Author ORCID Identifier


Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Viviana Cortes

Second Advisor

Diane Belcher

Third Advisor

Stephanie Lindemann

Fourth Advisor

William J. Nichols II


Descriptive studies of general and discipline-specific academic writing genre conventions have paved the way for pedagogical materials that build real-world skills for novice academic writers. To name some better-known cases, breakthroughs have taken place in this regard in the fields of psychology, engineering, and chemistry. However, attested scholarship on rhetorical patterns in humanities writing, such as published literary criticism (hereafter “LC”) is less common. This dearth of research affects scholars of literature produced by Spanish-speakers who write in both English and Spanish. Many L1 Spanish user scholars must often publish their research in English, rather than Spanish, to maintain institutional employment. Postsecondary Spanish majors in the U.S. must also demonstrate competence in literary criticism to gain credentials. To address the needs of these groups, the present study examines the potential of lexical bundles, qualitative content, and multidimensional analyses to help describe LC from a lexico-grammatical perspective. Such findings may facilitate an arrival at a comprehensive schematic of strategies used by expert-level literary scholars in Spanish and English. First, using multidimensional analysis, linguistic features characteristic of literary criticism writing are analyzed and interpreted in the context of prior multidimensional analyses to offer insight on ways in which the written norms of LC compare to those espoused in other genres previously analyzed. Next, the study examines the syntactic structures and functions of lexical bundles used in English and Spanish LC writing, with particular attention to quasi-equivalent and language-specific bundles. Finally, the study proposes a taxonomy of communicative strategies utilized by literary scholars in their arguments. Devised via qualitative content analysis, this taxonomy may extend the functional analysis of bundles in LC. These findings offer further insight into the macrostructures of literary criticism, as well as the sentence-level strategies that serve as building blocks for expert-level writing in the genre.


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