A genre analysis of PhD dissertation acknowledgements

Wenhsien Yang



This study examined PhD dissertation acknowledgements (DA) written by EFL authors in an English-speaking context. A total of 120 texts from six different disciplines were collected as the study corpus. The study attempted to investigate whether or not the variable of discipline would exercise influences on the construction of DA in terms of their generic structure and linguistic choices made to modify thanking acts. It is found that subtle variations existed in employing strategies of writing DA between soft science and hard science PhD students. A number of factors contributed to the diversity, including the area of research, academic conventions, exposure to English, language proficiency, and socio-cultural norms or expectations. In addition, the study also suggests that ESP practitioners attend to genre analysis of DA at both macro and micro levels in order to develop ESP learners’ awareness of broad socio-cultural and narrow linguistic perspectives as they learn to construct appropriate dissertation acknowledgements. 

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