remarks on nominalizations. In R. A. Jacobs & P. S. Rosenbaum (Eds.), Readings in English transformational grammar (pp. 184-221). Waltham, MA: Ginn.

Comrie, B., & Thompson, S. A. (2007). Lexical nominalization. In T. Shopen (Ed.). Language typology and syntactic description: Grammatical categories and the lexicon (pp.  334-381). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Cunningham, S., & Leeming, P. (2012). The art of scientific writing. In A. Stewart & N. Sonda (Eds.), JALT2011 conference proceedings (pp. 672-680). Tokyo: JALT.

Crystal, D. (1997). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dahl, T. (2004). Textual metadiscourse in RAs: A marker of national culture or of academic discipline? Journal of Pragmatics, 36.  1807–1825.

Downing, A. (2000). Nominalization and topic management in leads and headlines. In E. Ventola (Ed.). Discourse and community: Doing functional linguistics (pp. 355-378). Tübingen: Gunter Narr.

Downing, A., & Locke, P. (2006). English Grammar: University Course (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

Dueñas, M. P. (2010). A contrastive analysis of research article introductions in English and Spanish. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, 61, 119-133.

Eggins, S. (2004). An introduction to systemic functional linguistics. London: Continuum.

Grimshaw, J. (1990). Argument structure. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Halliday M. A. K. (1989). Spoken and written language. London: Longman

Halliday, M.A.K. (1994). An introduction to functional grammar. (2nd. Ed.) London: Arnold.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1998). Things and relations: Regrammaticising experience as technical knowledge.  In J. R. Martin, and R. Veel (Eds.), Reading science: Critical and functional perspectives on discourses of science (pp.185-237). London/ New York: Routledge.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2003a). Introduction: On the architecture of human language. In J. Webster (Ed.). On language and linguistics: M.A.K. Halliday (pp. 1-29). London: Continuum.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2003b). Grammar, society and the noun. In J. Webster (Ed.), On language and linguistics: M.A.K. Halliday (pp. 50-73). London: Continuum.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Martin, J. R. (1996). Writing science: Literacy and discursive power. London: Falmer Press.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C. M. I. M. (1999). Construing experience: A language-based approach to cognition. London: Continuum.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. (2006). Construction experience through meaning. London/New York: Continuum.

Heyvaert, L. (2003). A Cognitive-functional approach to nominalization in English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Heyvaert, L., Rogiers, H., & Vermeylen, N. (2005). Pronominal determiners in gerundive nominalization: A case study. English Studies, 86(1), 71-88.

Hirano, E. (2009). Research article introductions in English for specific purposes: A comparison between Brazilian Portuguese and English. English for Specific Purposes, 28, 240–250.

Hyland, K. (1998).  Persuasion and context: The pragmatics of academic metadiscourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 30, 437-455.

Hyland, K. (2001). Humble servants of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for Specific Purposes, 20(3), 207–226.

Hyland, K. (2002). Directives: Argument and engagement in academic writing. Applied Linguistics, 23, 215-239.

Hyland, K. (2009). Academic discourse: English in a global context. London: Continuum.

Hyland, K., & Bondi, M. (2006). Academic discourse across disciplines. Frankfort: Peter Lang.

Hyland, K., & Tse. P. (2004). Metadiscourse in academic discourse: A reappraisal. Applied Linguistics, 25(2), 156-177.

Jalilifar, A. R. (2010). Research article introductions: Subdisciplinary variations in applied linguistics. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 2(2), 29–55.

Jalilifar, A. R., Alipour, M., & Parsa, S. (2014). Comparative study of nominalization in applied linguistics and biology books.Journal of Research in Applied Linguistics, 5(1), 24-43.

Leech, G. (2006). A glossary of English grammar. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Lees, R. (1968). The grammar of English nominalizations. The Hague: Mouton.

Lewin, B. A. (2005). Hedging: An exploratory study of authors' and readers' identification of toning down in scientific texts. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4, 163–178.

Lin, L., & Evans, S. (2012). Structural patterns in empirical RAs: A cross-disciplinary study. English for Specific Purposes, 31(3), 150–160.

Mahbudi, A, Mahbudi L., & Amalsaleh E. (2014). A comparison between the use of nominalization in medical papers by English and Iranian Writers. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English literature, 3, 1-6.

