The Use of Linking Adverbials in Malaysian Students’ Argumentative Essays
1Ummul K. Ahmad & 2Low Poh Wey
1,Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Johor Bahru, MALAYSIA
2Department of English, Southern University College, Jalan Selatan Utama, Off Jalan Skudai, 81300 Skudai, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

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Many English as a Second Language (ESL) learners’ essays are deemed incoherent as they failed to signpost and facilitate readers’ understanding of their line of arguments—a task that can chiefly be accomplished through the use of appropriate and efficient use of linking devices. This study investigates the use of linking adverbials (LAs) as connective devices in argumentative essays written by pre-university students from Malaysian matriculation colleges. The learner corpus of this study comprises 95241 words from 209 argumentative essays written by students from three matriculation colleges in southern states of Malaysia. About 2465 occurrences of LAs were extracted and then coded according to Liu’s (2008) four-way categorization framework. Similar corpus of 110737 words was also extracted from BAWE corpus as reference. Malaysian learner writers overly relied on a small set of LAs and their essays largely offered one sided argumentation. Students tend to overuse ADDITIVE adverbials (e.g. furthermore) and SEQUENTIAL (e.g. next), mainly to enlist key points and rarely used the more semantically complex ADVERSATIVES (e.g. however). The corpus also revealed that certain LAs were used inappropriately. The findings offer insights for language teachers specifically writing instructors on helping students to prepare for more sophisticated writing tasks that require complex propositions and how to integrate teaching specific linguistics features such as Linking Adverbials.


linking adverbials; learner corpus; argumentative essay; second language writers


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