Young Researchers Writing in ESL and the Use of Metadiscourse: Learning the Ropes

Author/s: Vesna Bogdanović, Ivana Mirović

DOI: 10.12738/estp.2018.4.0031 

Year: 2018 Vol: 18 Number: 4

Abstract

Entering the world of academic writing can be a troublesome experience for young researchers, especially for those writing in ESL. In addition to mastering the specific language of their disciplinary community, they also have to adopt an array of metadiscourse features which help them organize their writing and position themselves towards their content and their readers. Research on the use of metadiscourse in academic writing has indicated that ESL writers generally do not use metadiscourse elements to the same extent and in the same way as native English speakers. The paper will focus on the process of developing the awareness of metadiscourse features with young researchers and will attempt to gain an insight into how they adopt and apply these linguistic elements in their writing. It is based on a case study with three young researchers from the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, Serbia, whose research articles will be analyzed in relation to the correct usage of metadiscourse as well as its potential absence, using Hyland’s framework. In the subsequent analysis, a questionnaire and interviews will be used to determine the degree of young authors’ awareness of their use of metadiscourse and their approach to applying it in their writing. The triangulation between the corpus analysis and the questionnaire and interview data will try to address the issues of the reasons for using specific markers, the importance they attach to the use of metadiscourse in relation to the content of the research articles, and the methods of learning them, in order to unfold the correlation of beginnings of academic writing and the use of metadiscourse. It is hoped that the results of the analysis can be applied in teaching academic writing.

Keywords
Metadiscourse, Hyland’s taxonomy, Young researchers, Academic writing, ESL

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