A corpus-pragmatic and contrastive approach to identifying and analysing direct and indirect questions in English, French, and Spanish
Corpus research on questions as reader engagement markers in academic writing typically focuses on direct questions. Such questions are signalled by question marks and are thus relatively easy to retrieve from a corpus. However, indirect questions can be more challenging to identify in a corpus, as they can be introduced by a range of forms. Based on a corpus-based contrastive analysis of a corpus of English, French, and Spanish economics research articles, this talk discusses direct and indirect questions as reader engagement markers. Firstly, it shows that direct and indirect questions as reader engagement markers are a rhetorical and generic feature of academic writing in academic writing in the economics research article. Secondly, it presents a comprehensive list of indirect question illocutionary force indicating devices, valuable for future studies of indirect questions. Methodologically, this talk also illustrates a replicable process for functional analysis and discusses the value of theoretically merging corpus and contrastive linguistic approaches.
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Niall Curry is Lecturer at the Centre for Academic Writing at Coventry University and I am a co-editor of the Journal of Academic Writing. Before working at Coventry, Niall worked at Cambridge University Press, as a lecteur at the University of Angers, France, and as a part-time lecturer at the University of Limerick, Ireland.