1.浙江财经大学 外国语学院, 浙江 杭州 310018
2.浙江大学 外国语言文化与国际交流学院, 浙江 杭州 310058

[作者简介] 陈珺(https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8201-9757),女,浙江财经大学外国语学院讲师,文学博士,主要从事话语分析和应用语言学研究; 庞继贤(https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4149-146X),男,浙江大学外国语言文化与国际交流学院教授,博士生导师,主要从事话语分析和应用语言学研究。

Professionalization in International Journal Article Titles in Applied Linguistics
Chen Jun1, Pang Jixian2
1.School of Foreign Languages, Zhejiang University of Finance & Economics, Hangzhou 310018, China;
2.School of International Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Abstract

Titles of journal research articles (RAs) serve the function of promoting new knowledge claims made in articles. They have been analyzed from the perspectives of length, syntactic structures, punctuation marks, and discourse functions, and have attracted considerable attention in applied linguistics and discourse studies in recent years. Professionalization embedded in journal article titles, a feature that is relatively overlooked, performs the promoting function by means of conceptual density and genre mixing.
For the purpose of the present study, a specialized corpus was constructed consisting of 250 data-based RAs’ English titles from five international journals in the field of applied linguistics (IJAET) (2009-2013). The journals are Applied Linguistics (AL), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Modern Language Journal (MLJ), Language Learning (LL) and Journal of Second Language Writing (JSLW). From the perspectives of intertextuality and interdiscursivity in genre theory, the data were analyzed focusing on basic syntactic features of titles (including length and punctuation marks), the relationships between mean conceptual density of titles per journal, the journal’s impact factor per year, and the roles that genre mixing plays in titles’ compound constructions.
To examine the mean conceptual density of titles per journal, we extracted professional vocabularies and terminologies that appear in the IJAET. The results show that there are intra- and inter-disciplinary differences in the titles, and there also exists a close relationship between the mean conceptual density of professionalization in titles and the journals’ impact factors. Specifically, as for the mean conceptual density, there is a significant difference between the international applied linguistic journal article titles and the international economic journal article titles. A comparison of the mean conceptual density of each journal title in IJAET with a full consideration of the mean length and tokens of the titles indicates that the shorter the length, the fewer the tokens, and the higher the mean conceptual density, which mirrors the intertwined influence of the nature and preference of journals as well as the authors’ individual writing styles. The Spearman correlation analysis performed on the data also shows that the mean conceptual density of each journal titles is significantly correlated with annual impact factors of each journal ( r=0.321, p<0.05); however, the highest impact factor of AL may indicate that a modest conceptual density of titles may be more helpful in promoting the new knowledge claims made in articles. Genre mixing is mainly found in compound constructions of article titles and is low in frequency in the data. Although it may weaken the professionalization reflected in titles, genre mixing can arouse potential readers’ curiosity, thus ″luring″ readers to read on to learn and understand more about the articles.
Article titles, as a carrier for explicit and implicit interactions between authors and readers in addition to setting an initial persuasive and promotional stage for new knowledge construction, stick to the following principles, i.e. they are concise in structure, appropriate in expression and conspicuous in topic, maximizing the promoting purpose through a synergy effect. Degrees of the density of professionalization of article titles are contingent upon authors’ awareness of target readers’ expectations and the academic conventions of journals, reflecting the characteristic features of intertextuality and interdiscursitivity in titles. In terms of intertextuality, the effort to concentrate on the key points of the target research in titles by drawing on professional vocabularies, terminologies and quotations strengthens the appropriateness and professionalization in titles and stimulates potential readers’ resonance and interests as well. Meanwhile, the dynamic and static characteristics of mixing in titles breed academic genre’s affinity, flexibility and innovativeness. In terms of discursivity, article titles, as a ″win-win″ interactive space between authors and readers, call for the adherence to academic conventions of discourse community while highlighting the authority and research values. Genre mixing may blur the boundary of different genres, but it helps readers to understand research reported in articles through titles.
Considering knowledge as an outcome of socially context-dependent construction process, we argue that the conceptual density of professionalization and genre mixing in journal article titles, while following specific communal conventions, are important discourse strategies authors pursue for promoting research reported in their articles. By exploring the conceptual density of genre mixing, we are more capable of revealing the promotional nature of discourse strategies RA authors adopt for making new knowledge claims in journal research articles.

