Speaking of thinking. Verbs of thinking in spoken academic English
Andrzej Lyda (University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland) [BIO]
Among various definitions of academic discourse proposed within a number of methodological approaches, there can be found the one by Bartholomae (1986), who refers to academic discourse as 'peculiar ways of knowing, selecting, evaluating, reporting, concluding, and arguing […]' Undoubtedly these processes are at the basis of the search for truth in the academic community and constitute its discourse. Occasionally these ways of 'being an academic" are projected onto the surface of the discourse, i.e., on the level of meta-discourse, through which academics, expert or novice, while performing actions in the sense of Austin (1962), simultaneously report on the (mental) actions.^
The present paper concentrates on one type of such manifestations, namely, a subgroup of a larger class of epistemic verbs, often referred to as "verbs of thinking" (VOT) such as think, conclude, assume etc. The goal of this paper is to analyse how mental processes are reflected in the lexis of academic meta-discourse, or which mental processes and states are most often signaled in the academic discourse. The analysis is performed on the basis of data coming from two sources: MICASE ( Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English) and BASE (British Academic Spoken English Corpus), and due to the composition of the corpora focuses on two types of speech events: seminars and lectures. As will be shown, the use of VOT denoting particular mental states and the frequency of VOT is associated with the context of interaction. It is also believed to be a signpost of the development of socio-cognitive and academic skills.