Considering the subcategories of Shields, we can find that modal verbs showing possibility were the most frequent type that was used in the academic writing as in (7), (8), and (9). Therefore, it could be assumed that most Thaiacademicwriters do not have any difficulties using modal verbs as a means of conveying the possibility of their claims and the uncertainty in their statements. Nevertheless, Thaiacademic novices may face some limitations when using probability adverbs, one subcategory of Shield. The findings of this study showed that they operated this type of hedges fifty per cent (12 times) lower than Thaiacademic professionals (24 times) (see Table 2). Moreover, they employed the combined- hedging markers, which are more complicated than the single lexical markers, only 5 times, while the professionals used more than one hedging markers for 13 times, as in (26)- (30). The idea that the novice writers were less aware of the fact that they were too assertive, when expressing their claims, could be a possible reason why they utilized fewer hedging markers, both single lexical markers and combined-hedging markers in their academic writing. Therefore, the results could indicate that novice writers have more rooms to develop the use of combined-hedging markers.
Following Meyers (1989), there has been a revived interest in the study of politeness strategies in written texts such as business letters and scientific texts (Maier, 1992; Pilegaard, 1997; Getkham, 2016). Scientific articles have been the subject of politeness studies by researchers who looked at it from different perspectives. A good number of researchers have explored the use of hedges as a politeness device in researcharticles. Vassileva (2001), for instance, explored the use of hedges in English and Bulgarian researcharticles. It was found that both English researchers and their Bulgarian counterparts employ hedges in their researcharticles and that they all use the same linguistic means of expressing hedging. The finding also exposed some significant differences in the frequencies of use of the various linguistic devices used by the two groups of writers. Similarly, Falahati (2007) investigated the cross-disciplinary variations in the use of hedges in medicine, chemistry and psychology. He, therefore, analyzed a corpus of 25,983 words from articles in the aforementioned disciplined. His findings revealed that there are differences among the three disciplines as regards the frequency of occurrence of the kinds of hedges. Like some previous studies (e.g. Burrough-Boenisch, 2005), this research also revealed that hedges normally occur in the discussion section of researcharticles.
b Siirt University, Siirt, TURKEY
Given the use of appropriate uncertainty, the right strength of claim for the data, politeness and proper positioning oneself, though hedging is an important component of western academic discourse there appears inadequate awareness. The present study aims to reveal the tendency and preferences of Turkish and Anglo-sphere scholars in terms of using hedging strategies, and frequency of hedges and whether any differences exist in their published articles. Data corpus was composed of 100 articles published in English that equally belong to Non-native writers (Turkish) and native writers of English (Anglo-sphere). Three main parts of the articles i.e. Introduction, Discussion, and Conclusion, where hedging devices are commonly used will be analyzed through a concordance program to get the hedge frequencies. The outputs will be categorized according to a framework included 9 hedge types (Adverbs of Frequency, Quantifiers, Modal Auxiliary Verbs, Epistemic Verbs, Adjectives & Adverbs, Nouns, Conversational & Informal, Introductory phrases, Vague References). The categorized outputs will be analyzed by means of MANOVA and Mann-Whitney tests to compare Non-native writers (NNW) and Native writers (NW) in terms of the hedge frequency. Having completed statistical analyses, the function of hedges used in both groups was examined so as to interpret hedging strategies. The results will provide important insights about using tentative language strategies of NNWs and NWs of English. Further, as for nine hedging types, the results will reveal each group's hedging tendencies and differences.
Based on the close connection with modality and the models introduced by Hyland (1998) and Varttala (2001), adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs are divided into the following categories in the Tables 1 and 2: Studies in hedges and boosters of L1 academic writing A number of studies in hedges have dealt with academic or scientiﬁc writing. Hedges are considered to be markers of uncertainty, and uncertainty is a fundamental characteristic of science writing. Grabe and Kaplan (1997) suggested that the motivation for expressing weak form negation with stronger pragmatic understanding involves the use of hedging or of politeness strategies. In addition, Hyland (1998) argued that in science writing, hedges play a critical role in gaining approval for writers' claims from readers by presenting statements with appropriate accuracy, caution and humility. Examples of studies in hedges include medical English written discourse (Salager-Meyer, 1994); comparison of
Lexical bundles such as on the other hand and as a result of are extremely common and important in academic discourse. The appropriate use of lexical bundles typical of a specific academic discipline is important for writers and the absence of such bundles may not sound fluent and native-like. Recent studies (e.g. Adel & Erman, 2012; Chen & Baker, 2010) have revealed that non-native writers produce not only fewer types of lexical bundles, but also less varied ones. Furthermore, they also overuse a restricted number of bundles in their writing. Focusing on this issue, this study aimed to investigate Turkish and native English postgraduate students‟ and native scholars‟ use of lexical bundles in a specific academic discipline, that is foreign language teaching, in terms of frequency, functions and structures. For this aim, a corpus of 150 texts was collected containing Turkish and native English students‟ MA and PhD theses along with native scholars‟ published researcharticles. Four- word lexical bundles were identified using WordSmith Tools 6. The results revealed that Turkish postgraduate students used far more lexical bundles in their texts compared to both native students and scholars. However, there was a redundancy in Turkish students‟ texts when the token frequencies were examined, meaning that Turkish students overused most of the lexical bundles. On the other hand, statistical analysis of the bundle lists revealed that Turkish postgraduate students employed different bundles from their native peers and scholars. Finally, the structural and functional categories of the lexical bundles did not show any statistically significant differences across the research sub-corpora.
Despite the importance of hedging in academic productions, its use in different disciplines and genres has been given little attention (Hyland, 1998; Crystal, 1995). More precisely, the role of different genders as contributors to this social phenomenon (i.e., researcharticles) has been taken as neutral, as if gender is inconsequential in identity construction. The studies done in English suggest that females’ language is proportionately more hedged. So hedging has been claimed to be a strategy that is used mostly by female writers than male writers. To examine the role of gender in text construction, we investigated the linguistic realizations of the identities reflected in male and female authors’ preferences for hedging words in the researcharticles in applied linguistics. To this end, 130 single-authored researcharticles written in the field of applied linguistics were examined. The results revealed significant differences between two sets of articles in using hedges. Statistical analysis revealed that female authors’ articles were significantly (i.e., p- value of 0.000) more hedged as compared with those of males. Furthermore, it is suggested that the hedging words that are used in these articles could be used as an index through which gender of the author is identified.
1.3 Research writing by Malaysian academicians.
In Malaysia, the academicians who also play the role as researchers, published researcharticles for various reasons such as for career advancement (Jusoff, Abdullah and Samah, 2009), for sharing of knowledge, to secure research funding, for prestige, because their research funders require publication (Zakaria and Fytton, 2006; Roosfa and Yahya, 2011) and to meet the performance measures (Rahayu, Norazan, Az’lina, Adriana, Nornadiah and Naslina, 2013); however, in reality the quality of the papers is still unsatisfactory (Lim, 1975; 1995; Pang, 1996) and bigger number of publication is needed (Zainab 1997; Zakaria & Fytton, 2006; Jusoff and Samah, 2010, Suryani, Hashima, Yaacob, Salleh and Desa, 2013). Some of the challenges listed are English language barrier (Altbach, 1978; Zainab, 1997), time consuming (Lim, 1992; Zakaria and Fytton, 2006) and cultural issues (Ahmad, 1997; Zainab 1997). The problems listed persisted despite the fact that English is placed and taught as the second language in Malaysia (Suryani, Shafiq, Aminul and Hazry, 2012; Muftah and Rafik-Galea, 2013). In the post industrial countries, technical writers help their scientist to write faster and more effectively thus giving the scientist more time and energy to focus on the research substance and quality (Slattery, 2007); however such constructive technical writer profession in Malaysia is yet to be on hand. To begin with, more understanding on how the Malaysian writers write in comparison to the standard expected would benefit the Malaysian RA writing practice classroom application in terms of prioritizing the writing efforts, devising intervention strategy (Ibrahim and Nambiar, 2012) and justifying why differences occur (Adnan, 2008).
Although much of the research throughout the world is conducted by researchers whose native language is not English, their scientific findings are mostly reported in this language. As a result, Englishacademic writing is a skill much needed by many researchers who are non-native English speakers (NNES). In order to succeed in their field, not only are non-English-speaking scholars demanded to deal with the challenge of new developments, but they also must be skillful in English writing (Manan & Noor, 2014). According to Paltridge (1993), non-English speaking scholars cope with vast difficulties to succeed in their scientific discourse through researcharticles. This is because academic writing follows certain conventions, and it requires techniques and style that are unique to this genre (Cullip & Carrol, 2003). Some studies revealed that writers exploit different patterns to form their materials. For example, Tenbrink and Wiener (2009) stated that writers benefit from some networks of options which provide them with a variety of linguistic choices that may be helpful in generating ideas. Thus, developing textual materials might be different among native speakers as well as between them and non-native ones. Accordingly, the researchers in applied linguistics and language teaching may face difficulty in adapting their prose like every other field of science, even though they are supposedly thought as competent English language users.
McCloskey,1990; Meyer et al,1997;Sznajder,2005).Most of these studies have analyzed metaphor markers from three main dimensions: markers categories, markers frequencies, and multiple marking patterns. The results, too, vary from the use of the same markers in the same genres (Sznajder, 2005) to various categorization of markers in different genres (Goatly, 1997).Part of the variation as some studies show and will be testified later in this study are due to the nature of markers categories on the one hand, and the linguistic functions of such markers on the other. One further clear line of research on metaphor markers is their emphasis on the role of such cohesive devices in the text understanding, with very little if any on considering the position metaphorical markers enjoy within an academic genre. Indeed, very little can be found on how the use and functions of these markers varies within an academic genre. Though the use of markers in general and metaphor markers in particular has been the focus of study within various genres and domains such as cross-linguistic study of markers, typological study of markers, markers at variant sociolinguistic contexts, markers in metadiscourse markers, discourse coherence and relevance theory, markers and rhetorical relations, multi-functionality of markers, markers in different pedagogical setting, universality of markers, and finally, markers in different mode of language use. The focus of this study will be on the status of metaphor markers within an academic genre: RAs. Indeed, the growing interest in the study of genre analysis, on the one hand, and the significance of the autopsy of the academic genre in guiding nonnative writers in producing more plausible texts in English, on the other hand, prompted the present researchers to carry out this study.
However, to the best of our knowledge, research studies which aim to analyse the rhetorical structure of RA conclusion sections are limited. According to Swales (1990) and Posteguillo (1999), this particular section has been considered as part of the discussion section. This may be why the research studies on the structural organisation of RA conclusion sections are scarce. It is known that the conclusion sections of RAs provide not only an outline of the study but also other important elements, such as implications and recommendations (Sandoval 2010 cited in Morales 2012). Although there is a small number of research studies which have analysed the structural organisation of this particular section, the findings of two studies (Moritz et al. 2008 and Yang & Allison 2003) in particular are interesting. For example, in Yang and Allison’s (2003) study, it was found that the conclusion sections of applied linguistics articles contained three moves (Move 1: Summarising the study, Move 2: Evaluating the study, and Move 3: Deductions from the research). These moves were organised linearly and Move 1 was found to be the most frequent move. In Moritz et al.’s (2008) study, which compared three corpora of conclusion sections in the field of applied linguistics written by three groups of different authors (Portuguese L1, English L1, and English L2), six moves were found including ‘Restating the introductory statement’, ‘Consolidating the research space’, ‘Summarizing the study’, ‘Commenting on results’, ‘Evaluating the study’, and ‘Making deductions from the research’. It was found that ‘Making deductions from the research’, was the most frequent move. Furthermore, the comparison showed that the English L2 writers tended to elaborate more in their pieces of writing than the English L1, and the Portuguese L1 writers. The results of this study showed that the linguistic and rhetorical conventions of the first language interfere with the writing of the second language. However, although L2 writers were more influenced by L1 writing style, they still have to follow certain universal conventions when they write for international publication, otherwise their papers would not have been published.
Chafe (1986) is the representative of studying evidentiality from the cognitive approach. He (1986) compares different use of evidentiality between spoken and written English. Based on his analysis, he finds that speak- ers/writers of the conversations and academic writings prefer different kinds of evidentiality. Mushin (2001) also studies evidentiality from the cognitive aspect. He claims that the actual source of information is not the only factor that determines the speaker/writer’s choice of evidentiality, and the interaction setting, such as the con- crete context may have influences on the choice of evidentiality. Mushin (2001) strengthens the role of the cog- nitive involvement of the speaker/writer in the process of evidential choice. The cognitive studies of evidentiali- ty indicate that speakers/writers have the epistermological consideration of the information source and interac- tion setting before they make their final decision of the evidential choice. Cognitive approach to evidentiality is important in that it strengthens the roles of the cognitive intrusion of the speaker/writer in the process of eviden- tial choice. However, sometimes it may cause the mismatch between the actual information sources and the chosen evidentials.
All research papers communicate empirically proven, verifiable research findings, but the rhetorical practices of various disciplinary communities vary greatly in terms of what they consider appropriate ways of reporting their research activities and findings in a persuasive way. In an increasingly globalized academic community today, one of the greatest challenges is to find the way to tackle the main paradox of academic writing – the fact that authors need to present themselves both as “disciplinary servants“ and “persuasive originators“[1: p.224]. Depending on the epistemological beliefs of the disciplinary community they belong to and the writing traditions of their academic community, writers will make different rhetorical choices , , , , , , , . Thus, research paper authors will either choose to make their writing impersonal and their authorial presence less visible or they will make it personal, with a strong authorial voice.
According to the findings, the psychology authors significantly used more lexical metadiscursive stance markers than sociology writers. Their use of such stance markers accounted almost for 3.59% of the total number of words utilized in the articles. Pedagogically speaking, it makes a lot of sense. Even from a vocabulary instruction point of view, those items of stancetaking are worthy of direct instruction because they will partially determine the proper understanding of the passage (Hu & Nation, 2000) under study, not to mention the process of academic writing in which such a lexical foundation does stand out. This finding is in line with Abdi (2011) in which he found a great number of metadiscourse strategies including the interpersonal ones used significantly but unequally by native and nonnative writers in different canonical subsections of English RAs. With respect to the sociology articles, the corresponding authors used around 3.27% of the total words in the corpus which again is a sensible amount. This number also in turn highlights the importance of lexical mechanisms in projecting one’s stance in academic writing.
Bridgeman & Carlson, 1984; Casanave & Hubbard, 1992; Hale et al., 1996), which indicated the genre of article/book review has been a common academic writing task in undergraduate and graduate writing. As a simple genre that does not involve a full literature review, it is often seen as a preparatory genre that instructors use as a stepping stone to develop other important genres such as term papers and researcharticles. To write this genre, it is necessary that L2 writers learn how to move from a relatively single-voice, uncontested summary to a bi-voiced evaluation, where different value positions are recognized and negotiated to achieve reasoned evaluation. This commonly assigned student genre highlights pivotal elements in academic writing. As Hinkel (2004) noted, the two most important elements in undergraduate and graduate faculty assessments of academic writing tasks are “organize writing to convey major and supporting ideas” and “use relevant reasons and examples to support a position” (p. 19-20). In this genre writers are expected to not only make summaries but also to evaluate the positions in source texts by signaling “their own views on the topic, issue, or author’s tone” (Hinkel, 2004, p. 230).
There have been numerous studies on scientific discourse in Turkey (e.g. Oktar, 1991; Huber & Uzun, 2000; Uzun & Huber, 2002; Yarar, 2001; Emeksiz, 2009, 2015; Doyuran, 2009; Kavanoz & Şimşek, 2013; Akbaş, 2012b, 2014; Bayyurt & Akba ş, 2014; Yağız & Demir, 2014, 2015 ); however, compared to the vast number of studies in other countries, there are few studies on research article abstracts (Ekoç, 2008; Çakır, 2011; Akbaş, 2012a; Çandarlı, 2012; Çakır & Kansu-Yetkiner, 2012; Fidan & Çakır, 2012; Kafes, 2009, 2012; Uysal & Akpınar, 2008; Önder Özdemir & Longo, 2014; Uysal, 2014; Çakır & Fidan, 2015; Uysal, 2012) written by Turkish academicwriters. Kafes (2009) examined modal verbs in researcharticles as well as in abstracts written by Turkish, Spanish and American academicwriters to determine how academicwriters construct authorial stance in their researcharticles published in international journals. Kafes (2009) found similarities as well as some differences in the distribution of the modal verbs across the different parts in the researcharticles he ex- amined. The findings indicated that writer stance in the research article is mainly guided by the norms of the in- ternational discourse community, but also by the local discourse community. Similarly, Uysal and Akpinar (2008) compared English abstracts written by different academicwriters. The study examined indirectness markers (disclaimers, hedges and hedging devices, discourse particles, demonstratives and passive voice) in conference abstracts produced by Turkish and Indian academicwriters. While Akbaş (2012a), Ekoç (2008) and Önder Özdemir & Longo (2014) examined metadiscourse markers in abstracts, Çakır & Fidan (2015) and Kafes (2012) focused on the rhetorical organization of abstracts. The findings of these studies revealed variations across abstracts.
To investigate the use of metadiscourse by Saudi EFL college students, a total of fifty researcharticles within the fields of translation and interpretation were randomly selected from an online magazine called KSU- COLT’s RAIT (ResearchArticles in Interpretation and Translation) (Al-Sibai, 2017). KSU- COLT’s RAIT is a collection of researcharticles written in English by EFL level-six college students who are majoring in English-Arabic translation at King Saud University (KSU) (Al-Sibai, 2017). The EFL writers speak Arabic as their first language, and they all had passed different courses pertaining to writing researcharticles, for example, Vocabulary Building; Grammar 1, 2, and 3; Writing 1 and 2; and Essay and Summary Writing. Hence, it is presumed that the students have knowledge of standard English writing conventions, for example, sentence structure types.
These problems can be analyzed from a variety of perspectives, taking different procedures, e.g. utilizing top-down and bottom-up techniques. In a top-down procedure, the writers’ problems are mostly identified through interviewing or conducting survey to elicit necessary relevant information from the writers’ standpoints (e.g. Al-Khasawneh, 2010; Duszak & Lewkowicz, 2008; Okamura, 2006; Sahakyan & Sivasubramaniam, 2008; Yeh, 2010). Okamura’s (2006) interview with 13 Japanese students demonstrated that increase in their writing experiences results in solving their rhetorical problems in English; however, lack of vocabulary remains as their major problem. Similarly, Duszak and Lewkowicz’s (2008) survey of Polish scholars in the fields of applied linguistics and foreign language studies, psychology, and medicine demonstrated the problems with language as the main findings. The writing difficulties for Armenian (Sahakyan & Sivasubramaniam, 2008), Taiwanese (Yeh, 2010), and Arab students (Al-Khasawneh, 2010) have been investigated. Armenian scholars reported language proficiency and lack of material resources as their main difficulties. The results of study on four first-year Taiwanese EFL graduate students determined selecting a topic and reviewing the literature as the major concern of the respondents. Moreover, vocabulary register, organization of ideas, grammar, spelling, and referencing perceived as main problems of Arab students in College of Business at Utara University of Malaysia.
The academic discourse has been reported to be persuasive (e.g. Bhatia, 2004). Writers endeavour to represent themselves in a credible way to get their research accepted by the international academia. Metadiscourse is the linguistic system that enables writers to get positive evaluation of their studies and negative evaluation of previous ones (e.g., Hyland 2005). Little research has investigated the extent to which EFL subject specialists are aware of the interactional function of metadiscourse when reading field-related materials. This study attempted to fill this gap. Fifty EFL geography researchers were asked to read 4 field-related researcharticles (RAs) and to perform an oral protocol for each. They also responded to language proficiency test, subject background quizzes and a post-reading questionnaire. The protocols were coded in terms of evaluative metadiscourse based on Hyland’s (2005) taxonomy. Results showed that language proficiency was the main blocking factor confirming the linguistic threshold hypothesis (Cummins, 1979). The findings have important implications on how metadiscourse might improve field- related RA comprehension in English.
9 Implications, Limitations and Suggestions for Further Studies
This study has some implications for second language research. One implication is for instructors in second language domain. The results of the study are practical hints for second language instructors. They can teach metadiscourse feature in academic writing in undergraduate and post graduate courses. Another implication is for researchers who are going to publish researcharticles. This study can be very useful to them so as to learn how to use metadiscourse features in order to be able to shape a well-organized and coherent text.Also, this study has some implications for those who are interested in the field of contrastive rhetoric. They can benefit from the findings of this research to see how different authors make use of rhetorical devices in their writings to send the message to the receiver. The last, but not the least implication is for researchers in the field of Corpus Linguists. They can learn the way corpora and corpus software can be used in language studies as well as learning the methodology in this field of inquiry.
All of the native English informants felt comfortable to reveal themselves openly or assert themselves in their RAs explicitly as long as it remained appropriate. However, the Thai informants expressed their lack of confidence to assert themselves openly due to their concerns about getting negative feedbacks. This is in agreement with some previous studies (Flowerdew, 2001, Swales, 1990) which found that the Thaiarticles failed to provide an authorial comment which, according to Gosden’s work, resulted in manuscript rejection (as cited in Jaroongkhongdacha, et al., 2012). According to Flick’s work, without authorial voice, the Thaiwriters might simply list the previous literature without reflecting on and criticizing them (as cited in Jaroongkhongdacha, et al., 2012). In the present study, some of the informants attribute this conventional writing style to the Thai culture which promotes face saving and the need to be respected. This line of thought is also supported by Jaroongkhongdacha, et al. (2012), Kanoksilapatham (2007) and Pupipat (1998) who commented that for Thais, criticizing others’ works, especially the works of writers of higher status, could be considered as face threatening, and thus should be avoided. Certain Thai cultural traits could then have impeded the ability to think critically and write argumentatively, conventionally essential skills of effective scientific writing (Pupipat, 1998). To sum up, how to balance authorial identity is an integral part of writing a research article for academicwriters, regardless of whether they are native or non-native Englishwriters.