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EXPLORING THE USE OF METADISCOURSE MARKERS IN MODULE ASSIGNMENTS AMONG POSTGRADUATE SAUDI STUDENTS

M. Althiyabi, H. Assalahi

King Abdul-Aziz University (SAUDI ARABIA)
This study aimed to explore the use of metadiscourse markers in module assignments written by postgraduate students at an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at a university in Saudi Arabia. There is an emerging research interest in metadiscourse and its implications for academic writing especially among postgraduate students. Metadiscourse is a reflective tool that writers utilise to organize their texts and maintain a communicative engagement with readers and there is a correlation between the prevalence of metadiscourse markers in composition and quality writing. Research has identified several issues pertaining to the improper use of metadiscourse markers in postgraduate theses and research articles written by non-native speakers, but little attention has been paid to the use of metadiscourse markers in postgraduate modules writing. This research study investigates the frequency of metadiscourse markers used in module assignments by postgraduate students. Informed by Hyland’s (2005) interpersonal model of metadiscourse this quantitative study analysed a corpus composed of 30 MA module assignments. The findings revealed that the corpus incorporated (21.12%) interactional and (78.88) interactive metadiscourse markers and therefore the interactional stances of writers and engagement of readers seem to be predominantly jeopardized. The most frequently used metadiscourse markers were transitions and hedges. The findings of this study have significant pedagogical implications both for metadiscourse theorists and practitioners. These issues are highlighted and a number of recommendations pertaining to postgraduate students and MA in TESOL program providers in Saudi Arabia and beyond are suggested.