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Question illocutionary force indicating devices in academic writing

Abstract: Corpus research on questions as reader engagement markers in academic writing typically focuses on direct questions. Such questions are signalled by question marks and are relatively easily searchable in a corpus. However, indirect questions can be more challenging to identify, as they can be introduced by a range of forms. Based on a contrastive analysis of a corpus of English, French, and Spanish economics research articles, this paper provides pertinent evidence on direct and indirect questions as reader engagement markers. Firstly, it shows that direct and indirect questions as reader engagement markers are a rhetorical and generic feature of academic writing in the economics research article and, secondly, it presents a comprehensive list of indirect question illocutionary force indicating devices, valuable for future studies of indirect questions. Methodologically, this paper illustrates a replicable process for functional analysis and discusses the value of theoretically merging corpus and contrastive linguistic approaches.
Keywords: academic writing / corpus / engagement markers / reader engagement / illocutionary / functional / indirect

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