Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Jun Zhao

Second Advisor

Ryan Angus

Third Advisor

Kateryna Schray


Social relationships determine every linguistic choice people make, regardless of the medium of language use. Hence, it is important to understand how these social relationships determine the linguistic features that are necessary for creating a proper voice when writing academically. This study uses the framework of Systemic Functional Linguistics in an attempt to understand intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) learners’ use of interpersonal features to create a voice in their academic writing and to see if it aligns with the voice typical of Western academic writing. In order to do this, the study uses twenty-four writing samples from eight participants (3 essays per participant) of varying native languages. Using the system of MOOD, the writing samples are analyzed for three specific interpersonal linguistic features: Subject, Adjunct, and Finite, to determine the amount of authority, objectivity, and abstractness the participants create in their writing. Finding that the participants were unable to create a voice consistent with Western academic writing, this study suggests some changes to current ESL pedagogical practices, in order to better prepare students academic study at the university level.


English language -- Study and teaching

Systemic grammar