Elaboration, compression and explicitness across sub-registers of popular and academic writing in Hong Kong English
In this study we examine elaboration, compression and explicitness in academic and popular writing in an Outer Circle variety of English, that of Hong-Kong, as represented in the International Corpus of English corpus. As Biber and Gray (2016) show, contemporary academic discourse is structurally compressed at NP level (rather than elaborated) and inexplicit in the expression of meaning. The linguistic features selected for analysis are short passives, which are compressed and inexplicit, and adnominal relative clauses, which represent the opposite tendency, that towards elaboration and explicitness. We focus on register variation through analyzing, first, differences between academic and popular writing, and second, interdisciplinary variation in four sub-registers: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and technology.
Keywords: Hong Kong English, Academic writing, Popular writing, Relative clauses, Passives
Published online: 07 August 2020
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