Reflexive metadiscourse in a corpus of Spanish bachelor dissertations in EFL

  • Noelia Navarro Gil Universidad Complutense de Madrid · Universitat Internacional de Catalunya


Academic English has often been described as a reader-oriented discourse, in which the structure, objectives and claims are made explicit and carefully framed. Metadiscourse markers help to build coherence and cohesion, and allow writers to guide their readership through their texts. Spanish EFL learners often transfer part of their L1 writing culture into their L2 texts. This is problematic because academic Spanish tends to show a slightly more reader-responsible style, and academic texts call for a high degree of disciplinarity: learners not only have to be aware of the conventions of the L2 regarding metadiscourse, but also of their own discipline. This article explores the use of reflexive metadiscourse in a learner corpus of bachelor dissertations  written in English by Spanish undergraduates in medicine and linguistics, and compares the results with an expert corpus of research articles. The results show that overall both corpora contain similar frequencies of textual metadiscourse, but this is only true when we look at the results according to discipline. In spite of this quantitative similarity, there are cases of overuse and underuse in the learner corpus that highlight features of the bachelor dissertations  genre, on the one hand, and EFL Spanish writing, on the other hand.