Edited by Juana I. Marín-Arrese, Gerda Haßler and Marta Carretero
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 271] 2017
► pp. 225–248
Evidential and epistemic stance strategies in scientific communication
A corpus study of semi-formal and expert publications
The present paper presents the results of a corpus study of evidential and epistemic strategies as stance markers in two subgenres of scientific discourse, a sample of semi-formal publications (New Scientist) and one of expert publications (PubMed). First, an onomasiological approach to evidentiality and epistemic stance is adopted, following Marín-Arrese (2015b). Second, the evidential and epistemic strategies performed in the context of the two genres are discussed, following recent research which points to the need to explore this dimension (Mushin 2012; Nuckolls and Michael 2014). Results show that within the distinction between direct and indirect markers of evidentiality and epistemic stance, both samples show a preference for indirect strategies. Within the four categories of evidentiality and epistemic stance, the semi-formal corpus shows an overall significant higher frequency of indirect markers than the expert corpus. These differences reveal communicative discourse-pragmatic strategies which underlie the discipline specific conventions and interactive motivations in the two sub-genres.