Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice

ISSN: 2630-5984

?What I’m Speaking is almost English…?: A Corpus-based Study of Metadiscourse in Englishmedium Lectures at an Italian University

Alessandra Molino
Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Straniere e Culture Moderne, Università degli Studi di Torino, via Via Verdi, 10 - 10124, Torino Italy


This paper deals with the use of metadiscourse by Italian university lecturers who teach through the medium of English (EMI, English-Medium Instruction). The objective is to verify whether, irrespective of possible shortcomings in their mastery of the language, lecturers demonstrate sensitivity to the situational demands of the EMI classroom, paying attention to the needs of the audience. A small, specialised corpus of undergraduate university lectures in the fields of Physical Sciences and Technology will be analysed. In particular, the focus will be on references to the discourse, the code, the lecturer as speaker and the students as listeners. I will investigate what discourse functions metadiscourse markers perform, what form-function associations can be identified, and whether signs of dysfluency and non-standard forms can be found in relation to metadiscourse. The pedagogical implications of the findings will be considered and suggestions provided on how to incorporate metadiscourse in teacher training programmes. The paper will conclude with some methodological reflections on how to investigate metadiscourse in university lectures.

English-medium instruction, Metadiscourse, Impersonal metatext, Personal metatext, Audience interaction, Non-standard metadiscourse, Undergraduate lectures.