Pronoun Use in Novice L1 and L2 Academic Writing


  • Marte Monsen ILOS, University of Oslo
  • Sylvi Rørvik



This paper explores the use of pronouns in student academic writing in L1 Norwegian and L2 English. Three aspects of pronoun use are examined: general pronoun frequency, pronoun reference, and the uses of ‘I’ and ‘we’. Students of English are typically advised to avoid being explicitly present in their academic texts (Lysvåg & Stenbrenden 2014), while students writing in Norwegian are often encouraged to use first-person pronouns. However, the results show that both sets of students use explicit self-reference in similar ways. Frequent uses of ‘I’ and ‘we’ are as conductors of research and as guides or navigators assisting the reader through the text.

Author Biography

Marte Monsen, ILOS, University of Oslo

Researcher, Russian linguistics



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