Metadiscourse variations in some Zambian female and male written discourses on political matters : the case of Post Newspaper opinion articles.

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Chipeta, Nelia
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The University of Zambia
This study sought to investigate variations in the use of metadiscourse (MD) markers between females and males in Post newspaper opinion articles on political matters. Specifically, the study compared the frequencies of interactive MD markers as well as interactional MD markers used by females and males in their opinion articles. Additionally, it described the interactive MD markers and interactional metadiscourse markers that were unique to females and males in the articles. A mixed methods approach was employed in the collection and analysis of data. Maximum variation technique was used to sample a total of 150 articles (75 written by females and 75 written by males) published in Post newspaper during the period 2011 to 2015. They were collected from National Archives of Zambia by using a phone camera and later printed out in word format to constitute a corpus of 120 000 words (60 000 words from female articles and 60 000 words from male articles). The results revealed that there were variations in the use of interactive MD markers and interactional MD markers between females and males. At the overall level of MD, out of the 5241 interactive MD markers and 5553 interactional MD markers present in the corpus, males used 2,734 and 2,784 respectively while females used 2507 and 2769 respectively. In the subcategories of MD, the results showed that females used more interactive MD markers such as code glosses (exemplification), frame markers (topic shift), and transition markers (causation, comparison, contradiction and consequence) than males. Similarly, females used more interactional MD markers such as hedges than males. Additionally, tests run using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 to determine whether these variations were statistically significant or not revealed that some variations were statistically significant while others were not. Furthermore, the study confirmed that some markers were unique to female and male writers in the interactive and interactional categories. In spite of these variations, females and males showed more similarities than differences in the use of MD markers in their articles. Thus, the study concludes that although gender seems to be an important variable in the use of MD markers, especially in the subcategories, it is not the only factor influencing the variations in the use of these markers as the genre of a newspaper opinion article, the culture of the writers as well as the writers’ personal writing styles or preferences also seem to influence the choice of MD markers. Thus, the study recommends a genre-specific approach to the use of MD resources for pedagogical purposes to ensure the production of texts with appropriate metadiscourse usage.
Metadiscourse. , Discourse analysis, Narrative. , English language--Discourse analysis.