From one I to another: Discursive construction of self-representation in English and Castilian Spanish research articles

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Journal Article
English for Specific Purposes, 2009, 28 (4), pp. 251 - 265
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The notion that academic writing is not only a conventional entity but also carries the representation of the writer has been supported by several researchers. Few studies have explored identity representation in language across two written cultures, such as English and Spanish, although Spanish might be a language of interest for non-native speakers due to its international dynamism. This study explores the different identities behind first-person roles in English and Spanish by drawing on Ivanic's (1998) pioneering typology of identity, refined in Tang and John (1999) and Starfield and Ravelli (2006), and elaborated further in this study. The corpus is comprised of 18 English and 18 Spanish research articles (RAs) in Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching. The results of the analysis reveal some similarities and considerable differences in the distribution of the first-person forms throughout the articles. One commonality is that English and Spanish writers orient the reader through self-references. However, in other roles the writers in both languages inhabit the text in distinct ways, suggesting that the construction of self-representation is not homogenous across these written cultures. The paper also draws attention to self-representation in the teaching of academic writing in EAP and SAP (Spanish for academic purposes) courses. © 2009 The American University.
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