Addressing and Acknowledging Readers and Writers. Exploring Metadiscourse in Opinion Writing Online

Ylva Biri


Effective opinion writing should present the author’s viewpoint in a convincing way but also engage the reader. Whether the author makes more references to their own viewpoints or to the reader is determined by the context of the text. Metadiscourse is a pragmatic framework of explicit linguistic devices used to make references to the reader, the writer and their evaluations, as well as references to the textual organisation. This paper employs the corpus-driven method Multi-Dimensional Analysis to study statistically significant correlation patterns between metadiscourse markers. Four patterns emerge from a specialized corpus of opinion writing online in English by (semi-)professional writers (285,000 words). The patterns are here thought to represent writers’ strategies to define the relationship between themselves, the reader and the topic. While there are some overlaps and cross-genre tendencies, the metadiscoursal style is to some extent be determined by the prevailing norms of the sub-genre of the text – here, whether the publication platform is a blog, a news site, or the website of a print-newspaper. Blogs tend use a writer-oriented strategy with more self-mentions, and news sites a reader-oriented strategy or a solidarity strategy uniting the reader and writer under a shared “we”-pronoun. The results of the study may be of value both in understanding the journalistic online genres and for the development of the metadiscourse framework.

Pełny tekst:

PDF (English)


Ädel, Annelie (2006). Metadiscourse in L1 and L2 English. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Co.

Biber, Douglas (1988). Variation across speech and writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crismore, Avon, Raija Markkanen, Margaret S. Steffensen (1993). “Metadiscourse in persuasive writing: A study of texts written by American and Finnish university students.” Written communication. 10(1); 39–71.

Dafouz-Milne, Emma (2003). “Metadiscourse revisited: A contrastive study of persuasive writing through professional discourse.” Estudios Ingleses De La Universidad Complutense. 11; 29–52.

Dafouz-Milne, Emma (2008). “The pragmatic role of textual and interpersonal metadiscourse markers in the construction and attainment of persuasion: A cross-linguistic study of newspaper discourse.” Journal of Pragmatics. 40(1); 95–113.

Deuze, Mark (2017). “Considering a possible future for Digital Journalism.” Revista Mediterránea de Comunicación: Mediterranean Journal of Communication. 8(1); 9–18.

De Maeyer, Juliette (2012). ”The Journalistic Hyperlink.” Journalism Practice. 6(5-6); 692-701.

De Waal, Ester, Klaus Schoenbach (2010). ”News sites’ position in the mediascape: Uses, evaluations and media displacement effects over time.” New Media & Society. 12(3), 477–496.

Fu, Xiaoli, Ken Hyland (2014). “Interaction in two journalistic genres: a study of interactional metadiscourse.” English Text Construction. 7(1); 122–144.

Fuertes-Olivera, Pedro A., Marisol Velasco-Sacristán, Ascensión Arribas-Baño, Eva Samaniego-Fernández. (2001). ”Persuasion and advertising English: Metadiscourse in slogans and headlines.” Journal of pragmatics. 33(8); 1291–1307.

Greenberg, Joshua (2000). ”Opinion discourse and Canadian newspapers: The case of the Chinese "boat people".” Canadian Journal of Communication. 25(4); 517–537.

Halliday, Michael A. K. (1973). Explorations in the Functions of Language. New York: Elsevier-North Holland.

Herring, Susan (2013). “Discourse in Web 2.0: Familiar, Reconfigured, and Emergent.” [In:] Deborah Tannen, Anna Marie Trester (eds.), Discourse 2.0: Language and New Media. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press;1–26.

Hunston, Susan (2000). “Evaluation and the Planes of Discourse: Status and Value in Persuasive Texts.” [In:] Susan Hunston, Geoff Thompson (eds.), Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 176–207.

Hyland, Ken (1998). ”Persuasion and context: The pragmatics of academic metadiscourse.” Journal of pragmatics. 30(4), 437–455.

