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Don't get me wrong! Negation in argumentative writing by Swedish and British students and professional writers

Journal article
Authors Jennifer Herriman
Published in Nordic Journal of English Studies
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 117-140
ISSN 1654-6970
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 117-140
Language en
Keywords negation, Appraisal theory, advanced learners
Subject categories Specific Languages


Negation is a means by which writers take their readers into account, anticipate their expectations and what inferences they may make, and dismiss those which are in conflict with their own. This is a pilot study comparing negation in argumentative writing in English by Swedish advanced learners, British students and professional writers in the British broadsheet press. The findings suggest that Swedish advanced learners use negation to negate interpersonal meanings (i.e. interactional and attitudinal meanings) more frequently than British students, a tendency which can be attributed to a high degree of subjective involvement generally found in Swedish advanced learners’ essays. In comparison to the professional writers, both categories of student writers use negation less frequently to negate meanings on the content level of their texts. This can be attributed to the difference in the tenor relations which professional and student writers have to their readers.

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