Reporting Verbs as Hidden Means of Signposting

Conference: The European Conference on Language Learning (ECLL2022)
Title: Reporting Verbs as Hidden Means of Signposting
Stream: Approaches
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Elena Petrova, National Research University, Russia


The paper covers signposting from an unexpected angle. Signposting refers to a 'navigation system' in a text that ensures cohesion and coherence. But signposting can also signal the author’s treatment of what is being written/said with the help of reporting verbs. Raising awareness of ‘hidden’ meanings of these verbs is critical as most books on academic writing and guidelines cover only their general meanings, omitting any implied ones. As integration in the international academic community involves publishing papers in English, that could be a challenge for non-native speakers. The paper includes the analysis of the meanings of the frequently used reporting verbs as well as the results of the survey of non-native speakers (actively publishing Russian university professors). The analysis indicates the overtures in the meanings of the verbs under discussion. In the survey, respondents had to identify the author’s attitude to the information provided, relying on the verbs used with his/her name. The results show that non-native speakers in most cases are not aware of additional meanings of these verbs. Books on academic writing, guidelines and academic writing courses should include a module that introduces non-native speakers to ‘hidden’ agenda of reporting verbs, especially for drafting a Literature Review.

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