Expressing Lesser Relevance in Academic 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.
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