Publication details [#55682]

Kerz, Elma. 2012. The role of genre in information structuring in English. Belgian Journal of Linguistics 29 : 143–159.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Biber and Gray (2010)'s corpus findings offer empirical evidence for the dramatic increase of compressed structures in English academic writing over the last 100 years. The question arises as to how far the traditional view that information structure should be viewed as a single partition of information within a given utterance adequately accounts for genre-specific information packaging strategies. To provide an answer to this question, the current study explores and compares information structuring within what will be referred to here as 'compression strategies', namely the use of adverbial subordinate clauses, -ING constructions, and complex NP constructions across two different genres: the highly compressed genre of research article abstracts, and fiction. It is shown that in more compressed discourse styles such as academic writing, there is a higher probability of encountering information structure partition not only at the clausal but also at the phrasal level. The present paper highlights the importance of genre variation as one predictor of variation in information structuring within constructions.