Stance and engagement: A corpus-based analysis of academic spoken discourse across science domains

  • Wenhsien Yang Natioanl Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism


Disciplinary norms or conventions could affect how a text is structured and what lexico-grammatical choices are preferable. However, relatively, discourse studies on academic spoken texts are still much underrepresented in the literature, in particular, examinations across various disciplines. Hence, the present study attempts to go some way towards filling this gap by analysing academic speech to investigate if variations exist between the soft and hard sciences with reference to Hyland’s (2005) ‘stance and engagement’ interaction model in academic discourse. The results indicate that, unlike the distinct diversities in written discourse, the employment of hedges, boosters, self-mention and pronouns used to refer to speakers and audience are less diverse across disciplines in spoken discourse. However, with regard to word frequency and ranking, subtle differences in the use of these devices are still identified. It is believed that the various ways in which the different disciplines shape their arguments and construct their knowledge through discourse contribute to these subtle variations (Hyland & Bondi, 2006). Implications and suggestions for researching the markers to represent a speaker’s stance and the audience’s engagement in academic spoken discourse across disciplines as well as for teaching academic speech in ESP courses are also discussed.

Author Biography

Wenhsien Yang, Natioanl Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism
Dr. Wen-hsien Yang is currently Assistant Professor in National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism of Taiwan. He received his doctorate from the University of Exeter, UK. His research interest includes genre analysis, English for professional purposes, lexis analysis and genre-based writing instruction.