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Variation in the use of contrastive DMs in RAs

The results concerning contrastive DMs as used by English and Czech expert writers are given in Table 10-3. The table provides evidence that, as with causal relations and contrary to my expectations, in both English and Czech academic writing, represented by RAs in this chapter, contrastive relations expressed by hypotactic DMs are significantly less frequent than those expressed by paratactic DMs, although the former relations are typically marked overtly in written discourse, above all those of cause and concession (Taboada 2006: 576). As with causal markers, the most interesting results in both corpora concern the uneven distribution in particular of paratactic markers, i.e. those expressing relationships between units which are not dependent on each other, in terms of both types and tokens.

Concerning the overall distribution of contrastive markers, it should be emphasized that of the thirty-eight different types, i.e. nine hypotactic and twenty-nine paratactic DMs, searched for during the analysis only four in the English and three in the Czech corpus occur with relatively high frequency, which means that their normalized frequency of occurrence is at least 0.5 tokens per 1,000 words. This concerns two paratactic markers- but and however-(see example (12) below) and one hypotactic marker- although-in both corpora. Apart from that, in the English corpus, the hypotactic marker while (0.94) has a significant frequency unlike in the Czech corpus (0.42). In addition, the hypotactic marker whereas is also relatively frequent in both corpora (0.23-0.38). It can now be stated that there is not much variation in the use of the four most frequent hypotactic contrastive DMs, although, even though, while and whereas, in the data examined; the last-mentioned marker is illustrated in (10), namely in the text in which the highest number of contrastive markers has been found and in which whereas occurs most frequently of all the texts analysed. Apart from the individual authors’ writing habits, this finding may be given by the topic of the RA in question, i.e. labels used for victims and criminals in the British press. (It should be stressed again that all markers with a normalized frequency of occurrence of 0.1 tokens per 1,000 words or higher are written in bold in all the tables included in this chapter.)

Table 10-3: Contrastive DMs in RAs by English and Czech expert writers

Type of corpus

(No. of words)

English writers (74,545)

Czech writers (57,819)

Hypotactic DMs

No.

per 1,000

No.

per 1,000

although

55

0.74

29

0.50

even if

1

0.01

8

0.14

even though

9

0.12

11

0.19

though

5

0.07

8

0.14

while

70

0.94

24

0.42

whereas

17

0.23

22

0.38

All hyp. DMs

157

2.11

102/104

1.80

Paratactic DMs

No.

per 1,000

No.

per 1,000

but

151

2.03

78

1.35

conversely

0

0

9

0.16

however

121

1.62

90

1.56

in contrast

7

0.09

2

0.04

instead

6

0.08

0

0

nevertheless

12

0.16

8

0.14

on the other hand

0

0

9

0.16

still

17

0.23

9

0.16

yet

8

0.11

5

0.09

All par. DMs

322/334

4.48

210/219

3.79

TOTALDMs

479/491

6.59

312/323

5.59

(10) (CzWrCorpus, Text 5)

With the murderer the status to be communicated to the reader is obviously negative. The analysis proves that this is achieved by the use of the surname only, i.e. Smith without the title Mr, whereas the whole name (Joel Smith) is mostly used for identification, and the first name (Joel) is not used at all, as can be seen from the following table:

Example (11) illustrates two tokens of the marker while, i.e. the most frequent hypotactic marker of all, in particular in the English corpus and one token of the causal DM so that, which has only two occurrences in the same corpus (see Table 10-1, discussed in Section 7 above). Apart from that the example that follows comprises one token of another hypotactic DM-though, which is slightly more common in the Czech corpus (0.14), although it is not at all frequent in the data as a whole. Its more emphatic variant even though is slightly more frequent in both corpora (0.12-0.19) and ranks among the four most typical hypotactic markers, as mentioned above. By contrast, the occurrence of though as a paratactic marker is so exceptional that it does not even qualify for inclusion in Table 10-3 above.

(11) (EngWrCorpus, Text 8)

With regard to the educational implications, different types of MWUs suggest different kinds of learning. In other words, while figurative expressions require a stretching of the known meaning of the individual words, idioms may require a more etymological/historical approach. We make the assumption that turning untruth into truth by pragmatic reinterpretation is something which is familiar in principle to speakers of all languages, so that the general point does not have to be taught, though the way the general principle is exploited in any particular language may have to be. Moreover, while the conceptual metaphors which underlie so much of our thought and influence so much of our language have been identified (Lakoff and Johnson 1980), recent research has indicated that insufficient attention is paid to this by L2 (second language) teaching and learning ...

The markers that follow have been excluded from Table 10-3 because of a frequency of occurrence of fewer than five tokens in either corpus. However, as with the causal markers in Table 10-1 above, they are counted in lines which give total numbers. The exclusion concerns the hypotactic markers albeit, despite the fact (that), except (that), in spite of the fact (that), and notwithstanding, and the paratactic markers actually, after all, all the same, alternatively, anyhow, anyway, at any rate, at the same time, besides, by comparison, by contrast, even so, in any case, in comparison, in spite of that, instead, nonetheless, on the contrary, on the other side, oppositely, or else, and though (listed in alphabetical order). Some of the markers mentioned immediately above either do not occur at all in the data or occur only rarely, i.e. they do not reach a frequency of occurrence of at least five tokens in either corpus and thus are not listed in Table 10-3. With markers such as albeit, notwithstanding and oppositely,

zero occurrence is not at all surprising, since, as stated, for example, in Altenberg (1986), these markers are not likely to appear in any corpora of present-day English.

