Investigating novice academic writing


Investigating novice academic writing: A cross-linguistic approach to authorial stance

In recent decades, studies in Learner Corpus Research have highlighted features that are considered to be typical of English as a foreign Language (EFL) learner writing, such as register unawareness, a more involved style, and explicit authorial visibility (e.g. Gilquin et al. 2007, Paquot 2010). However, a number of researchers have stressed the fact that academic writing is no-one’s mother tongue, and that, as a consequence, everyone needs to acquire academic writing skills, regardless of their L1 status (e.g. Escobar & Fernández 2017, Pan et al. 2016, Swales 2004). This means that novice writers – native and non-native speakers alike – need to be trained in EAP writing and acquainted with EAP conventions in order to enter the academic community. In sum, it is argued that “expertise is a more important aspect to consider than nativeness” (Römer 2009: 99) and that academic writing might thus be better described in terms of novice writing vs. expert writing.

Against this background, this PhD project aims to revisit the concept of noviceness and tease apart features of novice vs. learner writing through a cross-linguistic approach of authorial stance. It is guided by the following research questions:

RQ1: To what extent do L1 French and L1 English novice writers share authorial stance features?

RQ2: To what extent can characteristics of French-speaking EFL writing be explained by the non-nativeness vs. the noviceness of these writers?

RQ3: Are individual preferences of authorial stance in L1 transferred to L2?

Supervisor: M. Paquot
PhD student: P. Jadoulle