Self-representation by First-person and Impersonal Pronouns in English Research Articles of Four Disciplines
Yang Linxiu

This paper addresses the issue of self-representation in English Research Articles of four disciplines by examining the use of first-person pronouns (I/me/my/we/our/us) and impersonal pronouns (this/the/these). The study first shows the similarities and differences in the frequency of the use of two types of selfrepresentation pronouns in the corpora of 40 single-authored research articles in the area of Physics, Biology, Linguistics and Philosophy---10 articles in each discipline. Then, it goes further to the authorial roles of these pronouns. The results show that authors of RAs in all disciplines have the tendency to use first-person pronouns to refer to themselves and their studies, which accords with the more subjective mode of academic writing in recent years. The article also shows disciplinary differences in the four authorial roles realized by two types of pronouns and elaborates the specific discourse functions of RAs. Finally we show the tendency of using plural person pronoun “we” in addressing the single author in hard disciplines. The findings of this research carry important pedagogical implications for raising RA authors‟ awareness to properly use selfrepresentation pronouns for successful publications.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v7n2a4