Coding Stance through it bundles: The case of applied linguistics

Document Type : Research Paper


English Language Center, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran


Abstract The study of linguistic devices variously referred to as stance expressions is one of the best means by which the relationship between the writer, the reader, and propositional meaning could be examined. This paper looks at a particular structural group of lexical bundles encoding stance expressions. These are bundles starting with an anticipatory it followed by is, a predicative adjective and finally ending with infinitival to or complementizer that (e.g. it is important to, it is possible that). The use of these bundles is compared in three corpora of research articles, doctoral dissertations, and master theses in the discipline of applied linguistics to explore possible generic variations and identify possible differences between published students writing. Using Hewings and Hewings's functional typology of interpersonal roles of it clauses (2002), this group of bundles is found to have three stance expressions of hedging, marking attitude, and stressing emphasis. The major difference is discovered to be between students' genres and research articles, with the former drawing less in their expression of interpersonal meanings. The differences are accounted for by referring to generic expectations, and students' growing disciplinary identity. The findings of the study have some implications for academic writing.