An Empirical Study on Information Prominence Reflected in Sentence Structures of Chinese College EFL Argumentative Writing

  •  Wei Ningling    


Prominence, as an important dimension of cognitive construal, refers to the capacity to evoke a certain substructure as the focus of attention, which can be materialized in a variety of semantic and grammatical expressions (langacker, 1987). Subject of a sentence (Zhang, 2011) and specific sentence structures (Lin, 2013) can bring a substructure into salience by highlighting it in a specifically grammatical place. Accordingly, the place of subject or the specific sentence structures which are applied to emphasize certain information can reflect a writer’s intention of prominence. Thus, this essay will take prominence of Langacker’s cognitive construal as theoretical basis and has an empirical study on information prominence of 20 argumentative writing papers written by Chinese college EFL learners from Leshan Normal University. By categorizing the sentences of each sample into five types of structures-link verb sentence, active sentence, passive sentence, non-finite verbs as subject and the specific sentence patterns, and referring to the statistics of sentence structure application and the specific writing contents, it is found out that the writers are inclined to highlight subjective or static information, which leads to subjectivity and powerlessness of argumentation.

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