Grammatical metaphor: Distinguishing success

Cassi L. Liardét*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents a systematic analysis of ten first-year university learners' texts. The texts are exposition essays written at the conclusion of the students' first semester of university study and collected as part of the Macquarie University Longitudinal Learner Corpus (MQLLC). The MQLLC is a longitudinal corpus that follows learners from their first year Academic Communication (AC) unit throughout their tertiary careers. These units are taught using a scaffolded, genre-based pedagogy, with explicit instruction of the linguistic resources necessary to navigate the diverse and increasingly specialised demands of tertiary study (Rothery & Stenglin, 1995). As part of a larger study into academic literacy development, this small-scale study focuses on learner deployment of grammatical metaphor, a key linguistic resource for achieving the lexical density, text cohesion and condensation valued in academic discourse (Halliday, 1993, 1998; Hyland, 2009; Martin, 1993, 2008; Schleppegrell, 2001; 2004). Specifically, this paper seeks to identify how high performing learners' deployment of grammatical metaphor differs from that of low performing students to elucidate which patterns distinguish success. The paper concludes with pedagogical recommendations for ensuring learners effectively deploy this valuable resource.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109-118
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


    • Academic communication
    • Academic literacy
    • Grammatical metaphor
    • Nominalisation


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