A Contrastive Study of Metadiscourse in English and Persian Editorials

Document Type : Research Paper


English Language Department, Islamic Azad University, Maragheh Branch, Maragheh, Iran


The original impetus for this cross-linguistic study came from a need to explore the effect of cultural factors and generic conventions on the use and distribution of metadiscourse within a single genre. To this end, the study as a contrastive rhetoric research, examined a corpus of 60 newspaper editorials (written in English and Persian) culled from 10 elite newspapers in America and Iran. Based on Hyland’s (2005) model of metadiscourse, both interactive and interactional metadiscourse resources were analyzed. The results disclosed that genre conventions had a determining role in the writers’ choice of some metadiscourse resources that contributed to some similarities in the use and distribution of metadiscourse resources across English and Persian data. In addition, some differences were found between two sets of editorials which were attributed to cultural/linguistic backgrounds of both groups of editorialists. The interactional category and attitude markers proved to be the predominant metadiscourse category and subcategory in newspaper editorials genre. Overall, the findings suggested that metadiscourse has a decisive role in the construction of persuasion in newspaper editorials genre.


Adel, A. (2006). Metadiscourse in L1 and L2 English. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Abdollahzadeh, E. (2007). Writers’ presence in English and Persian newspaper editorials. Paper presented at the 34th International Systemic Functional Grammar, July, 2007, Denmark.
Abdollahzadeh, E. (2010).Poring over the findings: Interpersonal authorial engagement in applied linguistics papers. Journal of Pragmatics, doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2010.07.019.
Ansary, H. & Babaii, E. (2009). A cross-cultural analysis of English newspaper editorials: a systemic-functional view of text for contrastive rhetoric research.  RELC Journal, 40(2), 211-249.
Beauvais, P. (1989). A speech act theory of metadiscourse. Written Communication, 6(1), 11-30.
Bell, A.(1991). The language of news media. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Bhatia, V. K. (1993). Analysing genre:Language use in Professional settings. London: Longman.
Bunton, D. (1999). The use of higher level metatext in Ph.D theses. English for Specific Purposes, 18, S41-S56.
Connor, U. (1996).Contrastive rhetoric: Cross-cultural aspect of second-language writing. Cambridge University Press.
Crismore, A. (1983). Metadiscourse: What is it and how is it used in school and non-school social science texts. Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois.
Crismore, A., Markkanen,R., & Steffensen, M. (1993). Metadiscourse in persuasive writing: A study of texts written by American and Finnish university students. Written Communication. 10(1), 39-71.
Dafouz, E. (2003). Metadiscourse revisited: A contrastive study of persuasive writing in professional discourse. Estudios Ingleses de la Universidad Complutense, 11, 29-52.
Dafouz, E.  (2008). The pragmatic role of textual and interpersonal metadiscourse markers in the construction and attainment of persuasion: A cross-linguistic study of newspaper discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 95-113.
Dahl, T. (2004). Textual metadiscourse in research articles: A marker of national culture or of academic discipline? Journal of Pragmatics, 36, 1807-1825.
Faghih, E. & Rahimpour, S. (2009). Contrastive rhetoric of English and Persian written texts: Metadiscourse in applied linguistics research articles. Rice Working Papers in Linguistics,1, 92-107.
Fowler, R. (1991). Language in the news: Discourse and ideology in the press. London: Routledge.
Fuertes-Olivera, P. A., Velasco-Sacristán, M., Arribas-Bano, A., & Samiengo-Fernández, E. (2001). Persuasion and advertising English: Metadiscourse in slogans and headlines. Journal of Pragmatics, 33, 1291-1307.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1994). An introduction to functional grammar. (2nded.). London: Edward Arnold.
