Emergent Trends in English Scientific Discourse: Issues of Research Relevance and Linguistic Identity

The object of this study is English scientific discourse with a scientific text viewed as its unit. The subject of the study is represented by topic relevance and research methodology as parameters of a scientific text. The hypothesis of the study postulates that modern English scientific discourse has accommodated a clearly identifiable unconventional format for the construction of scientific rhetoric. The essence of this format is that topic relevance is deliberately assigned a peripheral role, while research methodology, on the contrary, comes to the foreground, thus turning into the key goal of the scientific endeavor in general. This format is characterized as unique, inasmuch as it incorporates two interrelated and clearly contrasting components of a scientific text - the "peripheral" relevance of the topic of a study and priority ranking of its methodology. The key aim of the present article is to analyze the discursive peculiarities of this type of scientific texts in English scientific discourse. The material for the study is represented by English research articles on economics published in high-rated peer-reviewed journals. The methodology for assessing topic relevance implied assessing its feasibility against the following parameters: its theoretical significance; its practical significance; and the potential to address a specific, generally valid and/or scientific problem by exploring this topic. As a result of the study, the author identifies three peculiarities of this kind of articles: preservation of the gnostic function, realization of the entertaining function, and better potential for author's self-identification. The specifics of the discursive aspects of the format under discussion is described through the terminology used, the phenomenon of precedence, discursive markers, the use of the pronoun "I". The author concludes that with this type of format in English scientific discourse the scientific text simultaneously loses and acquires significance depending on the reader's appraisal, whereby the reader can view the scientific publication as irrelevant in the light of the irrelevance of the immediate topic of research, or regard it as a relevant contribution to the theoretical comprehension of the methodology to be used in addressing scientific issues. The author also postulates that although this phenomenon does not acquire massive proportions, articles with peripheral relevance of research topic can be considered an interesting example of non-traditional discursive practices and can become subject of more detailed research in the future.

Tomsk State University
scientific discourse; identity; scientific publication; scientific article; relevance of research; discourse marker; identifying function; precedent
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