Die gebruik van metadiskoers in Afrikaans T1–skryfwerk van eerstejaar–universiteitstudente
Students’ argumentative writing is substandard in the sense that the necessary relations, amongst other things, are not indicated in their texts. These texts also often lack an author’s voice. In a module such as academic literacy, it is important to pay attention to the means in which these particular problems can be solved. Part of the aims of a course in academic literacy is to equip students with the necessary academic literacy abilities (which include reading and writing ability) and in doing so, teach them to function properly in a tertiary discourse community. In this study, only the written component of academic literacy will be considered. Following the above mentioned problems, the focus will be specifically on items of metadiscourse, which may form part of a possible solution to improve students’ writing. Hyland (2004) distinguishes between two main categories of metadiscourse, namely the interactive and the interactional categories (which each consists of five subcategories). The aim of these categories is to guide the reader through the text in a specific way, and also to actively involve the reader with the textual content and the reading process. If these aspects of metadiscourse are applied effectively, the text may be more cohesive and coherent and a stronger reader-writer-relationship may be established. A corpus-linguistic approach has been followed in the investigation of the frequency of the occurrence of the subcategories of metadiscourse, as well as the functional suitability thereof. The data analysis is based on Hyland’s (2004) analytical framework of metadiscourse categories, which has been adapted according to the data that has been processed with WordSmith Tools (version 6.0). In this study, the focus group is Afrikaans L1 first-year students at the North-West University’s Vaal Triangle Campus in the year 2010. All 109 participants in the study were registered for AGLA111 (Introduction to Academic Literacy) and AGLA121 (Academic Literacy). The texts that were gathered from AGLA111 are represented in corpus 1 whereas the texts gathered from AGLA121 are represented in corpus 2. The data that was provided by these two corpora was measured against an honours corpus (consisting of 39 texts), which served as the norm for this study. The data interpretation can be divided into four categories, namely phenomena that show a statistically significant change in the correct direction, phenomena that were correct from the start and did not show any change between corpus 1 and corpus 2, phenomena that did not show any change between corpus 1 and corpus 2 but that differed from the honours corpus, as well as phenomena that show incorrect development. Recommendations, which have been based on the literature review and text analysis, are made with regard to specific aspects relating to metadiscourse and the teaching of academic literacy modules (on which this study is founded). These recommendations primarily focus on how students’ attention can be focused on the requirements proposed for writing an argumentative text.
- Humanities