Hyland, K. (1994). Hedging in academic textbooks and EAP. English for Specific Purposes, 13(3), 239-256.
Hyland, K. (1996a). Talking to the academy: Forms of hedging in science research articles. Written Communication 13(2): 251-281
Hyland, K. (1996b). Writing without conviction? Hedging in Science research articles. Applied Linguistics, 17, 433- 454.
Hyland, K. (1998a). Persuasion and context: The pragmatics of academic metadiscourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 30, 437-455.
Hyland, K. (1998b). Boosting, hedging and negotiation of academic knowledge. TEXT, 18(3), 349-382.
Hyland, K. (1999). Talking to students: Metadiscourse in introductory course books. English for Specific Purposes, 18(1), 3-26.
Hyland, K. (2000 a). Disciplinary Discourses: Social Interactions in Academic Writing. London: Longman.
Hyland, K. (2001a). Humble servant s of the discipline? Self-mention in research articles. English for Specific Purposes, 20, 207-226.
Hyland, K. (2004). Disciplinary interactions: Metadiscourse in L2 postgraduate writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 13, 133-151.
Hyland, K. (2005). Metadiscourse: Exploring interaction in writing. London: Continuum.
Hyland, K. (2010).  Metadiscourse: Mapping interactions in academic writing. Nordic journal of English Studies, 9 (2), 125-143
Hyland, K., & Tse, P. (2004). Metadiscourse in academic writing: A reappraisal. Applied Linguistics, 25(2), 156-177.
Kaplan, R. B. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education. Language learning, 16 (1), 1-20.
Khabbazi Oskouei, L. (2011). Interactional variation in English and Persian: A comparative analysis of metadiscourse Features in magazine editorials. Doctoral Thesis. Norwich: University of East Anglia. Retrieved 25 January 2012, from https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/35688/.
Kuhi, D. and Behnam, B. (2010). Generic variations and metadiscourse use in the writing of applied linguists: A comparative study and preliminary framework. Written Communication, 28 (1), 97-141.
Le, E. (2004). Active participation within written argumentation: Metadiscourse and editorialists’ authority. Journal of pragmatics, 36(4), 687-714.
Moreno, A. I. (1997). Genre constraints across languages: Causal metatext in Spanish and English research articles. ESP Journal, 16 (3), 161-179.
Mauranen, A. (1993). Contrastive ESP rhetoric: Metatext in Finnish-English economics texts. English for Specific Purposes, 12, 3-22.
Noorian, M. and Biria, R. (2010). Interpersonal metadiscourse in persuasive journalism: A study of texts by American and Iranian EFL columnists. Journal of Modern Language, 20, 64-79.
Pak, C.S. and Acevedo, R.(2008).Spanish-language newspaper editorials from Mexico, Spain, and the U.S. In: U. Connor, E. Nagelhout &W.Rozycki (Eds.), Contrastive rhetoric: Reaching to intercultural rhetoric (123–145). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Reah, D. (1998). The language of newspapers. London: Routledge.
Shokouhi, H. and Talati Baghsiahi, A.(2009). Metadiscourse functions in English and Persian sociology articles: A study in contrastive rhetoric. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 45(4), 535–554.
Schiffrin, D. (1980). Metatalk: Organizational and evaluative brackets in discourse. Sociological Inquiry: Language and Social Interaction, 50, 1999-236.
Shams, M. R. (2005).Reading English newspapers. Tehran: Rahyan.
Thompson, G. (2001). Interaction in academic writing: Learning to argue with the reader. Applied Linguistics, 22(1), 58-78.
Valero Garces, C. (1996). Contrastive ESP rhetoric: Metatext in Spanish-English economics texts. English for Specific Purposes, 5, 279-294.
Vande Kopple, W. (1985).Some exploratory discourse on metadiscourse. College Composition and Communication 36, 82-93.
Van Dijk, T. A. (1996). Opinions and ideologies in editorials. Paper presented at the 4th International Sysmposium of Critical Discourse Analysis: Language, Social Life and Critical Thought. December, 1995, Athens.
Williams, W. J. (1981). Style: Ten lessons in clarity and grace. Glenview, Illinois: Scott Foresman & Company.