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A functional classification of the introductory it pattern: Investigating academic writing by non-native-speaker and native-speaker students
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0489-2697
2017 (English)In: English for specific purposes (New York, N.Y.), ISSN 0889-4906, E-ISSN 1873-1937, Vol. 48, 57-70 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The introductory it pattern, as in it is important to remember the differences, is a functionally diverse pattern of great importance to academic discourse. However, previous studies have found that using the pattern in an expert-like manner can prove challenging in particular for non-native-speaker students. The present study develops a functional classification in order to investigate what factors may affect the differences in use of the pattern across different groups of students. It maps out the functional distribution of the pattern across three parameters: academic discipline, native-speaker status (non-native-speaker vs. native-speaker students) and level of achievement (lower-graded vs. higher-graded NNS student texts). The study uses data from three corpora of student writing: ALEC, BAWE and MICUSP. The results show that there were differences across all three parameters, suggesting that these variables are all important to take into account in studies of this kind. For example, the non-native-speaker students exhibited an uneven command of the subtleties of the pattern, leading to problems with certain functional categories, such as attitude markers (e.g. it is surprising that) and hedges (e.g. it seems that), which indicates that this would be a fruitful area to focus on in second language instruction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 48, 57-70 p.
Keyword [en]
Corpus-based research; The introductory it pattern; Functional classification; NNS and NS student writing; Academic disciplines; Level of achievement
National Category
Humanities and the Arts Specific Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-328880DOI: 10.1016/j.esp.2017.06.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-328880DiVA: diva2:1137989
Available from: 2017-09-03 Created: 2017-09-03 Last updated: 2017-09-03

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889490617301941

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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