Voice in Short Argumentative Texts Written by Undergraduate Learners of English

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 University of Kashan

2 University of Tehran

Abstract

The present study explored the intensity level of authorial voice in relation to the quality of argumentative writing. 42 undergraduate learners of English as a foreign language (36 girls and 6 boys) spent 45 minutes to individually complete in-class position-taking writing tasks for three weeks. Their overall academic writing quality scores assigned based on portfolio assessment were studied in relation to their voice expression quantified using a voice intensity rating scale (VIRS). Findings indicated that, among the components of authorial voice, only “assertiveness” showed a positive moderate relationship with academic writing quality (r=0.45, p≤ 0.05). In the follow-up qualitative analyses of voice-expression strategies, interviews with participants whose voice intensity had been rated either as the strongest or as the weakest showed nine strategies for voice expression. At the sentence-level, high-voice participants most frequently used intensifiers to express assertiveness, while low-voice writers tried to use other lexico-grammatical tools. At the text-level, both high-voice and low-voice participants were concerned about the effect of the topic on their voice expression. The findings imply that undergraduate English as a foreign language writers do try to express voice and that the required strategies can be one of the targets of EFL writing research and instruction.

Keywords


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