Academic naming: Changing patterns of noun use in research writing

Hyland, Ken and Jiang, Feng Kevin (2021) Academic naming: Changing patterns of noun use in research writing. Journal of English Linguistics, 49 (3). pp. 255-282. ISSN 0075-4242

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In this paper we explore the ways academics name processes as things and how these practices have changed over the past fifty years. Focusing on nominalization, noun-noun sequences, and acronyms, we document an increase in these features across a corpus of 2.2 million words within a consistent set of journals from four disciplines. Our results show that nominalizations and acronyms have increased in all four fields, particularly in applied linguistics and sociology, and that while noun-noun sequences have fallen in electrical engineering, they have risen in the other disciplines, especially sociology. We also suggest that noun-noun phrases have increasingly come to name methodological approaches, rather than concepts or objects, and we seek to account for these changes. We observe that these increases in naming are related to the need for succinctness in modern research writing and the advantages of endowing named objects with a real existence which can then be credited with explanatory authority. We question, however, the appropriacy of these practices for interpretation in the social sciences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: nominalisation,acronyms,noun phrases,corpus analysis,academic writing,naming practices,nominalization,language and linguistics,linguistics and language ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1200/1203
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2021 00:47
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 02:19
DOI: 10.1177/00754242211019080

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