A Corpus-Based Study on Reporting Verbs Used in Doctoral Dissertations by Chinese EFL Learners

Yanhong Peng, Jing Dai


Reference to previous studies is an indispensable component in the academic discourse. Based on a self-built corpus, this study aims to analyze the use of reporting verbs in doctoral dissertations written by Chinese EFL learners with both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The findings show that Chinese EFL learners show a preference for citing previous studies as Discourse Acts. The absence of certain subtypes of Research Act verbs and Cognitive Act verbs reveals the reluctance of Chinese EFL learners to convey a critical viewpoint or judge the cited materials as false or incorrect. In terms of tense, simple present tense is most frequently used in the corpus to refer to previous studies as accepted facts. As for voice, active voice plays a dominant role in the corpus with a high proportion of 92.14%. At the same time, a small percentage of passive voice is used by writers to emphasize the essential contribution of certain cited scholars.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/eltls.v5n5p166


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