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Metadiscourse in Written Genres: Uncovering Textual and Interactional Aspects of Texts

Edited By Ciler Hatipoglu, Erdem Akbas and Yasemin Bayyurt

Taking metadiscourse as their starting point, the contributions to this edited volume focus both on the interactive and cross-cultural aspects of written texts from varying genres. Using rich and innovative data collection and analysis methods, comparing and contrasting patterns in frequently studied (English, Japanese) with understudied (Turkish, Russian/Ukrainian) languages, and relating empirical data to a web of theoretical frameworks, the articles in this book clearly display the variety, complexity and multiplicity of metadiscoursal analysis of written texts. The volume aims to substantially advance our understanding of the communicative nature of written texts and contributes to the advancement and expansion of researchers’ interests in this field.

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Should I boost or should I hedge: the use of hedges and boosters in the writing of argumentative essays by Japanese university students (Robert MacIntyre)


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Robert MacIntyre1

Should I boost or should I hedge: the use of hedges and boosters in the writing of argumentative essays by Japanese university students2

Abstract: This chapter examines how non-native student writers use hedges and boosters in the writing of argumentative essays. Over the course of a fourteen-week writing course, a learner corpus of 3 argumentative essays written by seventeen participants in a Japanese university was collected and coded for hedges and boosters. The final corpus consisted of 44764 words and was coded according to the definitions of hedges and boosters from Hyland (2005). The data was then independently coded by another researcher familiar with metadiscourse and, after discussion, agreement was reached on the examples of hedges and boosters. To discover more about how and why these features were used, think-aloud protocols and stimulated-recall interviews were also conducted. The results indicate that non-native student writers use far more boosters and fewer hedges when compared to corpora of native expert writing. Previous research has suggested factors such as the transfer from L1, L2 pedagogical materials, and the influence of spoken discourse which help to cause this difference. However, while acknowledging these as potential factors, the participants in this study have used hedges and boosters in a variety of different ways, for a variety of different reasons. Factors such as the way an argument is constructed, the participants’ knowledge of academic writing, and their English proficiency have also contributed to their use in this...

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