Writer Visibility in TESOL Research Articles by Japanese Writers

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Keiko Kawaguchi, Shibaura Institute of Technology; Ritsuko Ohta, Keio University; Tae Ito, Toyota Technological Institute

Reference Data:

Kawaguchi, K., Ohta, R., & Ito, T. (2016). Writer visibility in TESOL research articles by Japanese writers. In P. Clements, A. Krause, & H. Brown (Eds.), Focus on the learner. Tokyo: JALT.

First-person pronoun usage in research articles is a complex issue in writing instruction. Recent corpus-based research has shown that first-person pronouns are one of the resources that writers use to establish visibility in their writing, which is in turn closely related to presenting findings successfully and gaining approval from the discourse community. However, some Japanese EFL teachers seem to instruct students to avoid the first person. The present study addresses this writer visibility issue by investigating first-person pronouns used in 2 journals in the field of TESOL: one based in Japan and the other in the US. The corpus used for analysis comprised 63 articles from issues of these journals published at three points of time in the past 20 years. The analysis showed that frequencies of first-person pronouns in the Japanese journal were significantly lower, and the range of communicative functions served by first-person pronouns was narrower.