[A linguistic analysis of Norwegian medical discourse].


BACKGROUND Recent studies show that the traditional conception of academic writing practices as neutral and deprived of personal elements needs to be revised. The KIAP project investigates whether there is such a thing as cultural identity in academic prose and to what extent it may be related to discipline or language. The genre “research article” is analysed with respect to specific linguistic devises which may indicate similarities and differences between articles written in different languages (English, French, Norwegian) and within different disciplines (economics, linguistics, medicine). MATERIALS AND METHODS The material consists of an electronic corpus containing 450 refereed articles taken from recognised journals. The methods used are both quantitative and qualitative. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION The results confirm the main hypothesis that discipline is more important than language for the explanation of similarities and differences between the nine sub-corpora. Medical articles in all languages are characterised by relatively few occurrences of first person pronouns, indefinite pronouns, meta-textual elements, negations and concessive constructions; on the other hand, medical articles have the highest frequency as regards bibliographical references. These observations may to some extent be explained by different academic traditions, different objects of study and different methods. Norwegian medical articles contain relatively more occurrences of the studied linguistic phenomena than the English and French articles.