Contrasting English-Spanish interpersonal discourse phrases: A corpus study

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This chapter presents the results of a contrastive study of interactional phrases (discourse strategies intended to actively engage the reader in the argumentation process) as used by novice and expert writers of argumentative texts of both English and Spanish. The novice writer texts, those produced by Spanish EFL and American university writers, were compared to expert Anglo writers’ texts, opinion editorial articles. The Spanish editorials were used to trace the transfer of interactional patterns in the Spanish EFL texts. The phrases searched for in the various corpora consisted of the following types of interpersonal expressions: certainty markers, attitudinal markers and those constructions which are used for the presentation of evaluations in argumentation (adverbial phrases, such as <i>clearly, certainly</i>, etc.; <i>it </i>+ adjective phrases: <i>it is possible</i>,<i>un/likely + that/to</i>; <i>it is necessary, clear, certain, obvious, true</i>, etc., <i>+ to/that</i>; and, the transfer of the <i>se </i>passive impersonal construction from Spanish to the EFL texts). The results show that the interactional phrases used by Spanish EFL students in comparison with those used by the other three groups are influenced by incomplete mastery of the modal system, choice of adjectival lexical phrases and transfer of the reflexive passive impersonal construction from Spanish.


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