The idea of constructing arguments and of student writers finding their own voice has long been a central tenet of EAP. However, with increasing dominance of essays mills and sophisticated machine translation tools there is a pressing need to define attribution more generally, and to question how best to facilitate independent student writing in the current digital age. Controversies surrounding the use of proofreading services are ongoing, and freely available translation and checking software raise further questions over the reliability of independent coursework as a means of measuring language proficiency.
The event will feature two plenaries, one in the morning and another one in the afternoon.
This paper presents an overview of genre families in assessed university student writing informed by data in the BAWE corpus, relates them to graduate attributes (through a focus on the social purposes of education in the UK), and explores the features of argumentation across disciplines.
Through examples, notably from recent MDA register analysis, I will argue that a focus on integrity, argumentation and authorial voice is less important in experimental discourse which tends to value factual explanation than in more discursive writing which tends to value individual argumentation, personal response and interpretation of evidence.
Gardner, S., Nesi, H. and Biber, D. (2019) Discipline, level, genre: Integrating situational perspectives in a new MD analysis of university student writing. Applied Linguistics. 40(4), 646-674. doi/10.1093/applin/amy005 (open access)
Nesi, H. and S. Gardner (2012) Genres across the Disciplines: Student writing in Higher Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Machine Translation (MT) quality has been developing dramatically in recent years (Lee, 2021), and there is an emerging recognition of MT as useful writing tool (Luo & Hyland, 2019) for students and academics whose first language is not English. In line with this. Bowker and Ciro (2019) have recently introduced the notion of MT Literacy as part of Digital Literacies in the academic context. Hence, this freely available and fairly sophisticated technology requires consideration in EAP, where students are likely to utilise it as facilitating tool for their academic writing. While the technology has visible strengths, it also comes with a number of limitations in terms of what and how it translates. For instance, it does not take into consideration different academic register preferences across languages, for example what may be considered suitable academic style in French and English. This also raises the question if or how MT transfers a writer’s voice from one language into another. This workshop will explore this question by first providing a brief overview of the state of play of MT and then presenting participants with MT output that they will analyse in breakout groups regarding if and how the writer’s voice is expressed and if that may be suitable to their current academic context. Finally, we will compare the group’s findings with our own and also consider the writer’s voice from the perspective of how well the MT output represents the source text. It is hoped that this will enhance participants’ understanding of the technology, and that this understanding will enable EAP teachers to train their students in the optimal use of the technology to enhance the quality of their academic output.
Bowker, L., & Ciro, J. B. (2019). Machine Translation and Global Research: Towards Improved Machine Translation Literacy in the Scholarly Community. Emerald Publishing.
Lee, S.-M. (2021). The effectiveness of machine translation in foreign language education: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 0(0), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2021.1901745
Luo, N., & Hyland, K. (2019). “I won’t publish in Chinese now”: Publishing, translation and the non-English speaking academic. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 39, 37–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2019.03.003
The event is open to a variety of formats relating to the theme of ‘integrity, argumentation and authorial voice’. As these are issues that go beyond the field of EAP, the day will aim to showcase practice and insights that cross disciplinary boundaries.
The registration will open once the programme has been announced in early autumn 2021. Please note the event will take place online and will be ticketed.
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