The use of metadiscourse for knowledge construction in Chinese and English research articles

Jon Congjun Mu, Lawrence Jun Zhang, John Ehrich, Huaqing Hong

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    The purpose of this study is to compare the usage of metadiscourse in English and in Chinese research articles (RAs) published in applied linguistics journals and to investigate how metadiscourse may contribute to knowledge construction in RAs. A small corpus in each language was built consisting of 20 journal articles in English and another 20 in Chinese. In order to highlight metadiscourse features, an established model of metadiscourse was adopted to annotate both Chinese and English articles. It was found that there are generally more metadiscourse features in the English sub-corpus than in the Chinese sub-corpus. While both English sub-corpus and Chinese sub-corpus were found to use statistically significantly more interactive metadiscourse resources (organising discourse) than interactional metadiscourse resources (indicating writers attitude and stance to themselves, text and audience), the English sub-corpus employed statistically significantly more interactional metadiscourse features than the Chinese sub-corpus. Implications of this study are discussed for both English and Chinese academic writing, including the teaching of English writing as a second language (L2).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-148
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


    • Chinese research articles
    • EAP
    • English research articles
    • Knowledge construction
    • Metadiscourse

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