Grammatical Complexity in Academic English

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Title: Grammatical Complexity in Academic English
Subtitle: Linguistic Change in Writing
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Douglas Biber
Author: Bethany Gray

Hardback: ISBN:  9781107009264 Pages:  Price: U.S. $ 110.00
Hardback: ISBN:  9781107009264 Pages:  Price: U.K. £ 69.99


Grammatical Complexity in Academic English uses corpus-based analyses to
challenge a number of dominant stereotypes and assumptions within linguistics.
Biber and Gray tackle the nature of grammatical complexity, demonstrating that
embedded phrasal structures are as important as embedded dependent clauses.
The authors also overturn ingrained assumptions about linguistic change,
showing that grammatical change occurs in writing as well as speech. This work
establishes that academic writing is structurally compressed (rather than
elaborated); that it is often not explicit in the expression of meaning; and
that scientific academic writing has been the locus of some of the most
important grammatical changes in English over the past 200 years (rather than
being conservative and resistant to change). Supported throughout with textual
evidence, this work is essential reading for discourse analysts,
sociolinguists, applied linguists, as well as descriptive linguists and
historical linguists.

1. Academic writing: challenging the stereotypes; 2. Using corpora to analyze
grammatical change; 3. Phrasal versus clausal discourse styles: a synchronic
grammatical description of academic writing contrasted with other registers;
4. The historical evolution of phrasal discourse styles in academic writing;
5. The functional extension of phrasal grammatical features in academic
writing; 6. The loss of explicitness in academic research writing; 7.

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