The results indicate that the most typical contrastive DMs in both corpora are the paratactic markers but and however, the former being the most frequent contrastive marker of all in the English corpus (2.03), while in the Czech corpus but (1.35) is slightly less frequent than however (1.56); still both of these DMs are less common in the Czech corpus than the marker however (1.62) in the writing of native speakers of English. Example (12), which is taken from the English corpus, comprises the two most frequent contrastive markers of all-but and however-which the author of the RA illustrated in (12) uses most frequently of all authors included in this study.

(12) (EngWrCorpus, Text 9)

Furthermore, my ‘words’ do not have semantic entries, or phonological entries, and in that respect they lose the important features which distinguish real lexicons from any other kind of network. In a sense, however, this misses the point. Lexicons may be a special case, and may exhibit special characteristics which distinguish them from other types of networks, but they also inherit fundamental properties that are shared by many different types of network. At some level, lexical networks share features with postal networks, airline networks, and friendship networks, but working at a broad level of abstraction makes it possible to establish in what ways lexical networks merely share these fundamental features, and to what extent the features they exhibit are unique.

As regards the other paratactic markers listed in Table 10-3, there is some cross-cultural variation in the writing habits of authors from different cultural backgrounds. Firstly, the repertoire of the more frequent paratactic contrastive markers is slightly broader in the Czech corpus, although English writers use, apart from but and however, three other paratactic markers listed in the table, in particular nevertheless (0.16), still (0.23) and yet (0.11), relatively frequently. However, there is not a single occurrence of the markers conversely and on the other hand, both of which appear in the Czech corpus with the same frequency (0.16) (for illustration, see example (13) below). Secondly, of the more typical contrastive DMs in the Czech corpus, the paratactic marker however (1.56) is three times more frequent than the most common hypotactic DM although (0.5), and in the

English corpus the most typical marker of all is but (2.03), which is used about twice as often as the most frequent hypotactic marker while (0.94).

These findings testify that, as with the causal DMs discussed above, there is a tendency on the part of both English and Czech expert writers to apply the natural ordering of discourse segments (Altenberg 1987) when producing RAs; for the illustration of the placement of the segment of discourse which carries new information after the segment with known information, which is the default case with paratactic markers, see one token of however and two tokens of but in (12) above.

Example (13) comprises apart from the paratactic contrastive marker on the other hand, which occurs only in the Czech corpus (probably under the influence of the Czech phrase na druhe strand), two other markers, namely the causal DMs therefore and because. The example provides evidence of the tendency favoured by some writers in both discourse communities, namely to introduce almost every other discourse segment with an overt signal; for an even stronger tendency in novice writing to introduce every discourse segment with a DM, see Povolna (2012).

(13) (CzWrCorpus, Text 9)

This approach supports the view that newspapers may endeavour to influence their readers by proposing certain views and values, and therefore work with the concept of implied readership, which on the other hand does not mean that the readers will form one particular opinion of the event or problem discussed because, as suggested above, a single article may have many readings.

As the results indicate, English writers express contrast through paratactic relations in many more cases (4.48) than Czech writers (3.79); this is caused above all by the fact that the frequency of occurrence in the English corpus of the most typical paratactic marker of all, namely but (2.03), is by far the highest (see Table 10-3 above), which, as stated above, may result from the direct influence of the more dialogic and interactive character of Anglo-American academic texts. However, as can be seen from Table 10-4, the proportion between hypotactic (32%) and paratactic (68%) relations expressed through coordination is-when given in percentages of occurrences-the same in all RAs written by expert writers in the data examined. In comparison, when expressing contrastive relations in their Master’s theses Czech students give even stronger preference to paratactic markers (79%), probably under the influence of overt instructions provided by teachers of academic writing and field- specific guidance by thesis supervisors.

Table 10-4: Contrastive hypotactic and paratactic DMs in academic writing. Comparison between English and Czech writers and Czech students

Contrastive relations

Hypotactic DMs

Paratactic DMs

Type of corpus

No.

%

No.

%

English experts

157

32

334

68

Czech experts

104

32

219

68

Czech students

118

21

450

79

Concerning the overall frequency of occurrence of contrastive DMs and the distribution of individual types of markers, it can be postulated that, as with the choice of causal DMs, both English and Czech writers rarely resort to the whole repertoire of contrastive markers at their disposal; the range of contrastive markers they use relatively frequently when expressing contrastive relations is only slightly broader than that of causal markers, although the repertoire of the former markers is much broader (38 different types of contrastive DMs in contrast to 18 different types of causal DMs); a major reason for this may be the writing habits of individual authors.

 
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