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Involving the reader in the text: engagement markers in native and non-native student argumentative essays

Rasti, Iman (2011) Involving the reader in the text: engagement markers in native and non-native student argumentative essays. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The research explores an aspect of writer-reader interaction in native and non-native speaker student argumentative essays. Based on the assumption that writing is inherently a dialogue between writers and readers, this study looks in detail at key aspects of the ways in which Iranian and British students interact with their readers, bring them into the text, and involve them in the construction of the discourse and the arguments in order to contribute to the interactiveness and persuasiveness of the text. Three linguistic resources – interactant pronouns, questions, and directives – are looked at in a corpus totalling 334 short argumentative essays produced by Iranian EFL writers (at two proficiency levels of high and low and two test versions of Academic and General) and British A-level students. The texts are analyzed using specially devised analytical frameworks and with the help of WordSmith Tools, a corpus analysis software. The results reveal that both language groups use the three linguistic devices for fairly similar purposes, indicating the generic similarities in the writings of both groups of students. The findings, however, show noticeable quantitative differences: the British students use questions more frequently than the Iranian students, whereas the Iranian students use interactant pronouns and directives considerably more frequently than the British students. The quantitative differences seem to be related to distinct cultural conventions as well as the Iranians’ overall lower proficiency level. Within the Iranian sub-corpora, Iranian high-scoring and Iranian Academic students use the three interactive resources more frequently than their low-scoring and General counterparts. The pedagogical implications of the study for novice EFL writers are outlined.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PE English
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Arts > School of English
ID Code:3835
Deposited On:04 Jan 2012 09:46
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 09:54

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