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Community and individuality: Performing identity in applied linguistics

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Abstract

Recent research has emphasized the close connections between writing and the construction of an author's identity. While academic contexts privilege certain ways of making meanings and so restrict what resources participants can bring from their past experiences, we can also see these writing conventions as a repertoire of options that allow writers to actively and publicly accomplish an identity through discourse choices. This article takes a somewhat novel approach to the issue of authorial identity by using the tools of corpus analysis to examine the published works of two leading figures in applied linguistics: John Swales and Debbie Cameron. By comparing high frequency keywords and clusters in their writing with a larger applied linguistics reference corpus, I attempt to show how corpus techniques might inform our study of identity construction and something of the ways identity can be seen as independent creativity shaped by an accountability to shared practices.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-188
Number of pages30
JournalWritten Communication
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Peer-reviewedYes

Keywords

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  • Academic writing, Applied linguistics, Argument, Discourse identity, Reader engagement

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