A comparative study on the use of interactive metadiscourse by native Spanish scholars and Chinese learners of Spanish
As one of the most prominent terms in discourse analysis and language for speciﬁc purposes, ‘metadiscourse’ is deﬁned as writers' reﬂexive use of language on the current text to make references to the text itself, or to its writers and readers (Hyland, 2005; Ädel, 2006). It is a crucial element in language since it allows the writer to organize texts, express points of view, and engage with readers in a familiar and expected way and therefore it is an important skill for students of academic writing in both L1 and L2 settings.
With an increasing research interest on metadiscourse, most previous studies, however, have focused on English-medium paradigm while other foreign languages gain less attention and are under-researched. To bridge the gap, the focus of this study is to compare the use of interactive metadiscourse by Spanish scholars and Chinese students of Spanish in the setting of Spanish academic writing.
To this end, two comparable corpora were built: one corpus consisted of 36 research articles written by native Spanish speakers (around 240,000 words); the other, 22 master’s theses produced by Chinese students majoring in Spanish Language and Literature (around 460,000 words). Hyland’s (2005) interpersonal model was adopted in this study. By drawing on the previous work by Cao & Hu (2014), Mur-Dueñas (2011), and Carrió-Pastor (2016), a ﬁne-grained taxonomy of interactive metadiscourse was used as our analytic framework, and a more comprehensive list of interactive metadiscourse items was created for later analysis. We used MAXQDA 2020 (VERBI Software, 2019) for data management and coding. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were carried out in the present study.
The results revealed that native Spanish scholars generally used more interactive metadiscourse items than Chinese learners, although signiﬁcant diﬀerences were only found in subtypes like Topicalizers, Announcers, and Evidentials. In addition, we also found that some speciﬁc metadiscourse markers (such as en ﬁn, al ﬁnal) only occur in the learner corpus, due to Chinese students' lack of register awareness or expertise. Finally, the ﬁndings highlight some discussion raised by the research and suggest directions for future work.
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VERBI Software. (2019). MAXQDA 2020 [computer software]. Berlin: VERBI Software. Available from www.maxqda.com.