Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 09:47:32 +0100 From: Aleksandar Carapic Subject: Metadiscourse: Exploring Interaction in Writing
AUTHOR: Hyland, Ken TITLE: Metadiscourse SUBTITLE: Exploring Interaction in Writing SERIES TITLE: Continuum Guides to Discourse PUBLISHED: 2005 PUBLISHER: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd
Aleksandar Čarapić, University of Belgrade
This volume provides an accessible introduction to metadiscourse, discussing its role and importance in written communication. It explores examples from a wide range of texts from business, journalism, academia and student writing to present a new theory of metadiscourse. The final section of the book explores the importance of metadiscourse for teachers and students, and details its practical advantages and applications in the writing class. Accessibly written and packed with examples, Metadiscourse is an essential introduction for students of applied linguistics, language teachers and academics.
Kan Hyland has arranged 9 individual chapters into three sets: Section 1 ''What is metadiscourse'' (1-60) focuses on the key elements of metadiscourse such as its development, notion, and model; it clarifies some of the assumptions and conception of the term and provides a new categorization scheme. Section 2 ''Metadiscourse in practice'' (61-171) deals with issues related to discursive and pragmatic aspects of metadiscourse such as those of rhetoric, genre, culture, and community. It aims to elucidate the way in which metadiscourse research has been undertaken as well as how contributes to the study of language in use. The first part of the Section 3 entitled ''Issues and implications'' (104- 203) is more concerned with the applied linguistics aspects of metadiscourse, i.e. metadiscourse in the teaching practice, while the second part deals with some unresolved issues pointing forward to further research in the area.
Chapter 1 ''First impressions'' (3-15) starts with a brief overview of metadiscourse. In addition, the author elaborates view according to which all kinds of speech or writing include expressions, which refer to the text producer, the imagined receiver, and the evolving text itself. Such expressions are traditionally considered as metadiscourse. In other words, metadiscourse are those ''aspects of text which explicitly organize a discourse or the writer's stance towards either its content or the reader.'' (p.14). The concept of metadiscourse is based on view of writing or speaking as a social and communicative engagement, offering a means of understanding the ways we project ourselves into our texts to manage our communicative intentions. Despite the fact that the concept motivated extensive interest, its descriptive and explanatory potential has remained undeveloped.
In Chapter 2 ''Definitions, issues and classifications'' (16-36) K. Hyland evaluates a range of approaches to metadiscourse definition. He also deals with propositional and metadiscourse. The author advocates a functional approach to the analysis of metadiscourse. Following Halliday (1994), he particularly pays attention to the following language functions: the ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual function. There is a separate subchapter, which deals with another important notion related to this concept: metadiscourse signals. There are two categorizations of metadiscourse. The first one is based on Vande Kopple's two-part classification: (1) textual metadiscourse which includes text connectives, code glosses, validity markers, and narrators; (2) interpersonal metadiscourse which includes illocution markers, attitude markers, and commentaries. The second lies in Crimsore et al.'s distinction: textual and interpersonal metadiscourse.
Chapter 3 ''A metadiscourse model'' (37-60) establishes three basic principles of metadiscourse: (1) metadiscourse is distinct from propositional aspect of discourse, (2) metadiscourse expresses writer- reader interactions, and (3) metadiscourse distinguishes external and internal relations. It leads further to a classification of metadiscourse, which has been proposed in Hyland's earlier works. It is based on interactive and interactional dimensions: while the first one helps to guide the reader through the text, latter is involving the reader in the text. In subchapter, which is focused on the metadiscourse resources, the author makes interactive resources (transition markers, frame markers, endophoric markers, evidentials, and code glosses) and interactional resources (hedges, boosters, attitude markers, self- mention, engagement markers) distinction.
