Session 2

Reflexive Metadiscourse in a corpus of Spanish bachelor dissertations in EFL
Noelia Navarro Gil (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Spain)

Metadiscourse is an umbrella term used in discourse analysis to describe a range of linguistic elements that helps readers navigate successfully through a text. For example, ‘our study’, ‘see table 3’, or ‘in other words’ signal 1) authorial presence, 2) an awareness of the reader, and 3) an awareness of the evolving text, respectively. Reader-oriented texts, i.e. those that contain more presence of metadiscursive markers to help readers “organise, classify, interpret, evaluate and react” to the ideas presented in the text (Vande Kopple, 1985:83) are found to be more convincing, comprehensible, and more likely to be remembered. However, English as a foreign language (EFL) Spanish learners often fail to use enough metadiscourse in their writing, ignoring the contribution these elements make to the full understanding of the text. In this paper, we employ a reflexive model of metadiscourse (Ädel 2006, Mauranen 1993) to explore the density and range of metadiscourse markers in a learner corpus of Spanish bachelor dissertations in EFL. Our aim is to identify metadiscourse features examining two variables: discipline (medicine vs linguistics), and writer status (EFL learners vs experts), using a reference corpus of published research articles (RAs) in the same disciplines. We hope the results of this study will contribute to the growing body of corpus-based research on metadiscourse and also provide a systematic basis for analysis of reflexive metadiscourse markers in the RA genre, useful to design pedagogical material on metadiscourse that is discipline-specific and student-centered.

Ädel, A., (2006). Metadiscourse in L1 and L2 English. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
Mauranen, A., (1993). Cultural Differences in Academic Rhetoric: A Textlinguistic Study. Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang.
Vande Kopple, W. J. (1985). Some Exploratory Discourse on Metadiscourse. College Composition & Communication 26: 82-93.