Investigating the Projection of Authorial Identity through First Person Pronouns in L1 and L2 English Research Articles
Jalil Abdi, Farahman Farrokhi

Recent research studies have revealed that academic writings are no longer impersonal. They not only convey the disciplinary content, but also carry a representation of the writer which is called writer identity. One aspect of writer identity is authorial identity the most visible manifestation of which is the use of first person pronouns. L2 writers often fail to use these forms appropriately to express an effective authorial presence in their writings because of the cultural differences between their L1 and L2. Therefore, this study aimed to compare and contrast the use and functions of first person pronouns in L1 and L2 research articles of Applied Linguistics (AL), Mechanical Engineering (ME), and Medicine (MED) in order to highlight both interdisciplinary and intercultural differences. To this end, 90 research articles, 45 L1 and 45 L2, were analyzed. The results of interdisciplinary comparison through Chi-square revealed remarkably higher use of first person pronouns in AL articles. However, functional analysis showed relatively more authorial use of them in MED articles. Moreover, Chi-square analysis of L1 and L2 articles indicated L2 writers’ significant underuse of first person pronouns in AL, while in ME and MED the difference was not found to be significant. Also, according to the results of functional analysis, in AL and MED, L2 writers projected higher level of authorial identity than L1 writers, while in ME it was vice versa. It is hoped that the findings of this study would help both EAP learners and teachers increase their awareness about how to use first person pronouns. This awareness would help teachers to address the use of these pronouns in more systematic and organized ways in writing courses, and learners to write more effectively in the target language.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v3n1a21