Metadiscourse in Online Opinion Writing: Communicating the role of the writer

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Metadiscourse is a framework for a set of explicit linguistic devices used to organize the discourse and to present and modify the attitudes
and evaluations of the author. While different types of metadiscoursal items are frequent in opinion writing intended to be clear and persuasive, metadiscourse across online genres of opinion writing is still an understudied area. This corpus-based study explores the functions metadiscourse has in opinion writing published on English-language journalistic websites, focusing on genre-specific co-occurrence patterns of metadiscourse markers with different functions. A multidimensional analysis of register variation is conducted on a corpus of 285,000 word tokens compiled from
websites of newspapers, online news publishers and blogs on political or societal topics. The results indicate that the writers’ use of metadiscourse is linked to the perceived appropriate style and the role the writer chooses to establish in relation to the reader. Three distinct rhetorical styles of metadiscourse emerge from the co-occurrence patterns extracted: writers
may choose to (1) refer to themselves and their personal evaluation, (2) address or direct the reader and signpost to guide reader comprehension, or (3) use the inclusive “we” pronoun that unites both the writer and the reader under an expression of solidarity. When comparing the rhetoric on different kinds of websites, opinion writing on personal blogs uses self-oriented rhetorical style more often than online news publishers, which are more likely to opt for more reader-oriented or writer-reader solidarity oriented styles. The rhetorical style used in institutional blogs, however, bears closer resemblance to that of news sites than to that used in personal blogs. The study shows that a statistical method such asmultidimensional analysis is useful also in the analysis of a pragmatic phenomenon such as metadiscourse.
StatusPublicerad - 23 sep 2017
MoE-publikationstypEj behörig
EvenemangVienna Student Conference of Anglophone Studies - University of Vienna, Vienna, Österrike
Varaktighet: 21 sep 201723 sep 2017
Konferensnummer: 1


KonferensVienna Student Conference of Anglophone Studies

Citera det här

Biri, Y. I. (2017). Metadiscourse in Online Opinion Writing: Communicating the role of the writer. Artikel presenterad vid Vienna Student Conference of Anglophone Studies, Vienna, Österrike.