During the 27th-29th April, the 39th AESLA Conference was held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Our team members Rosana Villares, Alberto Vela, and Marian Velilla presented part of their current research projects. The abstracts of their presentations are linked below.
Technological advances have increased the number of remediated traditional genres to the digital medium like the research article. (Gimenez et al., 2020; Heyd, 2016; Yates & Summers, 1997). Similarly, social media have modified scientific dissemination practices, a phenomenon that has been intensified as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, when online interactions and research dissemination skyrocketed to engage in alternative ways of science communication. Among these platforms, Twitter has become an effective and powerful tool for academics to disseminate, network, and engage with wider audiences (Luzón, 2017; Luzón & Pérez-Llantada, 2019; Mehlenbacher & Rose, 2019). This study aims to analyse a small-scale corpus of tweets written as part of a Twitter conference to understand how authors have adapted a purely spoken genre, academic conferences, to a written and digital platform such as Twitter to communicate science efficiently to Internet audiences. The data consists of 55 Twitter threats written in English retrieved from the Linguistweets conference (2020, https://www.linguistweets.org/en/) explored using the Atlas.ti data analysis software drawing on genre-based analysis (Swales, 1990, 2004). A preliminary study has revealed that the remediation of genres and open science policies are among key findings. Furthermore, it is hypothesised that researchers rely on multimodality, recontextualization, hypertextuality, and interactivity to adapt their strategies and contents to the Twitter affordances. It is expected that this analysis will offer valuable insights into the communication strategies used by academics that communicate research effectively to wide and diversified audiences.
The crowdfunding project proposal genre is an emerging and hybrid genre (Herring, 2013) for science communication online, which adopts rhetorical conventions of traditional genres as grant proposals (Mehlenbacher, 2017, 2019) in its adaptation to Web 2.0. in the same way other digital emerging genres do (Kelly & Miller, 2016). This is motivated by different communicative purposes of the genre, such as to inform about science, educate in science and create a persuasive appeal to prompt donation (Pérez-Llantada, 2021). Scientists are increasing their use of crowdfunding science platforms to make their research visible while inviting donations, as well as to prompt the broad publics’ opinion on scientific research, which evidence the fast-changing online communication practices in science at international levels (Mehlenbacher, 2017; Luzón & Pérez-Llantada, 2019). Using qualitative analysis the aim of this study is to identify the degree of standardization of crowdfunding proposals at the level of rhetorical organization. For the study, the point of departure is Mehlenbacher’s (2017, 2019) taxonomy of moves-steps carried out, which has been applied to a corpus of 50 projects dealing with issues of environment and sustainability compiled from the Experiment.com web portal. Preliminary results show that several rhetorical steps recur in the majority of the projects, pointing to the stability of the genre. The corpus analysis also shows that the most important steps are those that provide information about the methodology to carry out the project and justify the expenses, by this means aiming to prompt donation to support the project. Move/step analysis also reveals that aspects of a more scientific nature, such as the theoretical grounding of hypotheses or the sample of results are not foregrounded, as the project launchers aim to connect with a lay public who is not specialised in the subject matter the project deals with. Identification of moves/steps that are mandatory for the genre to respond to its rhetorical exigencies can make it possible to dispense with those optional ones, helping to create a stable can inform pedagogy and support researchers who need to prompt donation (micropatronage) to secure funding for their projects.
Language is a key component of academic life and English language happens to be the nexus for many academic stakeholders with different linguistic and socio-cultural backgrounds. This is currently the case in English as medium of instruction (EMI) lectures in many European universities (Jenkins 2011). As Mauranen (2006 p. 143) pointed out, “it is virtually impossible to separate academic culture from local culture”. As such, issues of identity, community and culture have long been concerns of English as a lingua franca (ELF) researchers (Jenkins, 2007 2011). More precisely, early research on ELF pragmatics demonstrated that successful interactions among ELF speakers appear to be characterised by the use of pragmatic strategies to achieve communicative alignment, adaptation, local accommodation and attunement (Firth 1996). Yet, more recent studies have also shown that the accommodative processes vary in its local realisations, (Pölzl & Seidlhofer 2006) shaped by different situation-specific conventions and needs. Therefore, it has been observed that some types of pragmatic strategies seem to be used more frequently than others in different ELF settings.
The research presented in this paper studies the pragmatic strategies used by lecturers at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) to negotiate meaning, culture and identity in international academic contexts such as EMI lectures. It analyses the way lecturers’ local culture and identity is reflected on their teaching discourse and meaning making procecces. The EMI teaching and learning scenarios analysed in the study are considered ELF academic settings. The particular EMI lectures analysed in the study belong to two teaching programs of different disciplinary areas (the bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management in English and the master’s degree in Nanostructured Materials for Nanotechnology Applications). The methodology used in this study involves triangulation at two different levels: data triangulation and methodological triangulation. Three different data-sets were collected and analysed. First, a corpus of 12 recorded EMI lectures, which has been analysed from a discourse-pragmatic approach. It involves 6 Spanish-L1 lecturers and around 30 Spanish and international students per group. Secondly, a corpus of semi-structured interviews with lecturers, which provides the ethnographic insight to inform on the results obtained from the recorded lectures. Finally, a corpus of PowerPoint presentations used in the same EMI lectures recorded, which serves the purpose of establishing the linguistic interaction that both genres generate in that particular EMI lectures. Looking at the results of the study, it seems unavoidable for the lecturers in this Spanish-speaking context to use Spanish terms which refer to Spanish national concepts or to change their code unconsciously to Spanish when they are talking about something related exclusively with the Spanish and local culture, thus signaling their own cultural and multilingual identity (Klimpfinger 2009).