Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 2 June 2023                                             Pp. 360-377

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Asserting Authorial Identity through Stance and Voice: Expert vs. Novice Scientific

Nurul Naimmah Hamdan
Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Corresponding Author:

Ummul K. Ahmad
Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia


Received:02/24/2023                     Accepted:06/23/2023                 Published: 06/29/2023


Successful scientific writers make use of various lexico-grammatical features to assert their authorial voice in ways that their target audience finds most convincing. While many studies have focused on the use of stance markers in scientific writing, very few have reported on the voice construction of Malaysian scientific writers. To address this, this paper reports a three-way comparative study of stance-taking made by Malaysian scientific writers, their international counterparts as well as novice writers. Analyses were conducted on a 1.2-million-word corpus of 212 published research articles written by local and international writers and 14 unpublished papers by local writers. Using Hyland’s (2005b) taxonomy of authorial stance markers, we found that both Malaysian experts and their international counterparts displayed similar patterns, albeit different approaches to stance-taking. In particular, Malaysian experts were found to prefer boosters the most when establishing their niche, while their international counterparts chose to use first-person plural pronouns and hedges for positioning their results. Novice writers, on the other hand, consistently showed a lack of strategies but tended to take an attitudinal stance in the discussion and conclusion segments. The differences found in novice and expert writers as well as between Malaysian writers and their international counterparts, point towards the complexity of stance-taking and stance-marking in research writing. This study shows that linguistics devices for marking attitudinal commitments towards propositions possibly mark individual aspects of voice and contribute to a broader conception of a writer’s self-representation within a text.
Keywords: authorial identity, novice vs. experts, scientific writing, stance-taking, voice

Cite as: Hamdan, N. N., & Ahmad, U. K. (2023). Asserting Authorial Identity through Stance and Voice: Expert vs. Novice Scientific Writers. Arab World English Journal, 14 (2) 360-377.


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Received: 02/24/2023   
Accepted: 06/23/2023 
Published: 06/29/2023  

Nurul Naimmah Hamdan is an English language instructor in Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Her research interests include academic/scientific discourse, corpus-based analyses and computer assisted language learning. This research paper is a partial requirement for obtaining a PhD from the same research university. ORCID:

Dr. Ummul Khair Ahmad is an Associate Professor at Language Academy, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Her main research areas are second language writers, academic/scientific discourse and corpus-based analyses. ORCID: