Exploring metadiscourse in master’s dissertation abstracts: Cultural and linguistic variations across postgraduate writers

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Akbas E.

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, vol.1, no.1, pp.15-26, 2012 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 1 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.1p.12
  • Title of Journal : International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature
  • Page Numbers: pp.15-26


This study investigates metadiscourse in the dissertation abstracts written by Native Speakers of Turkish (NST), Turkish Speakers of English (TSE) and Native Speakers of English (NSE) in the Social Sciences to determine how they make use of metadiscourse devices. It attempts to determine whether student writers from a shared cultural background (Turkish) tend to use similar rhetorical features to those of their mother tongue or harmonise themselves with the language (English) in which they are writing. Metadiscourse as a rhetorical device for the effective use of language facilitates writers in guiding their readers, conveying their ideas, establishing and determining the social distance of the reader-writer relationship, and creating an involved style of writer persona or a more remote stance. In that sense, interactive resources employed by writers help readers to find the information needed and interactional resources convey to readers the personality of the writers and their assertions. In addition, using ‘more personal’ resources is a way of keeping readers more intentionally within the text to interpret what is proposed by the writers personally and to judge them. The overall aim of the study is to compare and contrast 90 abstracts of dissertations produced by native Turkish speakers (30), native English speakers (30) and Turkish speakers of English (30) in the Social Sciences and to consider how writing in English (L2) deviates from writing in Turkish (L1) and becomes closer to the target language in terms of the metadiscourse elements, that is, interactive resources (transitions, frame markers, endophoric markers, evidentials and code glosses) and interactional resources (hedges, boosters, attitude markers, engagement markers and self-mentions).