A Corpus-Based Study of the Phraseological Pattern It + V-link + ADJ + That Clause in L1 and L2 Expert Academic Writing

Richmond Sadick Ngula


This study discusses the phraseological pattern It + V-link + ADJ + That Clause as a rhetorical feature of argumentation in Ghanaian scholars’ research articles (RAs) across the disciplines of Sociology, Economics and Law. It looks at the pattern’s occurrence with the adjectives possible, likely and clear in RAs by Ghanaian authors based in Ghana and in RAs by international scholars who are native speakers to determine potential divergent patterns of use between the two groups of scholars in the three disciplinary fields. Because RAs produced by non-native writers are often said to be characterized by overuse, underuse or misuse of rhetorical features (e.g., Martinéz, 2005, Englander, 2006), this study adopts a corpus-based approach to investigate the extent to which Ghanaian scholars’ use of the above collocational pattern involving possible, likely and clear differs from international scholars’ use of the pattern in terms of frequency information, levels of epistemic force, and intensification/mitigation styles. A close inspection of a million-word corpus of RAs, supported by robust statistical analyses, reveals considerable differences in the way the pattern is used between the two groups of scholars across the disciplines studied, which suggest that Ghanaian scholars do not fully apply the preferred stereotypical uses of the pattern found in reputable international RAs. The study has implications for how Ghanaian scholars have acquired rhetorical strategies of academic writing.


Phraseology and Patterns, Academic Writing, Epistemic Modality, Research Articles, Rhetoric

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.5p.127


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