Compression and Implicitness Through Dependent Phrases in Academic ESL Writing by Filipino Researchers Across Disciplines

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Hjalmar Punla Hernandez
Cecilia F. Genuino


Grammatical compression and implicitness have been proven as characteristics of academic writing (Biber & Gray, 2010, 2016), but they are an underexplored area of research particularly in academic ESL (English as a second language) writing. In this study, we explored the dependent phrases that most and least characterize academic ESL writing by cross-analyzing 42 published research articles (RAs) authored by Filipino researchers (FRs) in Curriculum and Instruction, Communication, and Psychology using Biber et al.’s (1999, 2021) framework. Salient findings showed that attributive adjectives, nominal prepositional phrases, and noun premodifiers had the highest frequencies of use, thus most characterizing academic ESL writing across disciplines. In contrast, prepositional phrases as adverbials and appositive noun phrases as noun postmodifiers had the lowest occurrences, hence least characterizing academic ESL writing. We argue that academic ESL writing regardless of its discipline is highly packed with dense information by the three most common nominal modifiers. Our study has applied implications for teaching academic writing, assessing academic writing, and publishing academic research.

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How to Cite
Hernandez, H. P., & Genuino, C. F. (2022). Compression and Implicitness Through Dependent Phrases in Academic ESL Writing by Filipino Researchers Across Disciplines. LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network, 15(2), 546–577. Retrieved from
Research Articles
Author Biographies

Hjalmar Punla Hernandez, Language Studies Division, Department of Humanities, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines

A permanent faculty member of University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines, handling language-related courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. His research areas focus on academic research writing, discourse analysis, English language education, English syntax, and world Englishes.

Cecilia F. Genuino, Graduate Teacher Education Faculty, College of Graduate Studies and Teacher Education Research, Philippine Normal University–Manila, Philippines

A permanent graduate school faculty member of the Philippine Normal University–Manila, Philippines, handling core and specialization courses. Her research interests include syntax, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, semantics, and pragmatics. She is an advocate of language preservation and revitalization.


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