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Davide MAZZI

Professore Associato presso: Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali


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Pubblicazioni

2019 - Views of Place, Views of Irishness. Representing the Gaeltacht in the Irish Press, 1895-1905 [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Mazzi, D.
abstract

This book focuses on the representation of the Gaeltacht in the Irish press. It examines texts from a key moment in the history of Irish journalism, namely the decade between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth (1895−1905). Newspapers and periodicals have often been discussed with a view to their contents, or else they have served as supporting materials for scholars in Irish history. However, little to no interest has been taken so far in the language of the Irish press and the structure or discursive organisation of its news texts. In an attempt to contribute to filling this gap, this work is intended to carry out a corpus-based and discourse study of Irish news texts. The analysis fields the following general questions: How was the Gaeltacht represented in mainstream newspapers of the time? What aspects of Irish identity does the representation highlight, beyond the vivid description of remote places? In that regard, what are the concurring or competing voices of journalists engaging in the Irish public sphere? How do such voices actively shape news discourse in order to argue distinctive visions of Ireland?


2018 - Phraseology, argumentation and identity in Supreme Court of Ireland’s judgments on language policy [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The Irish judiciary’s approach to bilingualism as the constitutional guarantee of the right to use either Irish or English for any official purpose has proved highly flexible. However, while emphasis has been laid on principles of constitutional interpretation from the practitioner’s perspective, the discursive dimension of cases involving language policy has yet to be fully elucidated. This paper combines quantitative analysis with a qualitative perspective to focus on phraseological and argumentative patterns in Supreme Court judgments on language policy, based on a small corpus. First, the 10 most frequent lexical bundles of the corpus were extracted to study the main discourse functions of phraseology in context. Second, a manual text analysis was conducted of the two cases where recurrent phraseological patterns were most widely attested. This allowed for the isolation of the argument schemes underlying the structure of the Justices’ opinions. While phraseology points to a shared institutional identity of Irish Justices as gatekeepers of the Constitution, the use of argumentative patterns suggests that they may forge heterogeneous professional identities, by shifting from a rigoristic view of language rights to forms of judicial pragmatism.


2018 - “I Think Any Reasonable Person Will Agree…”: A Corpus and Text Study of Keywords in Irish Political Argumentation [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This paper brings a corpus and discourse perspective to bear on the investigation of the broader argumentative implications of keywords in the context of 20th-century Irish politics. On the basis of two corpora including Michael Collins’ papers and Eamon de Valera’s speeches and statements, a keyword-in-context analysis was performed. Results provide evidence of the persuasive power of keywords as signposts leading to a better understanding of culturally shared rules of inference in political discourse.


2018 - “The diet is not suitable for all...”: On the British and Irish web-based discourse on the Ketogenic Diet [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This paper is aimed at analysing the discourse tools and argumentative resources at work in the debate on the Ketogenic Diet (KD), an increasingly popular regimen with far-reaching clinical implications. The study centred on two small comparable corpora including web-based materials from relevant stakeholders in the debate on the KD, namely health institutions, charities and the press from the UK and Ireland. From a methodological point of view, the study consisted of two main stages: first of all, a quantitative analysis of phraseology focusing on lexical bundles; secondly, a qualitative study of patterns of argumentative discourse, for the purpose of identifying common argument schemes and their relationship in the overall argument structure. On the one hand, the British discourse on the KD broadly reflects the deeply-held conviction that the diet should be given proper consideration, especially in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. On the other hand, the Irish discourse on the diet appears to be more complex and multi-layered. The role of the KD as a significant component of epilepsy treatment is acknowledged, but at the same time citations from influential figures often fulfil different argumentative commitments.


2017 - “By partially renouncing their sovereignty...”: on the discourse function(s) of lexical bundles in EU-related Irish judicial discourse [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

It is well known that the creation of such ever-expanding supra-national bodies as the European Union has brought not only speakers but also different and at times heterogeneous legal systems closer together (Maley 1994; Barceló 1997). EU Membership therefore had a strong impact on common-law countries like the Republic of Ireland: from a legal point of view, these yielded to Community law, i.e. a legal system largely influenced by the civil-law tradition, and they had to create a new legal infrastructure to accommodate the influx of vast amounts of EU legislation in economic and social matters (Dimitrakopoulos 2001; Tomkin 2004; Byrne, McCutcheon et al. 2014). In this context, this paper offers a corpus-based perspective to the study of the judicial discourse of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ireland within EU-related judgments. On the basis of a corpus of authentic judgments delivered by the Court between 2001 and 2014 (742,194 words), the study is aimed at implementing and combining computer-assisted quantitative methods with manual qualitative text analysis, in the attempt to discern recurrent phraseological patterns in the Court’s discourse. Drawing on the studies by Biber, Conrad and Cortes (2004), Pecorari (2009) and Breeze (2013) on lexical bundles, the investigation therefore focuses on key instances of phraseology in context. Results interestingly show that terms such as jurisdiction, (national) interest, sovereignty and Constitution (mainly collocating with compatible with) may be observed to be particularly prominent in the frequency lists generated for the corpus. By means of a concordance-based study (Sinclair 2003; Morley and Partington 2009), these terms and the related clusters can be taken into account to answer the question of how the Court’s argumentative discourse deals with the fuzzy notion of national jurisdiction and/or interest in the context of an enlarged EU, where national and EU legislation may well overlap or compete with each other on a variety of legal subjects.


2016 - Arguing in the Healthcare: On the Discourse of Web-Based Communication to Patients [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

A growing body of research has recently been devoted to argumentative discourse in healthcare settings. Within this framework, this study carries out a corpus-based investigation on web-based resources employed in Ireland to communicate to the public about cancer. The qualitative and quantitative evidence of the investigation establishes a correlation between the deployment of argument forms, phraseological tools and the sections in which argumentative discourse is most likely to cluster.


2016 - The theoretical background and practical implications of argumentation in Ireland [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

While the association between the words “Ireland” and “argumentation” may not necessarily look so straightforward, it is the purpose of this book to show that they are in fact closely connected. In particular, the volume offers a linguistic perspective to suggest that the study of reasoned argument is likely to have a wide range of potential applications in the context of Irish public discourse. Taking two of the classic, favourite subjects of inquiry of contemporary argumentation theory, the volume addresses the issue of the construction of argumentation in the judiciary and in the politics of the Irish Republic. On the basis of three illustrative case studies, the research fields the following general questions: (1) what methods can be used to identify any distinctive aspect of the language at work in public settings where argumentation is the expected form of interaction?; (2) how can such methods lead to an integrated approach to the study of argumentative language in Irish public discourse, in the interest of field scholars and practitioners alike?


2016 - “It is natural for you to be afraid…”: On the discourse of web-based communication with patients [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Over the last twenty years, medical discourse has attracted a great deal of scholarly research. Language in healthcare settings has been more generally analysed through genres – whether in terms of expert-to-expert or expert-to-lay communication – whereas more specific aspects include the study of discourse strategies behind the expression of empathy, problems of media representation of healthcare issues, and the role played by cultural variables in healthcare contexts. While substantial research exists on medical discourse and the transmission of medical knowledge, a number of works still tend to focus on accuracy and comprehensiveness of content rather than on the linguistic analysis of communication strategies. In light of that, the aim of this work is to substantiate the findings in the literature published so far by bringing a genuinely discoursebased perspective to bear on them. To achieve this goal, a corpus investigation was carried out of web-based resources employed by a leading nationwide organisation to communicate to the public about cancer. The study focuses on the discourse functions of frequently occurring phraseology, in the attempt to address the following questions: (a) Are there any recurrent discourse patterns that tend to be reiterated across the sections of informative healthcare materials? (b) How are patients’ needs addressed through the language of such materials? (c) More generally, how can findings be interpreted with a view to both their relevance to the context under analysis and their possible application in the language-learning classroom?


2015 - Discourse In and Through the Media. Recontextualizing and Reconceptualizing Expert Discourse [Curatela]
Bondi, Marina; Cacchiani, Silvia; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This book stems from the 2013 CLAVIER Conference held in Modena in November 2013 and includes a selection of the papers presented on that occasion. As the title suggests, the aim of the conference was to stimulate the debate on a variety of aspects related to the representation of specialized discourse in and through the media, e.g. voice and point of view, argumentative practices, knowledge construction, multimodality, re-contextualization and re-conceptualization of knowledge, and peer-to-peer communication within genres aimed at knowledge dissemination and popularization. The conference was therefore intended to encourage cross-generic and cross-disciplinary investigations, in an attempt to advocate integrated approaches to the study of media discourse with a view to both theoretical background and practical applications. Recontextualizing and reconceptualizing expert discourse has become increasingly important in modern society. Yet although Knowledge Dissemination (KD) is now receiving increasing attention, the discursive strategies and the pragmatics of KD in and through the media have yet to receive serious consideration. Knowledge dissemination can be seen as a form of ‘asymmetric’ communication between experts and lay-people, or ‘mediation’ of knowledge and intercultural and ‘inter-discourse communication’ (Scollon & Scollon 1995) between members of different cultures, discourse communities and communities of practice. This amounts to re-contextualization (Calsamiglia & Van Dijk 2004) and inclusion of types of ‘intralinguistic’ translations, whereby simplification, explicitation, reformulation (Mauranen 2006), reconceptualization of terms in the subject field ‘translate’ exclusive expertise into ‘comprehensible’ knowledge, suitable to the background of the addressee. In this connection, knowledge dissemination (Engberg 2014: knowledge mediation) is seen as a three-fold intra-linguistic and cross-cultural process that combines representation, construction and communication of knowledge intended for specific addressees (Kastberg 2010; Ditlevsen 2011). The volume is intended to encourage cross-generic and cross-disciplinary investigations, in an attempt to advocate integrated approaches to the study of media discourse with a view to both theoretical background and practical applications. Secondly, it aims to foster debate on a variety of aspects related to the representation of specialized discourse in and through the media, e.g. voice and point of view, argumentative practices, knowledge construction, multimodality, re-contextualization and re-conceptualization of knowledge (hence, knowledge transmission), opinion formation and peer-to-peer communication within web genres aimed at knowledge dissemination and popularization in and through traditional, digital and social media. Taken together, the contributions to the volume provide extensive exemplification of the type of research that is currently conducted on these issues. The variety of the questions posed and the wide array of methods used in the chapters are therefore intended to make a substantial contribution to sharpen existing knowledge and further the ongoing debate among scholars in the field. TABLE OF CONTENTS Marina Bondi: Preface Marina Bondi, Silvia Cacchiani & Davide Mazzi: Discourse in and through the media. Recontextualizing and reconceptualizing expert knowledge I – NEW MEDIA AND NEW MULTIMODAL ENVIRONMENTS FOR KNOWLEDGE DISSEMINATION 1. Cornelius Puschmann: A digital mob in the ivory tower? Context collapse in scholarly communication online 2. Jan Engberg & Carmen Daniela Maier: Exploring the hypermodal communication of academic knowledge beyond generic structure II – DISSEMINATING SCHOLARLY KNOWLEDGE 3. Susan Hunston: Talking science: Science in the news on BBC radio 4. Elsa Pic & Grégory Furmaniak: Comparison as a mode of re-conceptualization in popularization: Focus on expressions of si


2015 - Discourse In and Through the media: Recontextualizing and reconceptualizing expert discourse [Capitolo/Saggio]
Bondi, Marina; Cacchiani, Silvia; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Recontextualizing and reconceptualizing expert discourse has become increasingly important in modern society. Yet although Knowledge Dissemination (KD) is now receiving increasing attention, the discursive strategies and the pragmatics of KD in and through the media have yet to receive serious consideration. Knowledge dissemination can be seen as a form of ‘asymmetric’ communication between experts and lay-people, or ‘mediation’ of knowledge and intercultural and ‘inter-discourse communication’ (Scollon & Scollon 1995) between members of different cultures, discourse communities and communities of practice. This amounts to re-contextualization (Calsamiglia & Van Dijk 2004) and inclusion of types of ‘intralinguistic’ translations, whereby simplification, explicitation, reformulation (Mauranen 2006), reconceptualization of terms in the subject field ‘translate’ exclusive expertise into ‘comprehensible’ knowledge, suitable to the background of the addressee. In this connection, knowledge dissemination (Engberg 2014: knowledge mediation) is seen as a three-fold intra-linguistic and cross-cultural process that combines representation, construction and communication of knowledge intended for specific addressees (Kastberg 2010; Ditlevsen 2011). The main point of this chapter is to consider and discuss research on the recontextualization and reconceptualization of knowledge in and through the media, across genres and knowledge domains. Second, it gives an overview of the chapters included in the volume, thus addressing the tensions embedded in internal and external scholarly communication, KD in corporate communication and from institutions to lay audience, and audience empowerment in traditional and new media. The main emphasis lies on cross-generic and cross-disciplinary investigations, in an attempt to advocate integrated approaches to the study of media discourse with a view to both theoretical background and practical applications, and to foster debate on a variety of aspects related to the representation of specialized discourse in and through the media, e.g. voice and point of view, argumentative practices, knowledge construction, multimodality, re-contextualization and re-conceptualization of knowledge (hence, knowledge transmission), opinion formation and peer-to-peer communication within web genres aimed at knowledge dissemination and popularization in and through traditional, digital and social media.


2015 - Semantic Sequences and the Pragmatics of Medical Research Article Writing [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

In today’s medical profession, there is increasing recognition that doctors should develop clinical as well as research-oriented skills. In this respect, the medical discourse community demands that they become ever more active members of the discipline in both doing and writing about the research they undertake. This may request that doctors acquire sound knowledge of the relationship between the discourse structures of the discipline and its underlying epistemology. It is within such an educational setting that specialised corpora deserve to be acknowledged as a source of significant insights to socialise medical students along with practitioners into the distinctive communicative practices of scientific communities. The aim of this study is to focus on semantic sequences, defined by Hunston (2008: 271) as “recurring sequences of words or phrases […] more usefully characterized as sequences of meaning elements rather than as formal sequences”. Sequences are analysed here as a clue to the main aspects related to the presentation and discussion of research findings in specialised journals. In particular, they were studied on the basis of a corpus of authentic research articles, the genre with the lion’s share in specialised medico-scientific knowledge dissemination.


2015 - “It must be obvious that this line of argument is utterly inconsistent…”: on attitudinal qualification in English judicial discourse across legal systems [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The question of how speakers or writers qualify their contribution to the communicative events they take part in has attracted applied linguists for over a decade. Thus, Biber et al. (1999) use the term ‘stance’ as a cover term for the expression of personal feelings and assessments, which they investigate across registers, i.e. conversation, academic prose and the news. In addition, Conrad & Biber (2000) focus on the different ways in which speakers and writers use adverbials to mark different types of stance: of these, epistemic stance as the formulation of the speaker/writer’s view on the certainty, reliability or limitations of a proposition, has been widely studied in academic discourse (Hyland 1998 and 2005a). In this context, epistemic stance has often been related to the widespread use of tools such as hedges and boosters, which respectively express the speaker/writer’s tentative or strong commitment to their own propositions. This paper draws on this body of research, in order to undertake a comparative study of hedges and boosters in another area of specialized discourse, notably legal discourse as instantiated in the genre of judgments. The study is based on two synchronic comparable corpora: the first one includes judgments issued by the Supreme Court of Ireland, whereas the second features judicial texts by the Court of Justice of the European Union. As such, the investigation draws on data from two legal systems which differ in their use of English (official language v. lingua franca). The paper present the results of a qualitative and quantitative investigation of hedges and boosters retrieved through corpus linguistics tools (Ädel & Reppen 2008; Scott 2009). The data shed light on distinctive contexts where Irish and EU judges appear driven by the need to intensify their discourse in various ways: for instance, Irish judges are observed to use the adverbial clearly for the purpose of stressing what they see as the preferred interpretation of the law. Accordingly, the findings establish a correlation between the context-specific use of the observed resources and heterogeneous legal cultures where intensification is used.


2014 - Preface [Space, place and the discursive construction of identity] [Prefazione o Postfazione]
Julia, Bamford; Poppi, Franca; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This book stems from a conference held in Naples in June 2012 and includes a selection of the papers presented on that occasion. As the title suggests, the authors of the various chapters investigate the relationships between how space and place are described and how these contribute to the construction of identity or rather how the interplay between language, spatial practices, dimensions of culture, the discursive construction of place and identity is achieved.


2014 - THE WORDS OF HISTORY - Phraseology as a key to historical argument [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Over the last twenty years, the interest in the disciplinary practices of history has been documented by a wide array of works. However, in spite of the inspiring nature of these rich accounts, only tangentially have scholars become interested in the inherently textual dimension of historical argumentation. In an attempt to bridge some of the gaps left by existing research, this paper calls for phraseology as a suitable candidate for the study of the argumentative peculiarities of historical prose. The qualitative and quantitative study of recurrent phraseology in a synchronic corpus of research articles from a set of specialised journals provides evidence that historians appear to be keenly observant of the practice of speculating about their own job in terms of either a successful quest for research answers or its potential dead ends. Moreover, data show that historians position themselves as disciplinary experts at a variety of levels, as they attempt to establish their credentials in the eyes of their intended readership: first, when they compare sources and thereby carve out a niche of expertise from their interpretation of them; secondly, when they proceed to singling out what they see as a key-moment in the historical processes under investigation; and finally, in the act of shaping their discourse from the viewpoint of an omniscient narrator.


2014 - “Head home via the wine store next door…”: Knowledge of Place and Other Representation in American and Italian News Articles [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The discourse of professional journalists has been the object of several scholarly studies which dealt with its rhetorical specificity from the most diverse perspectives, from critical linguistics and critical discourse analysis (Fowler 1991; Fairclough 1995) to genre studies (Mansfield 2006) and the practitioner’s viewpoint at large (Cotter 2010). As far as the present study is concerned, corpus and discourseanalytic perspectives (Ädel and Reppen 2008; Charles et al. 2009) were combined with the aim of investigating the discursive resources employed by quality newspapers from Italy and the United States of America in the representation of each other’s country through the places chosen as the preferred observation points of the other.


2014 - “Our reading would lead to…”: Corpus Perspectives on Pragmatic Argumentation in US Supreme Court Judgments [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

In the study of argument forms, causal argumentation has received much critical attention. A field where pragmatic argumentation has also recently grown fairly popular is represented by judicial settings, where “judges often defend a decision by referring to the consequences of application of a particular legal rule in the concrete case” (Feteris 2002:349). By drawing on such concrete body of evidence, this paper aims at undertaking an exploratory study of the discursive indicators of pragmatic argumentation in a synchronic corpus of judgments by the Supreme Court of the United States of America. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court or court of last resort in the U.S. legal system, and it has gained in power and prestige over the last few decades as a result of the landmark decisions it took in the fields of Federal regulation of many new areas of constitutional law, and the increased protection of civil liberties (see Miglioli 1995). Among the reasons that make the Court’s discourse well suited for an investigation of pragmatic argumentation, a convincing one appears to be its frequent recourse to arguments from substantive reasons: invoking moral, political, economic, or other similar considerations to motivate the (un)desirability of a decision is postulated to be a practice that “commonly occurs in Supreme Court opinions” (Summers 1991:418). The purpose of the paper is therefore to determine the frequency and describe the use of the discursive indicators of pragmatic argumentation retrieved in the reference corpus. As such, the investigation will largely draw on the detailed inventory of indicators compiled by Van Eemeren et al. (2007): the items found to be attested in the corpus were studied in context, thus highlighting that the use of corpora may represent a valuable source of insights about the tools through which pragmatic argumentation takes concrete textual shape in the specialized language of the law exemplified by judgments.


2014 - “The words are plain and clear…”: on interpersonal positioning in the discourse of judicial interpretation [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Over the last twenty years, interpersonality has been profitably investigated in such areas as academic and scientific genres (cf. Barton 1995 on metadiscourse; Hirvela and Belcher 2001 on voice and identity). However, the full potential of the study of interpersonality in legal settings remains to be fully explored: in an attempt to contribute to filling this gap, this chapter focuses on the issue of interpersonal positioning (Ivanič and Camps 2001) in a key-genre of legal discourse, i.e. judgments. Accordingly, the research analyses the discourse of judges as they construct their profile as adjudicating professionals in terms of their relative authoritativeness or tentativeness, and in terms of the relationship with their intended readers. In particular, the analysis will concentrate on the strategies chosen by judges when the controversy centres on the disputed interpretation of a term, phrase or passage of relevant legislation. This is a crucial moment of judicial decision-making, especially when the issues at stake are of paramount importance from a broader political or economic point of view: in the EU context, that seems the case of agriculture, a highly controversial subject-matter in which European institutions and Member States have been confronting each other for a few decades now. On the basis of two synchronic corpora of recent judgments by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the Supreme Court of Ireland on agricultural policies, the study combines a text and corpus-based (Gabrielatos et al. 2012; Scott 2008) analysis for the purpose of a qualitative and quantitative comparative study of the tools through which the discourse of EU and Irish judges tackles the issue of controversial passages of legislation. The investigation begins with the manual study of a sample of corpus texts identified as resting primarily on the interpretive problems mentioned above, and it then extends the examination to the full corpus by way of a computer-assisted analysis of terns such as word, phrase, sentence, reading, interpretation, and meaning. Findings provide valuable insights on the judges’ effort to seek a reasonable compromise between strictly professional parameters of legal interpretation – i.e. when the definition of a disputed term is contextualised within a broad outline of general judicial principles - and the civic duty to make the lay reader too apprehend the meanings highlighted by the judge as precisely as possible (Gowers 1962).


