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Stance and engagement in postgraduate writing: a comparative study of English NS and Arab EFL student writers in Linguistics and Literature

Menkabu, Ahlam (2017) Stance and engagement in postgraduate writing: a comparative study of English NS and Arab EFL student writers in Linguistics and Literature. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This study investigated the ways English native and Arab EFL student writers in a UK university from two disciplines (i.e. Linguistics and Literature) use language in their master’s dissertations to interact with readers. How they present themselves and convey judgements and opinions, and how they connect with readers and establish rapport were examined by the employment of Hyland’s (2005b) model of stance and engagement, which encompasses nine categories: hedges, boosters, attitude markers, self-mentions, reader references, directives, asides, questions, and references to shared knowledge. The primary data used consisted of a corpus of 39 master’s dissertations and discourse-based semi-structured interviews with 15 of the writers. While a corpus analysis helped to reveal which features were overused and which ones were underused, interviews were conducted to discover more about how and why the writer participants used such features in their academic writing. The findings suggest that while it is true that both disciplinary community and cultural background are very likely to have an impact on the way writers position themselves and their readers, there are other factors related to the students’ conceptions of academic writing in general and their audience in particular which appear to have a more vital role in the writers’ use of stance and engagement markers. These include personality differences, stylistic preferences, previous education, and supervisors’ comments and advice. The thesis closes by exploring the implications of this study for both EAP writing pedagogy and dissertation supervision and proposing some new directions for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Ahlam Menkabu
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 15:25
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 15:25
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19115

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