Stance in the Introductory it Construction: A Comparative Study of Argumentative Writing by Korean EFL and English L1 Students
Received: Oct 02, 2019 ; Revised: Nov 27, 2019 ; Accepted: Dec 18, 2019
Published Online: Dec 31, 2019
The construction of an introductory it followed by an extraposed subject has been found to be frequently used in academic prose. Recent research has focused particularly on rhetorical motivations for the construction and demonstrated that it provides the writer with a means of marking authorial stance while concealing its source. This study investigated how Korean EFL university students used this rhetorical device in their argumentative writing to encode stance, in comparison with a group of English L1 students. Results showed that while the Korean EFL writers used the construction far more frequently to mark attitudinal stance than their native speaker counterparts, its use was more limited in terms of lexical choice and the rhetorical function of depersonalized stance marking. Based on these findings, this paper offers suggestions on how to help EFL writers acquire the multi-faceted usage of the construction.