The Prevalence and Frequency of Authorial Identity among Undergraduate Students in Fiji

Jasbir Karneil Singh, Ben K. Daniel


Expressing an authoritative voice is an essential part of academic writing at university. However, the performance of the authorial self in writing is complex yet fundamental to academic success as a large part of academic assessment involves writing to the academy. More specifically, the performance of the authorial self can be complex for English as a Second Language (ESL) student-writers. This research investigated the extent to which ESL first-year students at the Fiji National University perform their authorial voice using interactional metadiscourse in their academic writing. The study employed a quantitative analysis of corpus produced by 16 Fijian ESL undergraduate students enrolled in an EAP course. The research found that the ESL authorial voice was predominantly expressed through boosters and attitude markers, with relatively little usage of other interactional metadiscoursal elements such as hedges, engagement markers and self-mentions. Further, the research showed that this particular cohort expressed their authorial voice and identity through boosted arguments and avoiding language that directly mentions the authorial self. The study concludes that the ESL authorial self for this cohort manifests itself in a selected range of selected interactional metadiscoursal elements, requiring the need to raise the awareness of self-reflective expressions for ESL students. The study also encourages further exploration of ESL authorial identity construction in academic writing at undergraduate level and beyond.


ESL, Metadiscourse, Interactional Metadiscourse, Academic Writing, Authorial Self, Authorial Identity

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