Interacting with Readers: Metadiscourse Features in National University of Lesotho Undergraduate Students’ Academic Writing

Puleng Makholu Letsoela

Abstract


This study examines the use of metadiscourse in National University of Lesotho [NUL] students’ academic writing. Focusing on final year undergraduate students’ research reports, the study identifies metadiscourse expressions used by the students and their apparent intentions in using such expressions Data for this study were the discussion sections of the students’ research projects. The analysis involved identifying and quantifying instances of metadiscourse, as well as interpreting the functions of the used metadiscourse expressions. The manual analysis was supported by a computerized text analysis program, Wordsmith Tools. The model used for the analysis was proposed by Hyland and Tse (2004) and further developed by Hyland (2005). Findings reveal that NUL students are more concerned with producing coherent texts than explicitly intruding into their texts and engaging the readers. This was seen in the high frequencies of interactive metadiscourse and considerably low frequencies of interactive metadiscourse (1688 as against 395). Students generally avoided self-mentions (typically first person pronouns) and engagement markers to directly address readers. This seems to have been a direct influence of the instruction they received in the compulsory first year course on Communication and Study Skills.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v5i6.4012

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