Publication details

Defining Expert Writing Skills in the ELF Context: A Comparative Study of Academic Abstracts [presentation]



Year of publication 2011
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description While EFL education in general is still dominated by native-speaker modelling, in the field of academic and specialized writing the main focus has recently shifted towards the apprentice-expert continuum in which English functions effectively as a lingua franca. In such a context, the quality of being a model does no longer rest upon language nativeness, but on the authors' success of having their work recognized by the international expert community of their discipline. However, this success is still vastly dependent on the mastery of academic writing skills which tend to be learnt through formal education rather than acquired in a natural way. Following these assumptions, the present work-in-progress report summarizes the latest results of a comparative study of academic abstracts written in English by accomplished scholars/scientists and by students at American and Czech universities yielding insights into the issue of nativeness and the role of formal education in the context of academic writing. The main aim of the whole project is to examine the degree of correspondence between expert and apprentice academic abstracts as regards the lexicogrammatical profile (distribution of key clusters and lexical frames) and logical argument structure (frequency and position of linking devices), and to find out to what extent the differences and similarities are determined by the native language of the authors and the formal training in academic writing they might have received throughout the course of their educational experience. The analysis exploits data from three small-scale comparable corpora which were compiled specifically for the purposes of this study, and which include abstracts submitted as parts of final theses by Czech students of Masaryk University (BA and MA level), abstract sections of the MICUPS project (University of Michigan), and model expert abstracts selected from established scientific and scholarly journals.
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