Metadiscourse, cohesion, and engagement in L2 written discourse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The current study examines how L2 Chinese writers at different proficiencies employed various metadiscourse devices to shape their written descriptive discourse and also whether various metadiscourse features may distinguish levels of writing proficiency. The study also looks at how L2 learners’ use of metadiscourse devices is related to their linguistic performances in descriptive writing. The findings revealed differential metadiscourse use by learners at different proficiencies on local, global, and textual organizational dimensions. For instance, compared to low-proficiency writers, more proficient writers used significantly more conditional/hypothetical markers, frame markers, and engagement markers. Multiple metadiscourse features also demonstrated significant positive and negative correlations with each other, suggesting patterns of decreases and increases in the use of particular organizational features. Several metadiscourse features characteristic of more advanced writers also displayed positive relationships with linguistic features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • Cohesion
  • Descriptive writing
  • Global
  • Interactional
  • Interactive
  • L2 Chinese
  • Local
  • Metadiscourse
  • Text

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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