Intermediate and Advanced EFL Learners’ Identity Reflection

Document Type : Research Paper


University of Tehran


Although scientific forum has obliged its members to hide their presence particularly while they are discussing research outcomes to avoid personal biases, a recent trend is encouraging writers to demonstrate their identity as the author of the text through the use of first person pronouns in order to take responsibility for the content. Therefore, the present study focuses on intermediate and advanced EFL learners‘ adoption of first person pronouns so as to manifest their identity in argumentative and narrative writings. A total of 30 EFL intermediate and advanced students attending an IELTS preparation course were requested to write essays on narrative and argumentative topics. The comparison between their uses of self-mention pronouns revealed that there was not a significant difference between the use of first person pronouns which are adopted by advanced and intermediate learners in the use of pronouns in both modes of writing (argumentative and narrative essays). Moreover, by tallying first person pronouns, it is shown that advanced learners have exploited first person pronouns less than intermediate learners within narrative writings. In addition, it was found that learners used more first person pronouns in narrative writings than in argumentative ones. Findings imply that since argumentative writing requires logical reasoning, learners prefer to be cautious about the adoption of first person pronouns and revealing their presence to show their credible self. English language teachers are suggested to make language learners aware of the uses of self-mention pronouns while practicing different writing modes. Since the overuse of the personal pronouns as well as the absolute absence of the mentioned pronouns is not recommended in writing, explicit instruction concerning the use of self-mention in witting is recommended.