Intercultural and interdisciplinary variation in the use of epistemic lexical verbs in linguistics and economics research articles
- Číslo 2 
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceLinguistica Pragensia, 2018, 28, 2, 154-167
epistemic lexical verbs, persuasion, intercultural variation, disciplinary variation, research articles
This paper explores rhetorical variation in academic discourse, focusing on the choice and use of epistemic lexical verbs in linguistics and economics research articles written in English by Anglophone and Czech scholars. Drawing on Hyland’s (1998a) taxonomy of epistemic lexical verbs, the contrastive analysis combines quantitative and qualitative methods to consider how rhetorical variation is affected by both the culture of the discipline and the culture of the writer. The investigation is carried out on a specialised corpus comprising 48 research articles (12 per discipline and cultural background) published in international and national (Czech) academic journals. Apart from establishing the frequency of occurrence of judgement and evidential epistemic lexical verbs, the analysis considers the immediate co-text of the target items and the distribution of different types of epistemic lexical verbs across the rhetorical sections of research articles. The results of the investigation indicate that while the lower frequency of use of epistemic lexical verbs in research articles by Czech writers is due to intercultural variation, the preferences towards the use of specific types of epistemic lexical verbs, the clusters they form, and their distribution across the rhetorical sections of research articles seem to reflect both cultural and disciplinary considerations. These findings suggest that culture and discipline seem to govern different aspects of rhetorical choices in academic discourse.