Promotional English on the web: native and ELF university websites

Dalan, Erika (2018) Promotional English on the web: native and ELF university websites, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Traduzione, interpretazione e interculturalità, 30 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/8450.
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This PhD project investigates English promotional texts in institutional academic settings, focusing on the language of evaluation and adopting a corpus-based methodology. The ultimate goals of this project are to compare the production of promotional strategies in academic websites between native English and ELF (English as a Lingua Franca), as well as to offer a full set of strategies that can be used to express the promotional function of university websites in English. In order to reach these goals, promotional webpages were analysed from the point of view of genre and from a lexico-grammatical perspective. Furthermore, to increase the usability of the corpus and to provide input for the analysis of promotional language, automatic classification based on Functional Text Dimensions was carried out. Although dependent on preliminary human judgement, the good performance of the method was proved by an extensive number of examples provided as a post-hoc evaluation. Linguistically, markers of evaluation were selected from a wide range of relevant research studies. Markers were used to build a set of corpus queries aimed to quantify and analyse explicit evaluation features in native English and ELF subcorpora. Although several similarities were observed across the two subcorpora, a number of differences were found which can be summarised in at least three main points. First, native English texts adopt openly promotional genres coming from a business-related context, while most of ELF texts belong to typical academic genres that were enriched with promotional features. Second, native English texts display an informal and colloquial style leading to a higher degree of engagement, whereas ELF texts show a higher degree of complexity. Third, native English websites make use of implicit promotional strategies for self-assertion, while ELF ones favour self-commitment and an “ethical” approach to promotional strategies.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Dalan, Erika
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
institutional academic language, evaluation, promotional genres, university websites, English as a Lingua Franca, corpus-based study, automatic text classification.
Data di discussione
18 Maggio 2018

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