Martin, J. R. (1991). Nominalization in science and humanities: Distilling knowledge and scaffolding text. In E. Ventola (Ed.), Functional and systemic linguistics (pp. 307–337), Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Martin, J. R. (1993). Life as a noun: Arresting the universe in science and humanities. In M. Halliday & J. R. Martin (Eds.). Writing science: Literacy and discursive power, (pp. 221-267), Pittsburgh & London: University of Pittsburgh.

Martin, J. R. (2008). Incongruent and proud: De-vilifying nominalization. Discourse & Society, 19(6), 801–810.

Martínez, L. A. (2003). Aspects of theme in the method and discussion sections of biology jour­nal articles in English. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2, 103-124.

 Milagros del Saz Rubio, M. (2011).A pragmatic approach to the macro-structure and metadiscoursal features of research article introductions in the field of Agricultural Sciences. English for Specific Purposes, 30. 258–271.

Moltman, F. (2007). Events, troops and truth making. Philosophical Studies, 134 (3), 363-403.

Noonan, M. (2007). Complementation. In T. Shopen (Ed.), Language typology and syntactic description, (Vol. 2). Complex constructions (pp. 52-150). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Omidi, L., & Farnia. M (2016). Comparative generative analysis of introductions of English and Persian physical education research articles. International Journal of Language and Applied Linguistics. 2(2), 1-18.

Parkinson, J. (2011). The discussion section as argument: The language used to prove knowledge claims. English for Specific Purposes, 30(3), 164-175.

Parodi, G. (2010). The rhetorical organization of the textbook genre across disciplines: A 'colony-in-loops'?  Discourse Studies, 12, 195-222.

Pérez-Llantada, C. (2012). Scientific discourse and the rhetoric of globalization: The impact of culture and language. London: Continuum.

Pho, P. D. (2008). Research article abstracts in applied linguistics and educational technology: A study of linguistic realizations of rhetorical structure and authorial stance. Discourse Studies, 10(2), 231-250.

Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., & Svartvik, J. (1985). A comprehensive grammar of English language. London: Longman.

Rathert, M., & Alexiadou, A. (2010). The semantics of nominalizations across languages and frameworks. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Reeves, C. (2005). The language of science. London: Routledge.

Samaraj, B. (2002). Introductions in RAs: Variation across disciplines. English for Specific Purposes, 21, 1-17.

Sarfo-Adu, K. (2015). Nominalization in research articles abstracts: A comparative study.  European journal language studies, 2, 56-66.

Sarnackaitė, V. (2011).  Nominalization as a cohesive device in political discourse (Bachelor's thesis). Retrieved from: http:// lvb.lt/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=SU&docId=ELABAETD1778579&fromSitemap=1&afterPDS=true

Susinskiene, S. (2009). Textual functions of nominalizations in English scientific discourse. Žmogus ir žodis, 11(3), 58-64.

Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Swales, J. (1998). Other floors, other voices. London: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Taverniers, M. (2003). Grammatical metaphor in SFL: A historiography of the introduction and initial study of the concept. In A.M Simon-Vandenbergen, M. Taverniers, & Y. Ravelli (Eds.), Grammatical metaphor: Views from systemic functional linguistics (pp.5-34). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co.

To V., Lê T., & Lê Q. (2013). A comparative study of nominalization in IELTS writing test papers. International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research, 4, 15-21.

Vázquez Orta, I. (2006). A corpus-based approach to the distribution of nominalization in academic discourse. In A. N Hornero, M. J. Luzón, & S. Murillo (Eds.), Corpus linguistics: Applications for the study of English (pp. 399-416). Bern: Peter Lang.

Wenyan, G. (2012). Nominalization in medical papers: A comparative study. Studies in Literature and Language, 4, 86-93.

Wells, R. (1960). Nominal and verbal style. In T. Sebeok (ed.), Style in language (pp. 213-20). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.

West, G. K. (1980). That-nominals constructions in traditional rhetorical divisions of scientific research papers. TESOL Quarterly, 14(4), 483-189.

Yakhontova, T. (2006). Cultural and disciplinary variation in academic discourse: The issue of influencing factors. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 5. 153-167. 

Young, L., & Harrison, C. (2004). Systemic functional linguistics and critical discourse analysis. London: Continuum.

Zucchi, A. (1993). The language of propositions and events: Issues in the syntax and the semantics of nominalization. London: Kluwer Academic Publishers.