Die leesbaarheid van akademiese tekste : 'n tekslinguistiese ondersoek
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Research conducted in the readability of texts shows that there is an extensive problem with learners' of all phases academic skills in terms of reading comprehension and insight into writing texts in accordance with generally accepted academic standards. It is important that sufficient attention and research are devoted to possible solutions to this problem, since various theorists have found that effective reading and writing skills are of great importance for learners' academic progress and achievement. A reason for this is that most academic material that is made available to learners appear in written format, and that learners have to report on their knowledge in the same format. Although educational institutions formulate academic texts (of which study guides form part) with a high readability level, the current study investigates some problems and shortcomings that appear in study guides. If the readability of the mentioned study material is increased in light of text linguistic insights, learners should have greater accessibility to the textual content, which could impact positively on academic achievement. With the above mentioned in mind, this study focuses on a text linguistic approach to investigating the readability of study guides which are written for first-year learners at a tertiary institution. The main problem addresses how lexical cohesive devices and conjunction markers can be included as part of a text linguistic approach to writing study guides, and how this can be used by authors of study guides in practice as a tool to increase the efficiency of the writing process. The research is conducted on the basis of various theories, which include Systemic Functional Linguistics, Halliday and Hasan's Cohesion theory and Stotsky's adaptation thereof for written academic texts, as well as Hyland's theory about academic metadiscourse. Applicable insights regarding text linguistic criteria for writing academic texts, which are identified through this literature study, are converted into a framework for text analysis and then implemented to investigate the effective use of specific textual markers in the obtained study guides. This will be done in a descriptive and primarily qualitative manner. Ten Afrikaans study guides, pertaining to diverse subject groups, and which were recently used at a tertiary institution as introductory study guides for first-year learners, form the data of this study. In order to conduct a reliable investigation, the data is analised procedurally (with reference to the mentioned text analytical model) by hand and also using WordSmith Tools. Based on both the literature study and the text analysis, guidelines that can be used when writing Afrikaans study guides are formulated from a text linguistic point of view. These guidelines may be used to supplement the existing guide used by writers of study guides at the particular institution. The possibility also exists that these guidelines can be used to improve and standardise the quality and readability of the mentioned learning material.
- ETD@Vaal Triangle Campus