Academic literacy includes the learners’ ability to use their language knowledge to form articulate texts. In communicative competence models this ability is subsumed under the notion of discourse competence which includes the concepts of cohesion and coherence. Starting from the premise that constructing a coherent text entails efficient use of metadiscourse (i.e. means of explicit text organisation) this study focuses on elements referring to discourse acts, text sequences or stages called frame markers, i.e. items providing framing information about elements of the discourse and functioning to sequence, label, predict and shift arguments, making the discourse clear to readers or listeners (Hyland 2005). It analyses patterns of L2 learners’ use of frame markers, compares them to English native speakers’, and explores the relationship between frame markers and coherence. The corpus includes 80 argumentative essays written by early undergraduate Croatian L2 learners of English at B2 level. The results indicate that foreign language learners’ argumentative essays are characterized by an overuse of a limited set of frame markers. Finally, implications are drawn for teaching and further research.

metadiscourse; frame markers; coherence; discourse competence; L2 writing

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