Expressing Lesser Relevance in Academic Conference Presentations

Keywords: metadiscourse, lesser relevance markers, conference presentations


While marking importance and relevance in academic discourse has been a widely researched topic, markers of lesser significance have so far been understudied. The article therefore focuses on some of the discoursal means of expressing lesser importance in conference presentations. The corpus of the study comprises recordings of 20 presentations in English at international linguistics conferences by speakers of various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The methodology follows Deroey and Taverniers’s (2012) study of lecture discourse, whereby depending on the way lesser importance is expressed, the markers are grouped under five categories. Their methodology is checked against the data provided by the transcriptions of the conference recordings to ascertain the extent to which it is applicable to other spoken academic genres. The ultimate objective is to provide steppingstones for interpreting information and distinguishing between what is important and relevant and less so in conference presentations, as well as for the identification of presenters’ motivation for employing this type of metadiscourse.

Author Biographies

Diana Yankova, Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria

Diana Yankova, PhD, is Professor of Linguistics and current head of the Languages and Cultures Department, New Bulgarian University, Sofia. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in text linguistics, translation of legislative texts, American and Canadian culture studies. She is the author of several monographs and numerous articles on legal language with special emphasis on culture and genre-specific characteristics of Common law and Continental legislation, points of convergence between legal studies and linguistics, terminological and structural considerations in translating supranational law, approximation of legislation, teaching EALP.

Irena Vassileva, Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria

Irena Vassileva, PhD, is Professor of English and German and has worked extensively on spoken and written academic communication in English, German and Bulgarian. She has published three monographs and a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals and collections of articles. Vassileva has also received various research awards from outstanding foundations in international competition and has worked at universities in Bulgaria, Germany, and the UK.


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How to Cite
Yankova, D., & Vassileva, I. (2021). Expressing Lesser Relevance in Academic Conference Presentations. English Studies at NBU, 7(2), 127-146.