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Contrastive Discourse Analysis

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Much of the “new wave” of contrastive linguistics has focused on aspects of the grammatical system, examining phonological, morphological, lexical and syntactic similarities and differences across two or more languages. As with many other areas of linguistics, there exists a renewed interest in discourse perspectives in the study of languages in contrast, and much of that work uses corpora and corpus linguistics techniques to study language.

This volume provides examples of cutting-edge research in contrastive analyses of different languages. The papers have been organized around four themes: studies of discourse markers; information structure; registers and genres; and phraseology. The languages included (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish) cover a range of European languages, showing not only diversity in their grammatical structures, but also subtle differences that are the focus of many of the papers. The techniques used, from concordancing and careful annotation to painstaking qualitative analysis, showcase the variety of approaches to the study of languages in contrast and include contributions from discourse, corpus and functional perspectives.

Published: May 1, 2013

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
List of Contributors Maite Taboada
Introduction Functional and corpus perspectives in contrastive discourse analysis Maite Taboada, Susana Doval Suárez, Elsa González Álvarez
Discourse markers and coherence relations: Comparison across markers, languages and modalities Maite Taboada, María de los Ángeles Gómez-González
Pragmatic triangulation and misunderstanding: A prosodic perspective Jesús Romero-Trillo
Spanish Venga and its English equivalents: A contrastive study of teenage talk Anna-Brita Stenström
Discourse markers in French and German: Reasons for an asymmetry Séverine Adam, Martine Dalmas
Thematic Parentheticals in Dutch and English Mike Hannay, María de los Ángeles Gómez González
Word order and information structure in English and Swedish Jennifer Herriman
The use of it-clefts in the written production of Spanish advanced learners of English Susana Doval Suárez, Elsa González Álvarez
Annotating thematic features in English and Spanish: A contrastive corpus-based study Jorge Arús, Julia Lavid, Lara Moratón
Topic and topicality in text: A contrastive study of English and Spanish narrative texts Raquel Hildalgo, Angela Downing
Towards a comparison of cohesive reference in English and German: System and text Kerstin Kunz, Erich Steiner
Genre- and culture-specific aspects of evaluation: Insights from the contrastive analysis of English and Italian online property advertising Gabrina Pounds
Contrastive analyses of evaluation in text: Key issues in the design of an annotation system for attitude applicable to consumer reviews in English and Spanish Maite Taboada, Marta Carretero
An annotation scheme for dynamic modality in English and Spanish Juan Rafael Zamorano-Mansilla, Marta Carretero
Corpus analysis and phraseology: Transfer of multi-word units Juan-Pedro Rica-Peromingo
Lying as metaphor in a bilingual phraseological corpus (German-Spanish) Ana Mansilla
End Matter
Index Maite Taboada

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A rich collection of papers, illustrating various approaches in contrastive linguistics. The specific attention paid to register and genre analysis and to learner data puts the collection at the forefront of modern corpus linguistics.
Languages in Contrast

This volume is an excellent choice for researchers needing an overview of recent research trends in contrastive discourse analysis. An understanding of the diverse theoretical perspectives discussed in this volume provides excellent background knowledge for understanding how contrastive discourse analysis is defined and why certain research methods are used in empirical studies.
Discourse Studies

The present volume is, all in all, a very valuable and original piece of work for two main reasons: first, because the diversity of European languages dealt with in the book (Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish and English, of course), together with the variety of methodological strategies (ranging from concordancing and careful annotation to painstaking qualitative analysis) used to analyse the different discourse phenomena dealt with, show that the contrastive analysis of languages can be approached from very different angles. And second, because, due to the preliminary character of almost all its chapters, it opens some interesting new lines of research within the field of Contrastive Linguistics. Notice at this point that it revolves around very diverse discourse issues from corpus and functional perspectives which up to now have been almost completely disregarded within the contrastive linguistic tradition, thus calling for further contrastive studies of this type.
Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies