First person pronouns in academic discourse by novice writers in China

Zou, Yanli (2018). First person pronouns in academic discourse by novice writers in China. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the phraseologies of the two first person pronouns, ‘I’ and ‘We’, and their verb collocates in Chinese novice writers’ academic discourse. Quantitatively, the study compares the use and the function of the FPPs in Chinese EFL learners’ academic texts across two disciplines, Business and Management and English Literature, and at two academic levels, undergraduate and postgraduate. It is found that the phrases serving these functions are highly formulaic. There is correspondence between the identified frequent phraseologies and the proposed textual functions in the novice writers’ academic texts. Specifically, a textual function is often realised by one or two phrasal frames including the two FPPs. When the two disciplines are compared, more similarities than differences in relation to the phrases and the textual functions of ‘I’ and ‘We’ are observed. When the undergraduates and the postgraduates are compared, the postgraduates use more impersonal expressions and more retrospective textual organisation expressions to organise and develop their academic texts. The qualitative case study illustrates the importance of quality of using ‘I’ and ‘We’ to interact with readership and claim authority. This study concludes by discussing the insights offered into the teaching and learning of academic writing in EFL contexts.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Language and Linguistics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English


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