Metadiscourse Knowledge and Use in Iranian EFL Writing

| March 25, 2009
Title
Metadiscourse Knowledge and Use in Iranian EFL Writing

Keywords: Metadiscourse, Metadiscourse Markers, Linguistic Competence, Pragmatic Competence, Discourse Analysis

Authors
Shahla Simin
Isfahan University, Iran

Manoochehr Tavangar
Tehran University)

Bio Data
MS Shahla Simin, a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics, received her BA and MA in TEFL from Isfahan University, Iran. She has been teaching English for 12 years at universities, language centers and high schools. In 2005-2006, she won Fulbright scholarship and for one year she taught and studied at the University of Arizona, U.S. She has published two books (Slang City and English Idioms). Her research interests lie in Pragmatics, discourse analysis, metadiscourse and semiotics.

Dr. Manoochehr Tavangar holds an MA in General Linguistics (Tehran University), an MA in applied linguistics (Lancaster University) and a PhD in applied linguistics (Manchester University). He has taught linguistics, grammar, and translation at Isfahan University since 1992. His research interests lie in the areas of lexical semantics, discourse analysis, and translation theory.

Abstract
Since English is recognized as one of the most widely used languages in the world, intelligible written English is not only a critical business skill but a generally-used social one as well. The major emphasis of research in foreign language writing has been predominately in the area of syntax whereas the pragmatics of metadiscourse has not received the attention it deserves. However, there are factors other than syntax that must be attended to on the part of teachers and learners for a piece of writing to be considered effective in English. Unfortunately, the pragmatic aspect of writing focusing on metadiscourse has not been seriously studied until recently. The present research is an attempt to look at the foreign language learners written products from a pragmatic perspective, focusing on the use of metadiscourse markers. For this purpose ninety Iranian EFL students participated in this study and, based on their Oxford Placement Test (OPT) scores, they were divided into three proficiency groups: upper-Intermediate, intermediate, and lower-Intermediate. For a period of one semester, their sample essays, written on argumentative topics assigned to them, were collected and analyzed. Applying Vande Kopple s (1985) criteria for classification of metadiscourse, the number of correct uses of metadiscourse markers was counted and calculated across the given tasks. Employing a Chi-square test, the differences in metadiscourse use were shown to be significant for different levels of proficiency. From the above observations it can be inferred that the more proficient learners are in a second language, the more they use metadiscourse markers. Also it would appear that metadiscourse instruction has a positive effect on the correct use of metadiscourse markers.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 11 Issue 1