December 4th — Miriam P. Veneros

Narrative Voice in Science Popularizations from the British Press: Epistemological Positioning and Attribution Patterns

The purpose of my research is to analyze the phenomenon of attribution, understood as the introduction of voices external to the text (Hunston 2000), and its realization through verbal projection (Thompson 2004; Halliday and Matthiessen 2004) in science popularization articles from the British press. These external voices are included by journalists as a way to give authority and reliability to their narration and, as such, it is expected that this transmission of information is given in as objective and faithful a way as possible. However, it is in the end the journalist the one who creates the whole of the discourse and the one in charge of deciding when and how to include those external sources (Calsamiglia and López Ferrero 2003; Charles 2006), thereby in a way positioning him/herself towards that information. That is the reason why our research delves into the question of how the embedding (Bell 1991; Bednarek 2006) of external voices and the various mechanisms used by the journalist to do so, apart from giving authority, can also involve a subtle way of creating a complex web of voices where the journalist’s voice, taken to be neutral, stands in a specific position in relation to the rest of voices included, dominating the ‘stage’ where the rest of ‘characters’ come into play.

REFERENCES
Bednarek, M. 2006. “Epistemological Positioning and Evidentiality in English News Discourse: A Text-driven Approach.” Text&Talk 26(6): 635-660.
Bell, A. 1991. The Language of News Media. Oxford: Blackwell.
Calsamiglia, H. and López Ferrero, C. 2003. “Role and Position in Scientific Voices: Reported Speech in the Media.” Discourse Studies 5(2): 147-173.
Charles, M. 2006. “The Construction of Stance in Reporting Clauses: A Cross-disciplinary Study of Theses.” Applied Linguistics 27(3): 492-518.
Halliday, M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C.M.I.M. 2004. An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd revised edition). London: Edward Arnold.
Hunston, S. 2000. “Evaluation and the Planes of Discourse: Status and Value in Persuasive Texts.” In Hunston, S. and Thompson, G. (eds.) Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 176-207.
Thompson, G. 2004. Introducing Functional Grammar (2nd edition). London: Edward Arnold.

 

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