Advances in Written Text Analysis

By Malcolm Coulthard | Go to book overview

NOTES

* The article presented here is reprinted from Language in Society, by the kind permission of the author and the publishers, CUP.

1
Pinch (1985:8-9) refers to ‘the fundamental ambiguity over just what has been observed’, resulting from the degree of interpretation involved in the reporting of results. The reliance upon assumptions and interpretation in observation is termed ‘externalization of observation’ by Pinch. He gives an example of an experiment, as a result of which there are marks on a graph. These are interpreted as indicating the presence of Argon atoms, which in turn are interpreted as indicating the presence of solar neutrinos. The researcher can report that ‘splodges on a graph’, or ‘Ar37 atoms’ or ‘solar neutrinos’ have been observed. Pinch comments: ‘The difference between the possible observational reports of the experiment can be characterized by their degree of externality’.
2
Activity. The activities identified in the SUTY text are: state fact; interpret result; assess; narrate event; hypothesize; recommend; assert status; describe figure. Source. The possible sources are: received knowledge, data, writers, text. Modification. Modification may be effected by: modal verbs (must, may, etc. ); modal constructions (It is possible/clear/plausible that; We believe that; probably, possibly, etc. ); modal copulas (appear, seem); projecting verbs (demonstrate, suggest, claim, etc).

For further details, see Hunston (1989).

3
The categories of certainty are: Known; Certain; Probable; Possible; Unlikely; Untrue; Unknown. For further details, see Hunston (1989).

-218-

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