n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - The use of first-person pronouns in argumentative writing of Afrikaans speaking first-year students : a corpus-based investigation

Volume 49, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



The writing of academic texts in which the voice of the author figures more prominently is actively gaining support among academics. There is an increasing shift towards a more personal style of academic writing where authors, through the use of personal pronouns, are explicitly present in their texts. However, it seems as if many first-year students not only use the first-person pronoun excessively, but also find it difficult to apply the practice appropriately in their argumentative texts. This article focuses on the use of the first-person pronouns ek [I], my [me] and myns in siens [in my opinion] in the writing of Afrikaans-speaking students. A corpus-based investigation was conducted into the frequency and distribution of use throughout the three parts of an argument (introduction, content and conclusion), as well as the functional and objective application of these pronouns in an authentic learner corpus. The analysis gave insight into the use of first-person pronouns as well as potential problems pertaining thereto. In light of the findings in the particular corpus, it is recommended that Afrikaans speaking first-year students' skills in the use of first-person pronouns, should be further developed at university.

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