Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Vol 12, No 3 (2015)

The colon title in complementary and alternative medicine articles (1995–2016): Content, context, authorship and rhetorical functions

Beverly A. Lewin, Françoise Salager-Meyer, Marianela Luzardo Briceño
Issued Date: 28 Aug 2019

Abstract


Recent research reveals a growing tendency for busy clinicians to rely on titles only in selecting papers relevant to therapeutic decisions. The implications of this have motivated much scholarship in the study of titles in medical journal articles, but despite expanding interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), titles in this area have received very little attention. This is despite the fact that CAM’s history and present contested status ought to make the evolution of its writing of particular interest to discourse analysts. The present paper considers the role played by the colon in titles for attracting readership, based on a study of three high-impact CAM journals, and analyzing frequency of use, length and authorship patterns, as well as a range of rhetorical and lexical choices. The findings show that, while colon titles reflect local constraints such as publication requirements, thus imposing a degree of uniformity across title styles, the need to capture the attention of an increasingly busy audience encourages idiosyncratic rhetorical and lexical choices.

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DOI: 10.1558/jalpp.34990

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