Chapter 4 ''Metadiscourse and rhetoric'' (63-86), which is the opening chapter of Section 2, starts with the concept of rhetoric. In addition, the author argues rhetorical relevance for academic discourse. In the subchapter ''Metadiscourse, ethos, and The Origin of Species'', Hyland elaborates the significance of ethos in the establishing a successful academic writing based on the view that ''metadiscourse provides a perspective on author-reader interactions that broadens our view of ethos'' (p. 67). Charles Darwin's famous and highly prestigious text The Origin of Species is a case study, i.e. Darwin's use of modality markers (hedges and boosters), attitude markers and commentary in his text. Two final subchapters are dealing with business discourse and metadiscourse relations as well as with the analysis of metadiscourse and rhetoric in company annual reports. Aims of these analyses are twofold: they can show linguist how to undertake metadiscourse research, but they also ''may help students of academic and business communication how to develop more effective rhetorical and verbal repertoire to better operate in the professional domains in which they will find themselves.'' (p. 85).
At the very beginning of Chapter 5 ''Metadiscourse and genre'' (87- 112) it is claimed that a central aspect of metadiscourse is its dependency of context, the closeness between the norms and expectations of those who use it and in particular setting. He continues theoretical discussion the concept of genre and relations between metadiscourse and genre. In the succeeding subchapters he gives overview and analysis of metadiscourse in academic research articles, in popular science articles, and finally, in introductory textbooks. In the final part of the chapter Hyland comes to the following conclusions: metadiscourse helps the research writers to establish their voice ''which balances confidence and circumspection, facilitates collegial respect, and seeks to locate propositions in the concerns and interests of the discipline'' (p. 112); the role of metadiscourse in popular science article is helping the authors to present findings as relevant and newsworthy; for the authors of textbooks metadiscourse provides a means of presenting an authoritative authorial stance and of engaging with readers while setting out information as facts as explicitly as possible'' (p. 112) All of the above patterns help the authors to achieve their rhetorical goals and to define genres and contexts in which they write.
Chapter 6 ''Metadiscourse and culture'' (113-137) focuses on culture and on use of metadiscourse in other languages as well as on writings in English by native speakers of those languages. Reviewing relationship between language and culture, Ken Hyland starts with highlighting three perspectives on culture adopted from Atkinson: Received views of culture, Postmodern views of culture, and Cultural studies views of culture. The author mostly relies on the relationship between language and culture as it was established in the field of Contrastive Rhetoric (RC), which actively uses the notion of culture to explain differences in writing texts and writing practices. He gives an overview of metadiscourse across languages -- nominalization in Japanese, indirectness in Chinese, implicitness and theme in Finnish, and reflections in Thai. In addition, he examines Spanish and English editorials and articles, Finnish and English essays. These findings help to create a descriptive understanding of variation of in the written discourses of various languages and language using groups. Subchapter ''Interactive metadiscourse in English'' deals with transitions and frame markers. The subsequent subchapter ''Interactional metadiscourse'' is focused on boosters, hedges, and engagement. Closing this chapter, Hyland concludes that the role of culture in writing is controversial -- while CR helps ''teachers and writers avoid getting trapped in English in an Anglophone cultural ethnocentrism where non-English writing practices appear as deviant anomalies.'' (p.136). Researchers lately become ''sensitive to community based orientation to literacy, so that differences in the use of metadiscourse should be understood not only in relation to national culture of the writer, but also in relation to the genre and immediate discourse community to which the text is addressed.'' (p. 137).
Chapter 7 ''Metadiscourse and community'' (138-171) aims to show how close are relationships of metadiscourse practices and social activities, cognitive styles, epistemological beliefs, and academic communities. It starts with the concept of community, which is a key idea in discourse analysis considering that researchers become more insightful to the ways genres are written, used and responded to by individuals acting as members of social groups. The author discusses issues related to community, academic writing and metadiscourse. He is concerned with metadiscourse variation and interactional metadiscourse in articles across disciplines as well in textbooks across disciplines. He focuses on the main patterns such as hedges and boosters, self-mention, attitude markers, engagement markers. Another group of patterns in interactional metadiscourse in articles across disciplines are endophorics and evidentials. Summarizing the chapter Hyland reminds that research articles in the chapter show that metadiscourse is sensitive to differences in the ways disciplines understand the world and conduct their practices. Pedagogic texts reveal similar disciplinary differences in writers' use of metadiscourse, attitudes to knowledge approaches to instructions.