Keyword: applied linguistics; international journal; article titles; professionalization; conceptual density; genre mixing; genre theory

(1) Critical discourse analysis and the corpus-informed interpretation of metaphor at the register level (019A)(019A表示该题目选自Applied Linguistics语料的第19篇英语论文题目。同理, 其他例子题目后的数字代表题目编号, 与编号共现的字母E代表English for Specific Purposes, 字母W代表Journal of Second Language Writing, 字母L代表Language Learning, 字母M代表Modern Language Journal。)

(2) Language creativity and co-emergence of form and meaning in creative writing tasks (071A)

(3) “ We do not seem to have a theory...the theory I present here attempts to fill this gap” : Inclusive and exclusive pronouns in academic writing (010A)

(4) Interactional dynamics in on-line and face-to-face peer-tutoring (010W)

(5) The effects of task involvement load on L2 incidental vocabulary learning: A meta-analytic study (079M)

(6) An examination of LI and L2 gesture use: What role does proficiency play? (032M)

(7) Contrastive rhetoric in the writing classroom: A case study (005E)

(8) Contesting “ language” as “ heritage” : Negotiation of identities in late modernity (040A)

(9) “ A class for students like me” : Reconsidering relationships among identity labels, residency status, and students’ preferences for mainstream or multilingual composition (023W)

(10) Proficiency level — A fuzzy variable in computer learner corpora (084A)

(一) 概念密度

IJAET语料库中论文题目的平均概念密度为0.364 4, 比经济学类期刊论文英语题目的平均概念密度0.006 7高得多[3]。这可能是学科的差异性所导致的:经济学主要是探寻人类经济活动的规律, 尤其是价值规律, 研究如何实现资源的优化配置与优化再生, 关注价值如何创造、转化及实现, 从而满足人类物质文化生活的需要, 同时促进社会的可持续发展[28]; 应用语言学是以社会现实语言问题为导向、以实践为驱动的学科, 试图解决人们在日常生活中遇到的与语言相关的问题, 是鉴定各种语言学理论的实验场[29]。此外, 这与不同学科的专业实践惯例也密不可分。首先, 两者所涉及的研究领域不同, 应用语言学关注语言运用问题, 经济学的研究焦点是社会经济活动运作规律, 主攻与财富相关的问题。其次, 两者虽然都关注人们的生活, 但相比之下, 经济学的发展更直接地反映社会稳定或动荡的局势, 对与人们基本物质生活密切相关的问题特别敏感; 应用语言学的发展也受社会大环境的影响, 但主要局限在语言运用层面的问题上。由此, 在长期的理论和实践过程中, 学科专业实践的不同侧重点和对社会问题的不同敏感度逐渐促成了不同学科的学术写作特点:经济学类期刊论文作者在拟题策略的选择上更倾向于使用人们熟悉的日常语言来吸引读者的注意力, 应用语言学类期刊论文则选择通过更多的专业术语来呈现学科专业性。可见, 当我们把特定学科知识作为一种社会现象来考察时, 论文题目中所含有的专业术语数量不仅反映了特定学科的社会属性, 也体现了学科实践惯例。

(11) Interlanguage transfer of function words (007L)

(12) Contextual dynamics in foreign language learning motivation (071L)

(13) Making humour work: Creativity on the job (029A)

(14) Writing titles in science: An exploratory study (027E)

(16) Shaping Chinese novice scientists’ manuscripts for publication (024W)

(17) English or Chinese? The trade-off between local and international publication among Chinese academics in the humanities and social sciences (042W)

IJAET语料库中五种期刊各自的论文题目概念密度的具体统计结果见图1。

 Figure Option 图1 IJAET语料库中五种期刊各自论文题目的概念密度对比

 Figure Option 图2 IJAET语料库中五种期刊论文题目的历年概念密度对比

 Figure Option 图3 IJAET语料库中五种期刊论文的历年影响因子对比

(二) 语类混合现象

(18) ‘ Foreignizing’ or ‘ domesticating’ the ideology of parental control in translating stories for children: Insights from contrastive discourse analysis (074A)

(19)Beyond ‘ write-talk-revise-(repeat)’ : Using narrative to understand one multilingual student’ s interactions around writing (083W)

(20) “ I’ d love to put someone in jail for this” : An initial investigation of English in the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry (030E)

(21) “ I had a stereotype that American were fat” : Becoming a speaker of culture in a second language (043M)

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.