Linguistic characteristics of online academic forum posts across subregisters, L1 backgrounds, and grades

Duygu Candarli

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    68 Downloads (Pure)


    This study examines an under-explored interactive register of discipline-specific online academic forum posts in higher education. 881 academic forum posts written by postgraduate students were analysed, using an additive multi-dimensional (MD) analysis. Four dimensions of linguistic variation were compared across the two first language backgrounds (L1 Chinese and L1 English), three subregisters (application design, business scenario, and discussion), and grades. The results indicated that the forum posts written by two L1 backgrounds, three subregisters, and grades significantly differed in terms of dimensions of linguistic variation. The findings have important implications for writing instruction and assessment in higher education. One of the significant implications of the present study is that both first and second language writers need to have mastery of informational and elaborated discourse features (nouns, phrasal coordination) to write successful academic forum posts at graduate level. Writing instructors may provide successful model texts for relatively new registers so that L2 writers can meet the multiple demands of online academic forum posts, including interacting with peers and supporting their ideas with academic literature.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number103190
    Number of pages20
    Early online date5 Oct 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


    • Academic discussion posts
    • Corpus linguistics
    • Multi-dimensional analysis
    • Online forum posts
    • Second language writing
    • Writing assessment

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Linguistics and Language


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