The effects of metaphorical constructions in texts written in academic context
ABSTRACT This study addresses the effect of metaphorical constructions present in the information flow in texts written by novice writers in a Brazilian academic context. Halliday conceives of grammatical metaphors as constructions/wordings realized in the lexicogrammatical stratum of the language which allow for the “variation of the expression of meanings” (1994:341). Metaphorical wordings create higher lexical density and complex grammatical constructions in technical and academic texts. Ideational grammatical metaphors produce an effect in the information flow of the text allowing for “the creation of abstract technical terms; for the condensation of previous information into a single word that can be used to move the text along; for the effect of removing time and agents responsible for actions” (Fatonah, 2014:90). The hypothesis of this study was that the written texts produced by novice writers in academic contexts contain metaphorical constructions which contribute for the information flow and for the informational quality of the texts. The nature of this study is qualitative and interpretive; its corpus comprises 384 texts written by Brazilian students enrolled in the first semester of an undergraduate Course of Letters. The texts resulted from five different writing tasks. The data were analysed to identify and systematize the metaphorical constructions and their respective effects in the texts. The results revealed low occurrence of ideational grammatical metaphors. The study contributes to mapping the writing ability of novice writers and to (re)consider pedagogical writing practices of academic literacy.