2013 - "If it be the case that the appellants are under such an obligation...": a comparative study of conditionals in English legal discourse [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Legal communication is an area where English has increasingly been employed by both native and non-native speakers. In an attempt to carry out a comparative study, the aim of this paper is to focus on language variation in the genre of judgments. For this purpose, a key feature of judicial texts, namely conditionality, was studied. On the basis of a collection of recent EU and Irish judgments, a large sample of conditional subordinators was analysed. Data showed that conditional clauses mainly express what Quirk et al. (1985) call direct open conditions. More specifically, there is evidence that conditionals occur in four outstanding contexts: the expression of obligations; the formulation of conditions under which permissions are granted; the laying down of prohibitions; and the expression of the judge’s recommendations. Finally, an important role is also played by the second category of direct condition identified by Quirk at al. (1985), i.e. hypothetical conditions. Taken together, data appear to suggest that language-relevant findings are indicative of interesting differences also to be read in terms of underlying legal culture.


2012 - 'Such a reaction would spread all over the cell like a forest fire': A Corpus Study of Argument by Analogy in Scientific Discourse [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

In the context of recent research on academic discourse, argumentation has often been pointed out as a central cross-disciplinary dimension of research articles, where the rhetorically convincing presentation of findings plays a crucial role in the transformation of empirical data into widely accepted scientific facts. In an attempt to provide a contribution to the integration of argumentation studies with corpus linguistics, this chapter discusses the use of discursive resources behind a widespread form of argument such as analogy. In light of this, the primary aim of the paper is to integrate Van Eemeren et al.’s (2007) rich account with a more systematic study of linguistic resources activating analogical reasoning. Analogy was identified as a means to reinforce the writer’s argument by overcoming the potentially exceeding fragmentation of specific findings presented in Results sections. From this viewpoint, analogy can be seen as a strategy designed to counterbalance the rhetorical effort to incorporate as much information as possible into research papers: as a matter of fact, analogy makes sure that proper links are established between data, however specific and detailed their display may be. In addition, the study of argumentative indicators of analogy in Discussion sections has shown that this argument form is a useful tool assisting the writer in the consolidation of the research space occupied by the paper, most of all by laying strong emphasis on the news value of the study in comparison with relevant research.


2012 - Analogy in history. A corpus-based study [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Over the last few years, there has been a remarkable spate of interest for history. Thus, this academic discipline has been tackled for the captivating co-presence of argumentative components in professional historians' scientific prose. However, in spite of the inspiring nature of available studies, only tangentially have scholars examined the inherently textual dimension of historicla argumentation. The aim of this paper is thus to bring insights into the linguistic construction of argumentation in historicla text, by choosing argument by analogy as a case in point. By combining quantitative with qualitative methods, findings from a corpus of authentic historical research articles show that analogy is a chiefly interactive device, which combines with a set of discursive tools securing a fruitful relationship between writers and readers in the development of historical narrative and argument.


2012 - Space, Place and the Discursive Construction of Identity [Curatela]
J., Bamford; Poppi, Franca; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This book stems from a conference held in Naples in June 2012 and includes a selection of the papers presented on that occasion. As the title suggests the authors of the various chapters are concerned here to tease out the relationships between how space and place are described and how these contribute to the construction of identity or rather how the interplay between language, spatial practices, dimensions of culture, the discursive construction of place and identity is achieved.


2012 - The 'other’s' gaze: the discursive construction of journalists’ profes-sional identity across Italy and the US [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The book combines the tools of corpus linguistics and discourse analysis in the attempt to investigate the discursive construction of professional identity on the part of journalists from Italy and the United States of America. More specifically, the ultimate objective of the study is to examine the discursive resources enabling journalists to construct their professional persona as experts exerting their authority in a community of practice, while they gaze at the ‘other’. In this case, this ‘other’ is represented on the one hand by Italy in the gaze of the United States of America, and on the other hand by the US from Italy’s lookout point. The analysis thus focuses on news articles from quality papers from Italy and the United States where each other’s country is represented. With this primary aim in mind, the volume is intended to address the following leading questions: i. How is the ‘other’ (Italy in the US and the US in Italy) represented? ii. How do journalists use language in order to craft their professional identity as they observe the ‘other’? iii. How is this operation subtly encoded in the language of texts traditionally credited with a balanced recount of facts, i.e. news articles?The volume offers linguistically-grounded insights about the professional ethos of journalists from both sides of the Atlantic as they use language in looking at each other: for instance, the study of verbal tools and nominalisations in context reveals that American and Italian journalists tend to converge towards a range of well-established resources to encode their professional identity into discourse, even if they project distinctive images of themselves because they appear committed to divergent views of political credibility (as for American journalists), and sticking to consolidated expectations about the ‘other’ (as with Italian news articles). In addition, the analysis is extended to other key-features informing the discursive practices reflected by collected news articles, namely stance adverbials and other evaluative markers, and the role of headlines as a strategic component of the writer’s strategy of ‘other’-representation. Finally, the book discusses the findings by highlighting the striking elements of continuity in the data: the cline from markers of authorial distance from the reported news items, to the gradually neater emergence of the writer’s willingness to step into text, thus narrowing the purported gap between news articles and editorials.


2012 - ‘Consequently, the National Authorities are Reasonably Entitled…’: Adverbials as a Clue to the Argumentative Peculiarities of Judicial Discourse [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The paper intends to carry out a corpus-based analysis of adverbials in judicial discourse. In particular, by comparing three small corpora of judgments from three courts, the paper shows that adverbials act as useful tools in unpacking the peculiarities of judicial argumentative discourse, e.g. the pursuit of precision and the exercise of discretion.


