Genre and Register Variation: Academic Conference Presentations in Spanish in the United States

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Contribution to Books

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Conference presentations (CPs) are instrumental in the academic sphere, since they provide a space in which academics disseminate their ongoing research, interact with their colleagues, and position themselves in their professional community (Swales 2004; Ventola, Shalom & Thompson 2002; Rowley-Jolivet & Carter-Thomas 2005). Unique to the academic community of Hispanic studies in the United States is the fact that texts can be produced either in English or Spanish, therefore, both languages are promoted as a viable means of academic communication. Additionally, scholars who deliver presentations in Spanish in the United States speak a wide array of Spanish dialects, come from different countries, and have diverse educational backgrounds (Viera Echevarria 2014). Therefore, even though this professional community resembles other Hispanic studies discourse communities in the world, it differentiates itself from them through its active bilingualism and dialectal diversity. In sum, conference presentations in Hispanic studies in the United States are cultural products inserted in a bilingual and multidialectal academic discourse community. Within this diverse community, CPs need to be constructed in a way that are recognized as a particular text type or genre by all members of the community, therefore, governed by similar stylistic, lexico-grammatical, and discursive conventions that result in specific language choices. As a consequence, we can reasonably expect linguistic variation in CPs that are delivered in the context of the United States.