Intersubjective positioning and thematisation in English and Spanish: a contrastive analysis of letters to the editor

Julia Lavid, Lara Moratón


This paper examines how writers of Letters to the editor exploit thematisation to project themselves into their discourse and to engage their audience in the English and the Spanish discourse communities. Using a bilingual comparable corpus of a total of eighty letters (forty English and forty Spanish) for analysis and a bilingual corpus of fifty newspaper reports and fifty editorials from British and Spanish newspapers for cross-genre comparison, we analyse the distribution of Stance and Engagement expressions in thematic position and the preferred thematic types conflating with these expressions in both languages. The analysis reveals a number of specific preferences in the use of those expressions, which sheds light on the features of Letters to the editor in English and Spanish. It also reveals that despite the broadly similar audience and sources of the three newspaper genres, authors structure their interactions very differently, contributing to their rhetorical distinctiveness.

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