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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

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Academic language in Catalan students’ research reports across levels of study

Ana M. Pujol Dahme
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  • Department of Linguistic and Literary Education, and Teaching and Learning of Experimental Sciences and Mathematics, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
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/ Moisés Selfa
Published Online: 2017-09-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2016-0065


When students engage in a research community of practice they not only have to master academic register but also discourse features embodied in the research genre. This corpus-based study examines lexico-grammatical features and stance and engagement markers in 54 Catalan (Romance language) research reports in biology, from high school twelfth-graders and university master theses’ writers. These texts belong to the TARBUC corpus (Treballs Acadèmics de Recerca de Batxillerat i Universitat en Català) – Baccalaureate and University Academic Research Reports written in Catalan. Analyses reveal a statistically significant increase in syntactic complexity and lexical density in university writers. Furthermore, findings on interactional function indicate that marking of stance (i.e., hedges) correlates with a specific type of engagement marker (i.e., directive to argument) in university students’ texts. Self-mention is the most salient rhetorical strategy used by students, in line with the requirements of the research article published in this discipline. Finally, overall data on the distribution of interactional markers suggest that the conventions of the research article genre constrain interactional strategies from high school onwards. Results suggest that linguistic literacy, cognitive maturity and the genre’s social convention interact in a linked process in the development of a skilled writer.

Keywords: research reports; corpus-based; register; metadiscourse; Catalan


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Published Online: 2017-09-09

Citation Information: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, ISSN (Online) 1613-7035, ISSN (Print) 1613-7027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cllt-2016-0065.

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