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Stance Expressed in Evaluative that-Clause: A Corpus-based Analysis on Academic Writing Written by Native and Nonnative Speakers of English
The aim of this thesis is to investigate and identify the characteristics of stance usage through the realization of that-complement clauses in the writings of native and non-native writers, and to make recommendations for writing instructors to assist L2 learners in controlling stance expressions in research reports. Findings of comparative studies are presented to show that there is a growing demand for stance conveyance in academic writing, but at present L2 students receive very little guidance in this matter. Such shortage arouse current study (1) to empirically examine the extent that native speakers of English display stance and show viewpoint in academic writings, (2) to discover whether Taiwanese writers, either expert or student, convey stance in ways different from native speakers. Three corpora of academic writing written in the field of applied linguistics were built by collecting 50 journal articles written by native speakers of English, 50 journal articles by local researchers in Taiwan, and 25 master theses by Taiwan graduate students. After the compilation of the corpora, quantitative analysis was conducted to compare and contrast the use of stance-that markers among writers. Through detailed comparison of multiple corpora, L2 students’ overused and underused stance-that markers can also be identified. Several discoveries were yielded: (1) evaluative that-clause was widely applied in academic writing for stance marking, with L2 students conveyed stance most frequently and extensively as compared to the journal writers. (2) All three groups inclined to use verbal predicates most frequently to control that-clauses. (3) While native expert writers projected greater extent of tentativeness through likelihood stance, L2 students exposed more assertiveness and forcefulness with excessive factive and attitudinal markers. (4) Taiwanese writers generally made considerable use of concealed subjects as an attempt to avoid taking direct responsibility of the evaluation. (5) L2 students were found to have heavy reliance on factive markers to project assurance, and low preference on tentative stance to present objectivity. In conclusion, the thesis argues that stance marking in academic writing is essential but that students should not be expected to be able to appropriately employ stance without assistance. Limited repertoire of stance expressions and insufficient language input may have contributed to the mismatch exposed among the three groups of writers. This thesis hopes to offer educational implications for enhancing L2 writers’ writing quality, and thus make a small contribution to understanding the significance of stance in academic writing. Possible directions for future research are also provided.
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