The 'revealing' pronouns: The role of 1st person pronouns in defining authorial stance in English and Russian research articles in Sociology
The use of 1st person pronouns - one of the most obvious strategies of authorial presence - and their pragmatic functions in academic texts have been the subject of many corpus-based studies. It has been shown that pronoun use can vary from discipline to discipline and from culture to culture. This paper presents a comparative study of the use of 1st-person pronouns in English and Russian research articles in sociology. The study employs both qualitative and quantitative approaches, including frequency counts and discourse analysis of a small corpus of research articles (40 single-authored articles in sociology: 20 in English and 20 in Russian). The analysis shows that the authors writing in Russian tend to use fewer 1st-person pronouns compared to the authors writing in English. Moreover, pragmatic functions of the pronouns are quite different in English and in Russian research articles. In this paper I will argue that these differences originate in the traditional collectivist approach to scholarly work that informs Russian academic discourse. In the concluding section, I discuss the implications of these findings for EAP pedagogies, especially for “English for Publication” courses.