Revising and Metadiscourse in Advanced EFL/ESL Writing

Urška Sešek


The study explores the interplay of EFL/ESL writers’ composing processes and features of their written products, specifically revising and use of metadiscourse elements. Both are crucial to success in writing but have so far not been researched from this perspective. A corpus of 104 essays, draft versions and corresponding final versions written by 52 advanced EFL/ESL writers, was analysed manually and electronically to show the use of metadiscourse elements and the revisions made in the process of writing. The two sets of data were then analysed statistically to uncover potential correlations. While there was variation in the quantities of both metadiscourse elements and text revisions, patterns emerged in both areas. Increased density of metadiscourse correlated positively with the number of major content revisions, but not with the number of minor content revisions and surface revisions. Content analysis found that metadiscourse elements were often integral parts of added chunks of text, but also served to modify or restructure existing text. Results suggest that while metadiscourse depends on genre and topic, it also plays a significant role in the process of text composing. The growth of its density as writers revise texts at the level of content and structure indicates that metadiscourse can function as a reconceptualizing tool in the process of writing.



EFL/ESL writing, metadiscourse, revising, content revisions, surface revisions, correlations

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