A multi-dimensional contrastive study of English abstracts by native and nonnative writers

Cao, Yan and Xiao, Richard (2013) A multi-dimensional contrastive study of English abstracts by native and nonnative writers. Corpora, 8 (2). pp. 209-234. ISSN 1749-5032

[thumbnail of cor%2E2013%2E0041]
PDF (cor%2E2013%2E0041)
cor_2E2013_2E0041.pdf - Published Version

Download (218kB)


This article takes the multidimensional analysis (MDA) approach to explore the textual variations between native and nonnative English abstracts on the basis of two matching balanced corpora composed of English abstracts written respectively by native English and native Chinese writers from twelve academic disciplines. A total of 47 out of 163 linguistic features are retained after factor analysis, which underlies a seven-dimension framework representing seven communicative functions. The results show that the two corpora as a whole have significant difference on five out of the seven dimensions. To be more specific, native English writers demonstrate a more active involvement and commitment in presenting their ideas than Chinese writers. They also use intensifying devices more frequently. In contrast, Chinese writers show stronger preferences for conceptual elaboration, passives and abstract noun phrases no matter whether the two types of data are examined as a whole or variations in disciplines are taken into account. The results are discussed in relation with the possible reasons and suggestions for English abstract writing in China. Methodologically, this study innovatively expands the MDA model by integrating colligation in addition to grammatical and semantic features.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Additional Information:
© Edinburgh University Press
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? multidimensional analysisresearch article abstractsacademic writingcontrastive analysischinesegeneral psychologylinguistics and languagegeneral arts and humanitieslanguage and linguisticspsychology(all)arts and humanities(all)discipline-based research ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
26 Apr 2013 21:41
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 09:19