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Cognitive Linguistic Explorations of Writing in the Classroom


Rod E. Case, Gwendolyn M. Williams and Peter Cobin

Research into the analysis of classroom-based writing is replete with techniques and methods meant to bring clarity to the question of how to best conduct instruction and assessment. Findings and suggestions for practice are rooted in a philosophy that asks teachers and linguists to judge students’ writing against a pre-determined standard. Too often, the results do little more than inform teachers and researchers as to which students met the standard and which did not.

This book offers research into the analysis of classroom writing that does not use a set standard or rubric to assess student writing but instead relies on insights from cognitive linguistics to explore the connections between cognition and language in student writing. The result is a creative and linguistically driven analysis of classroom writing that allows the linguist or teacher to view student writing on its own terms.

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Chapter 3 Metaphor and Writing


Chapter 3

Metaphor and Writing

According to Brown and Marshall (2012), academic writing across academic disciplines spans a range of forms (e.g., reports, proposals, texts, and articles) and requires the writer to strategically use a number of conventionalized linguistic and organizational forms (e.g., summary, synthesis, evaluation, critique, argument) that must be situated within a specific set socio-cultural context. Novice scholars (i.e., graduate students) are often introduced to these linguistic forms within introductory research courses where they are required to write research proposals and reports. Researchers exploring how both conventionalized and organizational forms develop over time often rely on genre studies. The concept of genre has been defined as “abstract, socially recognized ways of using language” (Hyland, 2007, p. 149). According to Hyland (2004), it is used to identify how writers (in this case, graduate students) draw on content to achieve specified purposes and patterns in different situations, such as course assignments. According to Hyland (2008), genre has become one of the “most important and influential concept in language education” (p. 543).

As Ozturk (2018) notes, early explorations into genre and research writing have focused on the overall rhetorical structure of research writing across various academic disciplines. Researchers identified rhetorical patterns specific to the discipline. Examples come from software engineering and computer science (e.g., Anthony, 1999), biochemistry (Kanoksilapatham, 2005) and law (Tessuto, 2015). Later, research moved to explorations of how specific components of academic writing within a specific discipline are related. Examples include introductions in...

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