Chapter 8 ''Metadiscourse in the classroom'' (175-193) is the opening chapter of Section 3. The author is trying to consider what the study of metadiscourse offers language teachers and how they might go about putting it in use. In subchapter ''Students, writing and audience awareness'' Hyland claims that ''metadiscourse is a central feature of communication since when we have correctly assessed both the readers' resources for interpreting a text and their likely responses to it can we reconstruct our arguments effectively.'' (p. 175) In addition he represents advantages of teaching metadiscourse features. He outlines three main advantages to students: first, it helps them to better understand the cognitive demands that texts make on the readers and the ways writers can assist them to process information; secondly, it provides them with resources to express a stance towards their statements; thirdly, it allows them negotiate this stance and engage in a community-appropriate dialogue with readers. He also sketches twelve possible contributions that metadiscourse can make to texts. Focused on teaching principles, Hyland ''suggests that teacher need to consider the following elements: (1) the writer's needs; (2) the writer's prior writing and learning experiences; (3) the role of language in expressing functions; (4) the importance of social interactions; (5) the use of authentic texts; (6) the role of audience and community practices.'' (p. 181). Text analysis, manipulating texts, understanding audiences, and creating texts are discussed as teaching strategies.
Chapter 9 ''Issues and directions'' (194-203) is the final part of the volume. Ken Hyland revisits the main issues raised in this discussion in order to highlight some of the key features and to stress the significance of metadiscourse as a systemic means of studying interactions, and to look forward to future directions.
Metadiscourse by Ken Hyland will be useful textbook for both beginners (and/or for students) who are interested in studying metadiscourse and also for scholars and researchers in this field, because it gives a comprehensive overview of concept of metadiscourse guiding a reader through issues related to this notion systematically. It provides scientific toolkits for future courses on related subjects in discourse linguistics. I entirely agree with Professor Vijay K. Bhatia who says, ''In this engaging and highly insightful account of multifunctional metadiscourse, Ken Hyland expertly re- examines the relationship between writers and readers through the mediation of texts to highlight the interactive nature of discourse as social engagement. The book gives a new meaning and direction to study of form-function relationships in the analysis of discourse and the ways it is embedded in the wider contexts of genre, culture and society.'' Despite of different and critically oriented views of metadiscourse (cf. Ifantidou 2005), Hyland's book represents a valuable and comprehensive study, which not only imposes relevant questions, but provides valid answers in regards to this subject establishing new directions for the future investigations.
Connor, U. (2002) ''New directions in contrastive rhetoric''. TESOL Quarterly, 36: 493-510.
Dahl, T. (2004) ''Textual metadiscourse in research articles: a marker of national culture or of academic discipline''. Journal of Pragmatics, 36:1807-25.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar (2nd edn). London: Edward Arnold.
Hyland, K. (1999) ''Talking to Students: Metadiscourse in Introductory Coursebooks''. English for Specific Purposes, 18 (1): 3-26.
Ifantidou, E. (2004) ''The semantics and pragmatics of metadiscourse''. Journal of Pragmatics, 37:1325-53.
Paltridge, B. (1995) ''Working with genre: A pragmatic perspective''. Journal of Pragmatics, 24: 393-406.
Renkema, J. (2004) Introduction to Discourse Studies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Aleksandar Čarapić is writing the final version of his thesis on _The Pragmatic Analysis of Verbs in Narrative Model of Dubravka Ugrešić_ (University of Belgrade, Department of General Linguistics). His interests lie in the areas of discourse linguistics and critical discourse analysis, e.g. text strategies, text typology, cohesion, genres. He has published a few academic articles in Serbian as well as review articles both in Serbian and in English.