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LINGUIST List 16.2498

Mon Aug 29 2005

Diss: Applied Ling/Discourse Analysis: Ochola: 'A ...'

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        1.    Eunita Ochola, A Sociopragmatic Approach to the Use of Meta-Discourse Features in Effective Non-Native and Native speaker Composition Writing


Message 1: A Sociopragmatic Approach to the Use of Meta-Discourse Features in Effective Non-Native and Native speaker Composition Writing
Date: 28-Aug-2005
From: Eunita Ochola <Eocholasc.rr.com>
Subject: A Sociopragmatic Approach to the Use of Meta-Discourse Features in Effective Non-Native and Native speaker Composition Writing


Institution: University of South Carolina
Program: Program in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2001

Author: Eunita D. A. Ochola

Dissertation Title: A Sociopragmatic Approach to the Use of Meta-Discourse
Features in Effective Non-Native and Native speaker
Composition Writing

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): English (eng)


Dissertation Director(s):
Kwame Dawes
Janice L Jake
Carol Myers-Scotton
Bruce L Pearson

Dissertation Abstract:

Issues of writing revolve around effective writing. Many instructors are
concerned that their students do not write effectively, while most students
are concerned that they do not know how to write so they are understood.
Furthermore, some non-native writers write more effectively than others,
including some native-writers.

This dissertation examines factors that determine effective writing by
non-native and native speakers. The study assumes that text production
involves satisfying a text at three related levels: the schematic
superstructures, the propositional content, and messages of intentionality.
Meta-discourse features (such as By this I mean ...) express messages of
intentionality that convey attitude toward the subject matter (including
interpersonal and intrapersonal involvement). The study investigates how
writers use schematic superstructures and meta-discourse features in
effective writing.

Meta-discourse features in 64 compositions were examined: 32 ESL
compositions by Dholuo first language subjects, in their third year at
Kenyatta University, Kenya, and 32 compositions by English native-speaker
freshman at Midlands Technical College, Columbia, SC. Prior to the
analysis, three native-speaker composition instructors independently rated
the compositions as effective or ineffective.

A sociopragmatic approach based on the theory of intentionality and a
rational choice model as explicated in the Markedness Model (Myers-Scotton
1993 & 1998), the theory of Generalized Conversational Implicatures
(Levinson 2000), the Cooperative Principle (Grice 1975), and Relevance
Theory (Sperber & Wilson 1986) was adopted for data analysis. The results
show that both non-native and native writers conformed to the target
language's schematic superstructures; they also used meta-discourse
features to express messages of intentionality. A major result of this
study shows that effective writers used more meta-discourse features to
express messages of intentionality than ineffective writers; results were
almost identical for both native and non-native speakers.

The study claims that effective writers exploit their linguistic repertoire
to maximize audience awareness and indications of their own awareness to
achieve maximum communicative reward, and concludes that meta-discourse
features structure discourse at a higher level than propositional content.
Consequently, instructors should sensitize their students to the use of
meta-discourse features, and writers should view writing as an interactive
enterprise between themselves and their reader and between themselves and
their text.


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