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Student writing of research articles in a foreign language: metacognition and corpora

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Chapter Summary

The aim of this paper is to describe the creation and use of an ESP corpus for teaching Italian undergraduate students how to write research articles in English. A metacognitive approach to reading-comprehension processes, integrated with corpus tools, was considered a prerequisite to writing activities. The students were guided in the analysis of the ways in which psychology experimental papers are structured. A corpus of psychology articles divided into moves was created (462,772 words; annotated and non-annotated parallel versions) and used in class to teach students how to analyse concordances for lexico-grammatical, and rhetorical reference in writing activities. Thanks to the availability of corpus concordances, even those students who had never used English when speaking or writing managed to produce scientific paragraphs which were grammatically and stylistically acceptable. Although the annotated files could not be used in class, the individual annotation activity carried out by the students had the primary pedagogic function of increasing awareness of the macro-structure and function-form relationships in experimental articles.



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