Rhetorical relations in English and Spanish research articles

An analysis of introductions and conclusions from the perspective of two functional theories


  • Daniel Rodríguez-Vergara National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)




rhetorical relations, research articles, Rhetorical Structure Theory, Systemic Functional Linguistics, register


Research articles have been the object of study of many scholars within the ESP tradition, most notably, since Swales' (1990) studies on academic language. Such studies have focused mainly on ‘moves' and ‘steps', i.e. on the part-whole relations that comprise each of the sections in a research article. However, little is known about the iterative connectivity of sentences and paragraphs that make up the discourse organization of research articles sections. This study uses Rhetorical Structure Theory (Mann and Thompson, 1987) for the analysis of discourse relations in introductions and conclusions of research articles from applied linguistics journals in two languages, English and Spanish. It also uses Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1985) in order to locate introductions and conclusions within a general theory of register. The results showed significant trends across registers and languages that can inform the teaching of writing within the context of academic expository texts.

Author Biography

Daniel Rodríguez-Vergara, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Daniel Rodríguez-Vergara is a professor of linguistics at the Applied Linguistics Department, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His main academic interests have been in the research fields of systemic functional linguistics, discourse analysis, academic writing in L2, and translation studies.


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How to Cite

Rodríguez-Vergara, D. (2019). Rhetorical relations in English and Spanish research articles: An analysis of introductions and conclusions from the perspective of two functional theories. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 13(1-2), 20–46. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.20704