Predicting the variation in stance-taking: the use of evaluative-that in English as a lingua franca academic writing

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This corpus-based study explores distinctive epistemic stance-taking features of ELF research writing in terms of evaluative that-clauses use. Data from two sets of corpora were compared. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted to reveal the variation concerning four dimensions of evaluative-that pattern and their rhetorical effects on communication. The findings demonstrate that ELF writers deploy an extended range of evaluative-that controlling verbal predicates and make significantly higher use of stance nouns to embellish their research. The results also indicate that ELF writers exhibit greater writer visibility than native cohorts to present their identities as problem solvers and creative interpreters. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that ELF writers tend to signal a stronger sense of epistemic certainty to legitimize research outcomes, acknowledge the truth of previous knowledge claims, and promote the effectiveness of research methods. The present study supplements the previous ELF research from an epistemic stance-taking perspective. The findings of this study have pedagogical implications for ESP/EAP teaching and learning in both the ELF context and for scholarly publication purposes.

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