A Contrastive Study of Reporting in Master’s Theses in Native Chinese and in Native English
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Previous studies mainly focus on reporting practices of English-language writing either by native-speakers-of-English or second-language learners of English. This study investigates similarities and differences of reporting between Chinese theses by native-speakers-of-Chinese and English theses by native-speakers-of-English from four aspects: integral-ness & prominece, reporting forms, categories and tense of reporting verbs, and functions of reporting. 80 theses for master’s degree are collected from 8 disciplines, among which 40 are Chinese theses and 40 are English theses. Generally speaking, English writers use more reporting statements than Chinese writers, including integral citations and non-integral citations. Summary and generalization are used most frequently in both Chinese data and English data in five reporting forms. English writers use more reporting statements in each reporting form. Textual and research verbs are employed more frequently in English corpus than in Chinese corpus, but mental verbs occur in Chinese corpus more frequently. Tense of reporting verbs in Chinese is more completed than those in English. Three reporting functions are identified in Chinese and English data, among which background is used most frequently while support is least used. Findings of this study can be used as a basis for investigating why Chinese learners of English use reporting language differently compared with native speaker of English, and also can shed light on pedagogical implication of teaching academic writing to Chinese learners of English.