A corpus linguistic investigation into patterns of engagement in academic writing in Swedish and English higher education settings

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Mälardalens högskola/Akademin för utbildning, kultur och kommunikation

Sammanfattning: Over the last few decades, the interpersonal dimensions of academic writing have received growing attention in the field of applied linguistics. As an important concept in academic writing, engagement has been a topic of interest to reveal how writers interact with readers to, for example, guide reasoning through arguments and to abide by conventions of politeness. Previous research has suggested that the higher students’ academic level is, the more similar their use of engagement elements in writing will be. Previous research has also suggested that for non-native speakers, cultural factors as well as interlanguage, influence how engagement features are used in written English. The primary aim of this study was to investigate which engagement patterns could be found in L1 Swedish and L1 English students’ academic writing in English, with the focus on linguistics as a subject. Using the methods of corpus linguistics, this project also strove to identify the ways patterns of engagement differed between L1 Swedish and L1 English students, and in what ways patterns of engagement varied between the students at B-levels and C-levels in written English of linguistics studies. The data for the study came from SUSEC, which is a corpus of written English that consists of texts collected at Stockholm University in Sweden and at King’s College in England. In line with previous research, the results indicate that the L1 Swedish students use more elements of engagement than the L1 English students. Results also suggest that C-level students use fewer reader pronouns than B-level students, and that Swedish C-level students use more directives than Swedish B-level students. Overall, the comparison of students with two different first languages revealed several differences on how engagement is used, which can serve to inform future research on academic writing.

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