IJLLL 2020 Vol.6(2): 86-93 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2020.6.2.256

Roles of Metadiscursive Nouns in L2 English Writing – Comparison with L1 Writing

Nobuko Tahara
Abstract—Taking a position that L2 writers could benefit from learning the patterns that L1 writers use, this paper reports the findings of a study that investigated the quality of L2 English argumentation essays written by L1 Japanese students. based on the use of metadiscursive nouns, unspecific and pragmatic meaning nouns that can mark the discourse by recovering their meanings from the preceding, or the succeeding, segments of the texts. The L2 essays were compared with L1 essays using contrastive interlanguage analysis, both quantitatively and qualitatively, selecting a small number of high frequency metadiscursive nouns that occurred in the two corpora (i.e., reason, thing, problem, fact) as target items. Using the shell noun conceptual framework (Schmid, 2000), the study examined meaning recovery patterns of the nouns in relation to several syntactic patterns. The study revealed some distinct differences in the way these nouns were used in the two corpora, and they seem to have affected the ways the nouns: a) marked the discourse in the text, and b) formed argumentation, functioning as causation devices. This paper discusses implications of the findings for the teaching of L2 writing. Through the analysis, I attempt to show the importance of metadiscourse in L2 writing, and this paper can provide a way to approach this area of study.

Index Terms—Causal relations, contrastive interlanguage analysis, metadiscursive nouns, shell nouns.

Nobuko Tahara is with the Faculty of Economics, Okayama University, Okayama, 700-8530, Japan (e-mail: tahara-n@okayama-u.ac.jp).

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Cite: Nobuko Tahara, "Roles of Metadiscursive Nouns in L2 English Writing – Comparison with L1 Writing," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 86-93, 2020.

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