2011 - 'Palmerston bustles around with the foreign policy of this powerful nation, like a furious and old drunkard…’: on the Discursive Formulation of Argument by Analogy in History [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Over the last few decades, there has been a remarkable spate of interest for the discipline of history. On the one hand, scholars have focussed on some crucial epistemological and methodological underpinnings of this academic field. Thus, Koselleck (1986) describes historians’ task by means of Comenius’s image of abackward-oriented vision through a spyglass on a shoulder: however accurate their search for truth, their views are bound to be constrained by the multiple perspectives the spyglass may offer. For this reason, history is often interpreted as a research territory in which the empirical ratio of documentary evidence is intertwined with the analyst’s own effort to construct a convincing representation of past events (Tosh 1989; Lozano 1991).This paper draws on applied linguistics studies on academic discourse (cf. Hyland and Bondi 2006), and it therefore combines the tools of corpus linguistics (Hunston 2002) and discourse analysis (Brown and Yule 1983; Bhatia 2004; Swales 2004) in an investigation of the broader discursive mechanisms activated by the occurrence of argumentation by analogy in a large sample of authentic history prose.


2011 - Phraseology as a tool for the discursive construction of knowledge in scientific language [Relazione in Atti di Convegno]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The present paper is intended to carry out a corpus-based study of scientific discourse, by centring on phraseology as a key-tool for the discursive construction and circulation of disciplinary knowledge. The phraseological tendency of words to go together in order to create meaning is seen by Sinclair (1996) as a prominent aspect in the organisation of discourse, and it is examined here within the homogenous specialised context of research articles. The identification and corpus study of frequent 3- and 4-word clusters suggests that phraseology deserves to be considered as a discourse feature around which the realisation of a number of crucial textual functions appears to revolve. In this regard, evidence shows that phraseology is closely knit with the expression of the spatio/temporal dimension inherent in the observation of natural phenomena, the assessment of causal relationships as well as patient/animal response to controlled experiments, the formulation of authorial evaluation and overall textual organisation.


2011 - The 'other's' gaze: a corpus study of discursive practices in American and Italian newspapers [Abstract in Atti di Convegno]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The aim of this paper is to study a range of widely spread linguistic means through which quality papers from Italy and the United States of America represent each other’s country, namely headlines (Mansfield 2006) and stance adverbials (Conrad and Biber 2000), in an attempt to identify the discursive resources enabling journalists to construct their professional “persona” while gazing at the ‘other’. The study is based on two synchronic comparable small corpora amounting to 150,021 words altogether. On the one hand, the so-called USpress, including 115 articles from both The Washington Post (WP) and The New York Times (NYT) about Italy; on the other hand, the Itpress, featuring 118 articles from Il Corriere della Sera (CS) and La Repubblica (Rep) about the Unites States. The two corpora cover a time span ranging from the previous six weeks – as of corpus design, i.e. October-November 2010 – to the previous year. Moreover, only title and running text of articles were collected for each text.On a methodological note, the study was characterized by two main stages. The first one lay in the manual study of headlines as the tool employed by journalists to set the scene for their narrative, with the aim of focusing on recurrent pragmatic features and the overall prevalence of either a denotative or a connotative component making the writer’s orientation explicit. In the second stage of the analysis, stance adverbials were investigated both quantitatively by means of computer-assisted tools, and qualitatively, with particular emphasis on their textual functions (e.g. hedging and boosting) as interpersonal attitude markers through which journalists negotiate the transmission of news they foreground as salient. For example, findings show that the key-distinction between denotative and connotative ones proved worth investigating, in that it shows how headlines may reveal much about authorial positioning in writing practices across newspapers. Denotative headlines are by far the most widely spread, because they represent 66.6 % of those in the WP, 64.8% of those of the CS, and 59.3% of the total headlines in Rep; on the contrary, connotative headlines are prominently attested in the NYT (59.3%).


2011 - “In other words, …”: a corpus-based study of reformulation in judicial discourse [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The language of the law has been a favourite subject of investigation for both legal professionals and linguists for more than a decade now. Linguists, for instance, have paid increasing attention to the interplay of precise and flexible terms in legal drafting, and language variation across the genres of legal discourse. Among the latter, judgments have been discussed as a case in point by argumentation scholars, although the linguistic components of judicial argumentative discourse have often been overlooked. In the light of this, the aim of this paper is to carry out a corpus-based analysis of the open-ended category of reformulation markers as outstanding discursive items of judicial discourse in two comparable corpora of authentic judgments issued by two different courts of last resort, namely the Court of Justice of the European Communities and Ireland’s Supreme Court. By combining a qualitative with a quantitative analysis, the study shows that reformulation markers tend to activate a variety of discursive configurations across the two courts. Hence, data reveal that reformulation strengthens the quality of both judicial narrative, as it were – as is clear from its deployment in clarifying the normative background and specifying the factual framework of disputes – and at once judicial argument, when judges characterise, refine or grade reported arguments/interpretations or they wish to make their reasoning more solid and convincing.


2010 - 'This Argument Fails for Two Reasons…': A Linguistic Analysis of Judicial Evaluation Strategies in US Supreme Court Judgments [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The centrality of argumentation in the judicial process is an age-old acquisition of research on legal discourse. Notwithstanding the deep insights provided by legal theoretical and philosophical works, only recently has judicial argumentation been tackled in its linguistic dimension. This paper aims to contribute to the development of linguistic studies of judicial argumentation, by shedding light on evaluation as a prominent aspect in the construction of the judge’s argumentative position. Evaluation as a deep structure of judicial argumentation is studied from a discursive point of view entailing the analysis of a sample of authentic judicial language. Evaluative lexis is investigated within a single genre of judicial discourse, i.e. judgments, instantiated by a corpus of US Supreme Court judgments. Findings show that judges use diversified strategies to take stance as they organise their argumentative discourse: from easily recognisable verbal and adjectival tools to more finely-grained discourse elements such as the encapsulating pattern ‘this/these/that/those + labelling noun’.


