Stephen Hawking's Community-Bound Voice A Functional Investigation of Self-Mentions in Stephen Hawking's Scientific Prose

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Maragheh Branch, Islamic Azad University, Maragheh, Iran


Thanks to the development of the concept of metadiscourse, it is now widely acknowledged that academic/scientific writing is not only concerned with communicating purely propositional meanings: what is communicated through academic/scientific communication is seen to be intertwined with the negotiation of social and interpersonal meanings. While a large number of so called metadiscoursal resources contribute to the simultaneous negotiation of propositional and interpersonal meanings, the present study aimed at investigating the functions self-mention forms can fulfill in academic/scientific communication. Two of Stephen Hawking's scientific books were selected as the corpus of the research, and based on Tang and John's (1999) model, the constructed corpus was analyzed in terms of the functions self-mention forms can fulfill in academic/scientific writing. The findings revealed that from among the different roles identified by Tang and John, the representative role constituted the most frequent self-mention function in the corpus. The remarkably heavy presence of representative role in Hawking's scientific prose was interpreted as a further evidence for the claim that scientists are more likely to persuade readers of their ideas if they frame their messages in ways which appeal to appropriate community-recognized relationships.


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