X162 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
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AbstractStance refers to the ways academics annotate their texts to comment on the possible accuracy or creditability of a claim, the extent they want to commit themselves to it, or the attitude they want to convey to an entity, a proposition or the reader. Stance concerns writer-oriented features of interaction which can be presented by four interpersonal categories. These categories are boosters, e.g. ‘clearly’, hedges, e.g. ‘may’, self-mentions, e.g. ‘I’ and attitude markers, e.g. ‘interesting’. A big number of corpus-based studies have been conducted to analyse stance markers in both L1 and L2 writer’s transcripts from the view that texts are independent of specific contexts and outside the personal experiences of authors and audience. This view does not go along with the idea that texts are instances of interaction between the writer and their audience. Therefore, the current study sought to fill this gap in research by adopting a more subjective view through stressing the actions and perceptions of the text writers to better understand them. The aim of this study is to have a more complete picture of the writer-reader interaction by investigating the three elements of interaction: The text, the text writers and the audience. Adopting Hyland’s (2005b) Model of Interaction, a corpus of 80 discussion chapters written by both MA postgraduate Egyptian students (English L2) at Egyptian universities and their British student peers (English L1) at UK universities, were searched both electronically using the Text Inspector tool and manually by two raters to identify more than 200 stance markers in students’ academic scripts. Moreover, the study explored the perceptions of twenty of the text writers’ (both Egyptian and British) about the functions of certain stance markers and the factors that could affect their understanding and use of these linguistic features. Characteristics of successful stance-taking were suggested after interviewing four expert writers. The quantitative results found no statistically significant differences in the total number of stance markers, boosters and self-mentions used by students in the two writer groups, but the L1 corpus contained statistically significant more hedges and attitude markers than the L2 one. Furthermore, the L1 texts included noticeably more types of stance markers than the L2 scripts. vi The discourse-based interviews conducted indicated that both L1 and L2 writers were aware of the functions of stance markers. However, some of the interviewees (both L1 and L2) had narrow or even faulty conceptions of certain stance markers, e.g. possibility versus probability devices and other attitude markers, e.g. ‘important’ and ‘significant’. These features of academic discourse had not been made more conspicuous to them, and this could have affected their employment of these linguistic features. The findings revealed that in addition to the lingua-cultural aspect, writer’s personal linguistic preferences, supervisor’s and other lecturers’ feedback, previous education and instruction, and the writer’s self-confidence were key factors that have played a considerable role in students’ lexical decision-making. For instance, L2 students might have used fewer types of stance markers than L1 students due to their lack of confidence and their reluctance to use certain types of devices that they did not master or practised enough. The study, also, suggested that the higher density of stance markers is not absolutely an indication of a better ability in writing or a feature of a well-written academic text. The epistemological stance of the study and the contextual factors do play a significant role in the quantity and type of the stance markers used.
CitationDarwish, H. (2019) `Writer-Reader Interaction: Writer’s Stance in English L1 and L2`. PhD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of Philosophy.
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