2010 - 'What is particularly significant for the purpose of this paper is that...': a Cross-disciplinary Study of Lexical and Phraseological TYools for Claiming Significance in Academic Discourse [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The paper sets out to compare writing practices from two academic disciplines - history and economics - in order to find out the most frequent lexical and phraseological tools employed by the respective discourse communities in order to claim significance. Corpus data show that historians and economists make a different use of linguistic resources at their disposal in order to stress the centrality of their research with regard to the wider disciplinary debate.


2010 - Giornata Europea delle Lingue "Diritto, Linguaggio, Cultura" [Altro]
Cacchiani, Silvia; Fiorani, Flavio Angelo; Mazzi, Davide; Preite, Chiara; Robustelli, Cecilia
abstract

L'incontro mira a analizzare il linguaggio giuridico in un'ottica interdisciplinare nella quale si combinano le diverse prospettive di traduttologi, analisti del discorso e giuristi. La giornata comprende il III Workshop Modena-Lexi-Term, che pone l'attenzione sulla dimensione sociocognitiva e testuale del lessico specialistico. http://www.sltt.unimore.it/site/home/attivita/convegni-e-seminari/articolo63008469.html


2010 - The Centrality of Counterfactual Conditionals in House of Lords and US Supreme Courts Judgments [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The paper is intended to test Nivelle and Van Belle's (2007) view on the causal function of counterfactual conditionals in legal discourse. It therefore extends their notion of counterfactuality to a larger corpus-based study of countefactuals, in which two courts - US Supreme Courts and House of Lords - are compared. Results demonstrate that counterfactual conditionals are a widespread resource through which judges construct their argumentation in both analysed courts.


2010 - “History v. Marketing. Keywords as a Clue to Disciplinary Epistemology” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide; Malavasi, Donatella
abstract

The paper explores the usefulness of the notion of keywords as a clue to disciplinary epistemology. It compares two related corpora of research articles from the disciplines of history and marketing, in order to shed light on the link between keywords and related disciplinary practices and values


2009 - 'His explanation would be discreditable if true; but I am satisfied that it is a lie': Discursive Strategies of Self-projection in Equity Judgments [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore the most pervasive discursive strategies of self-projection characterising judgments delivered by the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. By comparing this court, which traditionally deals with issues of equity (James 1989), with House of Lords judgments, it is apparent that Chancery Division judges typically make use of phraseological clusters (e.g. I am satisfied that…, I do not accept… and I find that…) in order to foreground their argumentative voice. The quantitative and qualitative study presented in the paper will shed light on the textual usage of those clusters, which act at three main levels: evaluation, dialogism, and the formulation of judicial interpretation at large.


2009 - “Writing history: argument, narrative and point of view” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Bondi, Marina; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This paper is part of a wider study on cross-disciplinary language variation in the humanities and social sciences. By relying on a 2.5-million-word corpus, the paper explores the specific interplay of narrative and argument in historical discourse, with a view to the implications for the analysis of point of view. First of all, shifting points of view in the language and structure of historical research articles are analysed in a textual pragmatic perspective, by showing the implications of adopting different temporal perspectives and disciplinary positions to look at historical events. Secondly, moving on to an overview of recurrent phraseological elements in the corpus, we carry out a functional analysis of the most frequent element, i.e. the point-of-view shifter at the same time, showing that it opens a descriptive perspective in narrative and a dialogic perspective in argument. The conclusions emphasise the textual and discoursal functions of point-of-view shifters.


2008 - "The words of equity: an analysis of a corpus of judgments" [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide; Bondi, Marina
abstract

The paper focusses on the discursive construction and implementation of the notion of equity in a corpus of equity judgments. By drawing on established tools of corpus linguistics, the analysis sheds light on the use of a set of peculiar lexico-grammatical devices from both a quantitative and a qualitative point of view.


2008 - "’In this article we focus on…’: metadiscourse across disciplines" [Capitolo/Saggio]
Bondi, Marina; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The paper moves from a broad notion of metadiscourse, focusing on ‘locational metatext’ comprising “linguistic elements that refer to the text itself or parts of it” (Dahl 2004: 1811), and “rhetorical metatext” (Dahl 2004: 1812), whereby the writer interacts with the reader by making explicit the rhetorical acts he performs in the argumentative process. The aim of the paper is to explore the frequency and use of metadiscursive patterns involving these elements in English research article openings, by comparing two soft-science disciplines, i.e. economics and history. More specifically, data are examined through corpus linguistics tools, in order to focus on disciplinary similarities and differences in terms of common metadiscourse functions. Furthermore, more distinctive aspects are investigated bearing on authorial presence in the organisation of discourse towards both its content and the readership right from the beginning of research articles. Finally, the overall epistemological configurations revealed by collocational and phraseological patterns are evaluated.


2008 - 'These data emphasize a role for Treg cells, but do not eliminate the possibility that…': a Textual Study of Connectives in Scientific Discourse”. [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

By relying on a corpus of scientific research articles, the paper aims at providing a descriptive account of the use of connectives as a key to scientific argumentative discourse. Collcational patterns of selected elements show that connectives may be seen as pivotal elements marking the turning points of the writer's argument.


2008 - “Adverbial Marking of Stance and ‘Disciplinary Culture’ in Academic Research Articles” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide; Bondi, Marina
abstract

The paper is intended to investigate cross-disciplinary variation in academic discourse. On the basis of two comparable corpora of research articles from history and economics, it carries out a concordance-based analysis of adverbials of stance. Findings show that stance adverbials are capable of reflecting deeply-rooted disciplinary practices in both research areas under analysis.


2008 - “I first have to decide whether there were any notes in the first place. I consider that there probably were”: Adverbials of Stance in Equity Judges’ Argumentation [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This paper intends to expand on this research, by shedding light on a widely spread textual device revealed by Chancery Division judgments, i.e. adverbials of stance, i.e. those “commenting on the content or style of a clause or a particular part of a clause” (Biber et al. 1999: 853). Key-adverbials (Scott 1998) obtained by comparing the selected judgments with House of Lords judgments will thus be the object of a qualitative study aimed at investigating their capability of acting as signals of the dialogic argumentative structures underlying judicial discourse. In particular, data will provide evidence that adverbials of stance are effective clues that contribute to the interactive and at once evaluative dimension (Hunston and Thompson 2000) characterising Chancery judgments.


2008 - “It can be assumed that, if our conceptual model is valid, then…”: The Construction of Multiple Identities in Economics vs. Marketing [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide; Malavasi, Donatella
abstract

The paper compares the disciplines of marketing and economics, by using keywords as indicators of identity at three main levels: professional, academic and disciplinary. The corpus-based analysis of keywords how scholars from the two disciplines craft their niche of expertise and identity, showing, for instance, the empirical drive of marketing as opposed to the hypothetical nature of economics


2008 - “La Sentenza Come Genere Argomentativo: una Riflessione Linguistica” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

Il saggio si propone di mettere in luce gli strumenti linguistici più diffusi del dialogismo come tratto costitutiovo del discorso argomentativo dei giudici. Sulla base di tre corpora confrontabili di sentenze redatte in lingua inglese, i dati evidenziano i vari livelli ai quali le voci che si mescolano a quella del giudice nella costruzione dei propri dispositivi argomentativi.


2008 - “Per concludere veramente: Signalling conclusions in historical research articles in Italian and in English” [Articolo su rivista]
Bondi, Marina; Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The paper focusses on the most widely spread linguistic elements through which historians mark their shift to concluding remarks in historical research articles in Italian and English. Data do not only reveal that different signals are used across the two disciplines, but they also illustrate that their choice underlies broader epistemological stances, i.e. a more or less dialogic way of positioning research contributions


2007 - The Construction of Argumentation in Judicial Texts: Combining a Genre and a Corpus Perspective [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This paper aims at reinforcing the linguistic component of the analysis of legal discourse, by carrying out a corpus-based genre analysis on a sample of 40 judgments. First of all, the results of the investigation of the genre structure of judgments will be presented. The comparative approach adopted will show that the differences between European and English / Irish judgments mainly concern the generic move Arguing the case. Secondly, analysis will concentrate in more detail on one of the most frequent tools used in the discursive construction of argumentation within the aforementioned move, i.e. the widely spread reporting verb HOLD. A study of its concordances suggests that it is used in all types of judgments as a meta-argumentative operator signalling either an authoritative stance taken by the Court or an equally authoritative reported argumentation of another judge or court.


2007 - The Linguistic Study of Judicial Argumentation. Theoretical Perspectives, Analytical Insights [Monografia/Trattato scientifico]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The volume intends to contribute to strengthening the linguistic component in the study of judicial argumentation. First of all, it reviews the theoretical approaches at play in the analysis of judicial argumentative discourse (discourse and genre studies; legal discourse; argumentation studies); secondly, it proposes an analytical model suitable for teaching and learning practices focussed on the linguistic articulation of judgments


2007 - “Reporting Verbs: a Tool for a Polyphonic Reading of Judgments” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The aim of the paper is to carry out a corpus-based analysis of reporting verbs in three comparable corpora of judicial texts. The quantitative and qualitative findings show that reporting verbs may be taken as insightful discursive signals revealing the constitutive interplay of voices in the argumentationn of courts


2007 - “The Future in History: Projecting Expectations in Historical Discourse” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide; Bondi, Marina
abstract

The paper aims at exploring the linguistic resources through which historians project futurity in their disciplinary discourse. By using corpus evidence from a collection of specialised research articles, results reveal a complex network of rhetorical strategies behind the use ofphraseology embedding futurity: for instance, the construction of disciplinary authority and credibility


2007 - “The Rhetoric of Judicial Texts: the Interplay of Reported Argumentation and the Judge’s Argumentative Voice” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

The objective of this paper is to bring new insights into the linguistic study of judicial argumentation. Analysis explores the use of the most frequent connectors and metaargumentative expressions in a corpus including judgements from three different courts. Results show that these elements act as kernels in the construction of argumentative discourse on the part of judges


2006 - “‘This is an attractive argument, but…’“: Argumentative Conflicts as an Interpretive Key to the Discourse of Judges” [Capitolo/Saggio]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

By carrying out a comparative analysis of three small corpora of judgments, the paper is aimed at disclosing the relationship between auxiliary argumentative lexis and a variety of strategies for managing judicial dissent across legal systems


2005 - ‘Grounds’ and ‘Reasons’: Argumentative Keywords in Judicial Texts [Articolo su rivista]
Mazzi, Davide
abstract

This paper illustrates the first findings of a research project, which aims at developing tools for a linguistic analysis of judicial argumentation. Whereas most research on the process of legal decision-making considers argumentation from the point of view of legal theory and legal philosophy, emphasis is laid here on the role of language in the construction of argumentation, and in particular on features of auxiliary argumentative lexis such as connectives and meta-argumentative expressions. First of all, the paper will discuss the methodology of the project, which will be carried out on a corpus of 221 judgments (1,646,182 words) issued by three courts. Secondly, it will focus on the use of the meta-argumentative expressions ground and reason from a three-fold perspective: textual function, genre structure and argumentative voice. The results presented by the paper will show that ground and reason act as effective argumentative signals in the judicial text.