Hyland, Ken (2005). Metadiscourse: Exploring interaction in writing. London: Continuum.

Hyland, Ken, Polly Tse (2004). “Metadiscourse in academic writing: A reappraisal.” Applied Linguistics. 25(2); 156–177.

Ifantidou, Elly (2005). “The semantics and pragmatics of metadiscourse.” Journal of Pragmatics. 37(9); 1325–1353.

Kassambara, Alboukadel, Fabian Mundt (2017). “factoextra: Extract and Visualize the Results of Multivariate Data Analyses.” Retrieved from: Date: 25.2.2018

Khabbazi-Oskouei, Leila (2013). “Propositional or non-propositional, that is the question: A new approach to analyzing ‘interpersonal metadiscourse’ in editorials.” Journal of Pragmatics. 47(1); 93–107.

Le, Elisabeth (2004). “Active participation within written argumentation: Metadiscourse and editorialist’s authority.” Journal of Pragmatics. 36(4); 687–714.

Lenhart, Amanda, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, Kathryn Zickuhr (2010). “Social Media & Mobile Internet Use among Teens and Young Adults.” Pew Research Centre. Retrieved from: Date: 25.2.2018

Lu, Kristine, Jesse Holcomb (2010). ”Digital News – Revenue: Fact Sheet.” [In:] Pew Research Center, State of the News Media 2016. Retrieved from: Date: 25.2.2018

Mauranen, Anna. (1993). Cultural Differences in Academic Rhetoric: A Textlinguistic Study. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Myers, Greg (2010). Discourse of blogs and wikis. London: Continuum.

O'Donnell, Michael (2008). “The UAM CorpusTool: Software for corpus annotation and exploration.” Proceedings of the XXVI Congreso de AESLA, Almeria, Spain, 3–5 April 2008.

Pett, Marjorie A., Nancy R. Lackey, John J. Sullivan (2003). Making sense of factor analysis. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Pinjamaa, Noora, Coye Cheshire (2016). “Blogs in a changing social media environment: perspectives on the future of blogging in Scandinavia.” Twenty-Fourth European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Istanbul, Turkey. pp. 1–16. Retrieved from: Date: 27.2.2018

Precht, K. (2000). ”Patterns of stance in English.” PhD dissertation, Northern Arizona University.

Puschmann, Cornelius (2013). “Blogging.” [In:] Susan Herring, Dieter Stein, Tuija Virtanen (eds.). Pragmatics of Computer-Mediated Communication. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton; 83–108.

Reese, Stephen D., Lou Rutigliano, Kideuk Hyun, Jaekwan Jeong. (2007). “Mapping the blogosphere professional and citizen-based media in the global news arena.” Journalism. 8(3); 235–261.

Rivers, William L., Bruce McIntyre, Alison Work. (1988). Writing Opinion: Editorials. Ames, IW: Iowa State University Press.

Swales, John M. (1990). Genre analysis: English in academic and research setting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tewksbury, David (2005). ”The seeds of audience fragmentation: Specialization in the use of online news sites.” Journal of broadcasting & electronic media. 49(3), 332–348.

Thompson, Geoff, Susan Hunston (2000). “Evaluation: An Introduction.” [In:] Susan Hunston, Geoff Thompson (eds.). Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1–27.

Thompson, Geoff, Puleng Thetela (1995). “The sound of one hand clapping: The management of interaction in written discourse.” Text-Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse. 15(1); 103–128.

Vande Kopple, William J. (1985). ”Some exploratory discourse on metadiscourse.” College Composition and Communication, 36(1); 82–93.

Wall, Melissa (2005). “‘Blogs of war’: Weblogs as news.” Journalism. 6(2); 153–172.

Zhang, Man (2016). “A multidimensional analysis of metadiscourse markers across written registers.” Discourse Studies. 18(2); 204–222.



  • There are currently no refbacks.