Metadiscourse: the evolution of an approach to texts

Ken Hyland, Feng (Kevin) Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Metadiscourse is the commentary on a text made by its producer in the course of speaking or writing, revealing something of how communication involves the personalities, attitudes and assumptions of those who are communicating. It offers a framework for understanding communication as social engagement and helps reveal how writers and speakers consider their audience in creating texts. This paper uses a bibliometric analysis to trace the growing interest in metadiscourse since its early incarnations in the 1980s. To do so we analysed all 431 papers relating to metadiscourse in the core collection of the Web of Science between 1983 and 2020, dividing the corpus into two periods following the massive increase in interest after 2006. We identify which topics have been most prevalent, which authors and publications most influential and which disciplines and journals most active in citing the metadiscourse literature. The findings show the importance of academic and business writing, cross-disciplinary, language and genre studies, and the increasing predominance of an interpersonal model. These findings may be of interest to those working in discourse analysis and the study of social interaction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalText and Talk
Early online date30 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2022


  • bibliometrics
  • metadiscourse
  • metadiscourse authors
  • metadiscourse publications
  • metadiscourse research

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