When the unconventional becomes convention: epistemic stance in English as a lingua franca research articles
In the last decade numerous studies have been published in the field of English as an academic lingua franca (academic ELF). The majority of them, however, are devoted to the speaking mode. The present paper investigates written academic ELF texts – research articles in the social sciences and humanities. It explores the ways in which L2 speakers express epistemic stance in their texts and analyzes ELF-specific non-conventional forms of epistemic stance expressions. I use data from the SciELF corpus (https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/english-as-a-lingua-franca-in-academic-settings/research/wrelfa-corpus/scielf-corpus), which is unique in that it allows the study of academic texts written by L2 speakers in their unedited form. To uncover whether non-conventional expressions are also used in published academic texts, and to gain a deeper understanding of the extent to which variability in language use is accepted in published texts, I use the Google Scholar database as a reference corpus. My analysis shows that L2 authors creatively exploit linguistic resources to express epistemic stance, demonstrating considerable variability in language use. Findings also indicate that some non-conventional expressions are found in published texts.