Writer/reader visibility in young learner writing: A study of the TRAWL corpus of lower secondary school texts


  • Ingrid Kristine Hasund University of Agder
  • Hilde Hasselgård University of Oslo




genre, writer/reader visibility, learner corpora, young learner writing, EFL writing


A pervasive finding in learner corpus research is that advanced EFL learners tend to overuse interactional features of writer/reader visibility (WRV) in their written academic texts, including first- and second-person pronouns, I think, modal adverbs, modal auxiliaries, and questions. Very little research has been done on younger learners, however. The present study is a mixed-methods investigation of WRV features in argumentative and expository genres in the TRAWL longitudinal corpus of learner texts from Norwegian lower secondary school. Comparisons are made with more advanced levels (undergraduate university students) using the Norwegian component of ICLE, ICLE-NO.

The results show that the TRAWL pupils use many WRV features in their writing, first-person reference being especially frequent (with I dominating). Compared to the advanced learners in ICLE-NO, the TRAWL learners overuse some, but not all, features. One explanation for the high frequency of WRV features in TRAWL is that the prompts – both argumentative and expository – often request a personal style. Some expository prompts and texts are more impersonal, but overall there is little distinction between the genres. The pedagogical implications are that instructors need to be more specific about genre requirements, and create more obligatory prompts that do not request a personal style.


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How to Cite

Hasund, I. K., & Hasselgård, H. (2022). Writer/reader visibility in young learner writing: A study of the TRAWL corpus of lower secondary school texts. Journal of Writing Research, 13(3), 447–472. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2022.13.03.04