Metaphoric Noun Variants and Modification Types in Undergraduate ESL Students’ Academic Writing Texts

Vasemaca Tadulala Ledua Alifereti


Significant grammatical innovations over the years have been a reaction to changes in purposes of communication due to demands from the reading public. It is assumed such changes are embraced in English used by undergraduate students in readings they are exposed to, and texts produced during their studies. In analyzing data, comprising ESL undergraduate students’ writing scripts, the study seeks to find how such grammatical innovations are manifested in selection of nouns and modification types. A noun is a compulsory element, contributing meaning to text and over the years, constituents comprising nominal groups have evolved from prototype noun to the compressed metaphoric variant. Data is analyzed, against the backdrop of Halliday and Matthiessen’s metaphor taxonomy. Results indicate, majority of students have yet to move from overuse of prototype to more metaphoric noun variants. Noun modification choices are restricted and this is a language gap that needs addressing. Awareness of contemporary grammatical innovations pertaining to nouns and modification strategies are imperative in order to improve ESL students’ text quality and effectiveness.


Experiential, Logical, Nominalization, Grammatical Metaphor, Systemic Functional Grammar, Nominal Group

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