Engaging the Congregation: The Place of Metadiscourse in Contemporary Preaching

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Engaging the Congregation : The Place of Metadiscourse in Contemporary Preaching. / Malmström, Hans.

In: Applied Linguistics, Vol. 37, No. 4, 01.08.2016, p. 561-582.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Engaging the Congregation

T2 - The Place of Metadiscourse in Contemporary Preaching

AU - Malmström, Hans

PY - 2016/8/1

Y1 - 2016/8/1

N2 - Most forms of contemporary preaching elevate the role of the listeners, who are seen as co-constructors of the sermon. This article investigates how preachers may respond to a call from homiletics to 'turn-to-the-listener' through their deployment of metadiscourse, operationalized as a framework for understanding preaching not primarily as gospel proclamation, but as a form of social and communicative engagement. A quantitative analysis of 150 sermons from three well-established English Christian denominations finds that metadiscourse is a prolific feature in preaching, with almost one word in 10 performing a metadiscursive function, most prominently by recourse to interactional metadiscursive resources. A qualitative analysis shows that, across the three denominations, preachers adopt metadiscursive practices that may serve to address expectations in the turn-to-the-listener preaching paradigm. The findings will inform further applied analysis of religious discourse, and will add constructively to discussions within homiletics, not least by suggesting how empirical and applied approaches to language can be of service to homiletics and the teaching of preaching.

AB - Most forms of contemporary preaching elevate the role of the listeners, who are seen as co-constructors of the sermon. This article investigates how preachers may respond to a call from homiletics to 'turn-to-the-listener' through their deployment of metadiscourse, operationalized as a framework for understanding preaching not primarily as gospel proclamation, but as a form of social and communicative engagement. A quantitative analysis of 150 sermons from three well-established English Christian denominations finds that metadiscourse is a prolific feature in preaching, with almost one word in 10 performing a metadiscursive function, most prominently by recourse to interactional metadiscursive resources. A qualitative analysis shows that, across the three denominations, preachers adopt metadiscursive practices that may serve to address expectations in the turn-to-the-listener preaching paradigm. The findings will inform further applied analysis of religious discourse, and will add constructively to discussions within homiletics, not least by suggesting how empirical and applied approaches to language can be of service to homiletics and the teaching of preaching.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85010866424&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/applin/amu052

DO - 10.1093/applin/amu052

M3 - Article

VL - 37

SP - 561

EP - 582

JO - Applied Linguistics

JF - Applied Linguistics

SN - 0142-6001

IS - 4

ER -