Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number2  June 2021                                               Pp.238-250

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The Use of Metadiscursive Markers in Letters of Recommendation: An Investigation of
Gender Variations

Hmoud S. Alotaibi
Department of English Language,
College of Sciences and Humanities in Dawadmi,
Shaqra University, Saudi Arabia

Received: 4/5/2021                   Accepted:      5/28/2021        Published: 6/24/2021


This study aimed to investigate gender variations in letters of recommendation. It used the metadiscourse theory with respect to the following resources: hedges, boosters, attitude markers, engagement markers, and self-mentions. The findings showed that hedges devices were the least frequent in both groups, but at the same time were used more by males compared to female recommenders. Boosters, on the other hand, were highly frequent in both corpora and, like hedges, were employed more frequently in the male group. Interestingly, while both gender groups shared using specific hedging and boosting tokens, each gender group appeared to favor using certain devices. The attitude markers were the most frequent in the two samples and appeared more in the female group. Similarly, while both groups used specific attitude markers, each gender group seemed to use specific attitude markers. The engagement markers revealed the highest divergence between the two groups, as they appeared more frequently in female letters. Finally, both gender groups employed self-mentions equally, but female letters seemed to favor using the plural forms. The study closes with some pedagogical implications by highlighting how the theory of metadiscourse can be of importance for academics.
Keywords: gender variations, interactional markers, letters of recommendation, metadiscourse

Cite as  Alotaibi, H. S. (2021). The Use of Metadiscursive Markers in Letters of Recommendation: An Investigation of Gender Variations.
Arab World English Journal, 12 (2) 238-250.


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Received: 4/5/2021
Accepted: 5/28/2021
Published: 6/24/2021   

Dr. Hmoud S. Alotaibi holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, and works now as head and
associate professor of English at Shaqra University, Saudi Arabia. His research interests
are genre analysis, academic wiring, and English for academic purposes. He published
a number of research articles and a book entitled: The Structure of the Research Article in Linguistics.