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Book: Analyzing the Media

Chapter: Packaging Voices in the British Press: Aspects of the Logogenesis of Science Dissemination

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.32951


This paper delves into the question of how the system of projection works and is realized in the dissemination of science in the British press from a systemic functional perspective. Previous studies on projection, this being described as the phenomenon by which the speaker/writer (re)construct a previous (linguistic) representation, have focused on the syntactic structures used for projecting (Semino and Short 2004; Elorza and Pérez-Veneros 2014); on the types of reporting verbs framing and introducing those structures (e.g. Thompson and Ye 1991; Thompson 1994a) or also on the participants who/which are given voice (Hawes and Thomas 2012; Hawes 2014). Thompson (1994b) has carried out an alternative study of projection by suggesting that we can study it in two different ways: by tracking a meaning along a text to see whether it appears as Proposition, Fact, or nominalization (Thing); or by having a look at the distribution and function of a single meaning and how it is projected along the text. He posits that typically those meanings develop along a cline of projection from first appearance in text as Propositions (direct speech), until they can be presented as fully packaged nominalizations which, in turn, can function as a participant of a new projection (cf. Halliday 1994: 115, 266; Klein and Unsworth 2014; Moyano 2015).

With the purpose of analysing the dynamics of projection in science popularization discourse in the British press, my study addresses the question of how scientific knowledge is constructed logogenetically in texts as projected meaning, either as Proposition, Fact or Thing, in line with Thompson’s taxonomy. This is done by analysing the type of projection used in science popularization articles, to see the degree of ‘packaging’ of scientific knowledge. Besides, I also look at the type of participant related to those projections, as well as their cohesive development along the text, with special attention to cases of material participants (e.g. the study, the findings), to see which of these material participants are the result of the ‘packaging’ of a previous projected meaning and still can act as participants of a new projection (cf. Klein and Unsworth 2014). To this aim, a corpus consisting of 100 cases of projection has been compiled and manually analysed. The results show that projection is mainly realized through Propositions and Facts in popularizations, although there are also cases in which the words of others are projected as Things, thus taking the role of participants of a new projection. Besides, in this corpus these fully-packaged projections tend to appear at the beginning of the text (cataphoric position) to evolve later into either Propositions or Facts, which contrasts greatly with previous results (cf. Thompson 1994b).

Chapter Contributors

  • Miriam Perez-Veneros ( - mperezveneros) 'University of Salamanca'