A comparative study of metadiscourse in English research article abstracts in hard disciplines by L1 Chinese and L1 English scholars

Jing Wei, Jing Duan


This study investigates how L1 Chinese scholars in hard science disciplines use metadiscourse in their English academic writing, by comparing the deployment of metadiscoursal resources written by L1 Chinese and L1 English scholars. Hyland’s (2005) interpersonal model of metadiscourse was adopted for the analysis. We found that L1 Chinese scholars used less metadiscoursal resources than L1 English scholars on the whole. In the two dimensions of interaction, L1 Chinese scholars made more use of interactive devices, while L1 English scholars used more interactional items. This reflects that L1 Chinese scholars made greater efforts to guide the readers through their papers, and L1 English scholars are more concerned with creating author identity and engaging their readers. The t-tests confirmed that L1 Chinese scholars used significantly more code glosses in interactive metadiscourse and less self-mentions in interactional metadiscourse. An in-depth analysis reveals two functions of code glosses and five functions of self-mentions in RA abstracts. 


metadiscourse; English research article abstracts; hard disciplines; L1 Chinese scholars; L1 English scholars

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