Gearing the Discursive Practice to the Evolution of Discipline: Diachronic Corpus Analysis of Stance Markers in Research Articles’ Methodology Section

Document Type : Research Paper


1 English Department, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

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


Despite widespread interest and research among applied linguists to explore metadiscourse use, very little is known of how metadiscourse resources have evolved over time in response to the historically developing practices of academic communities. Motivated by such an ambition, the current research drew on a corpus of 874315 words taken from three leading journals of applied linguistics in order to trace the diachronic evolution of stance markers in methodology section of research articles from 1996 to 2016. Hyland’s (2005b) model of metadiscourse was adopted for the analysis of the selected corpus. The data were explored using concordance software AntConc (Anthony, 2011). Moreover, a Chi-Square statistical measure was run to determine statistical significances. The analysis revealed a significant decline in the overall frequency of stance markers in methodology section of RAs. Interestingly, this decrease was entirely due to the overall decline in the use of self-mentions. Approaching interactional dimension of academic writing from such a diachronic perspective, it might be argued that the very selective use of stance markers by academic writers over time means metadiscourse does not operate in vacuum and is sensitive to changes within disciplines and their academic practices.


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