The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.226-246
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 15 Feb 2021 Revised 14 Mar 2021 Accepted 25 Mar 2021

Authorial References in Single-Author Research Articles of L2 English Student Writers and L1 English Authors
Yeon Hee Choi
Professor, Dept. of English Education, Ewha Womans Univ, Tel: 02-3277-2655 (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The current study aims to explore to what extent L2 English student writers make their authorial presence explicit or implicit, using personal and impersonal authorial references in Applied Linguistics single-author research articles (RAs) throughout the whole RA or across article sections, compared to L1 English expert writers. The study constructed an L2 English corpus of 33 RAs written by Korean postgraduates and an L1 English corpus of 25 RAs written by L1 English scholars. It analyzed the frequency of four types of personal or impersonal authorial references in the two corpora: first-person singular and plural pronouns, their-person NPs and inanimate NPs. The results of the study revealed predominant use of inanimate NPs, abstract rhetors, in the two corpora; yet, author group variations were also noted from underuse of first-person singular and plural pronouns, overuse of third-person NPs, and less section-specific use of authorial references in the L2 English student writer corpus; and from preferred choice of specific impersonal self-reference expressions between the corpora. The findings from the study suggest not only the influence of impersonal written discourse style but also that of L2 English student writers’ native language, culture and literacy practice, and their status in the academic community and publication context, on their authorial references.

Keywords: authorial reference, authorial presence, self-reference, personal, impersonal, explicit, implicit, research articles, L1 English, L2 English, student writers

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