The role of metadiscourse markers in technical manuals

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Rok publikování 2019
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Pedagogická fakulta

Popis With English as an international lingua franca, it is indispensable to study rhetorical strategies and their realizations in Anglophone and non-Anglophone cultures in order to enhance effective intercultural communication. The study of rhetorical strategies naturally includes persuasive strategies since persuasion has always been an integral part of all communication (Perloff 2010). The presentation analyses key linguistic realizations of persuasive strategies in the genre of technical manuals, a typical representative of technical discourse. Thirty English and Czech L1 manuals to various technical devices form a specialised corpus of about 210,000 words. Since the main purpose is the accurate transmission of technical information, writers aim to organize their texts clearly and avoid ambiguity of expression while bearing in mind the expected level of technical proficiency of the targeted audiences. Their aim is to create a persuasive and useful set of instructions and give guidance to people using particular technical devices. Accordingly, the interactive process of persuasion is studied here with regard to metadiscourse (Hyland 2005), understood as the commentary on a text made by the technical communicator in the course of writing to enable potential customers to understand and become convinced about the necessity to follow the instructions provided. Based on Thompson (2001) and Hyland and Tse (2004, 2006), the study focuses on all categories of interactive (i.e. transitions, frame markers, endophoric markers, evidentials and code glosses) and interactional resources (hedges, boosters, attitude markers, engagement markers and self-mentions) with the aim to identify their role in enhancing persuasion. The results reveal that the former represent the prevalent persuasive strategies although the latter resources (esp. engagement markers) also have frequencies worth mentioning. The analysis proves that metadiscourse markers are important means of facilitating effective communication and play an important role in providing keys to appropriate interpretation according to which technical instructions are to be understood. Since these must be clearly formulated with ‘maximal relevance’ of the message, the most direct ways in which persuasion can be expressed are typically applied by technical writers in both compared languages.
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