Interaction Markers in the Written Output of Learners of English: the Case of Gender
Background and Purpose: Employing stance and engagement markers can clearly indicate writers’ intentions and opinions in the text. The present study was conducted to examine Iranian EFL learners' use of interaction markers in balancing the reader-writer relationship in their written tasks.
Methods and Materials: This study involved 14 male and 16 female participants, who took a writing task after being evaluated for their language levels. The tasks were anonymously coded and scored by two raters, and a checklist was developed for keeping a record of the frequency of stance and engagement markers. The differences between the two sets were investigated by t-test and Mann Whitney U test.
Results: The mean age of participants (ranging from 19 to 30 years) was 20.60±1.01. The male and female participants were highly similar in their language levels; however, they had used stance and engagement markers differently, i.e. the frequency of engagement markers (221 cases) exceeded that of the stance markers (99 cases). T-test revealed no significant difference in their using stance markers; however, there was a slight difference in their use of engagement markers.
Conclusion: The participants did use stance and engagement markers differently. They used the reader-oriented markers more than the writer-oriented markers. No significant difference in the performance of male and female participants was observed in using stance markers but there was a slight difference for engagement markers.
Key Words: Interaction Markers; Stance; Engagement; Writing Instruction; Gender.