Personal Pronouns in CHET and CECheT: Authorial Presence and Other Nuances Revealed


  • Isabel Moskowich University of A Coruña, Spain



scientific writing, Coruña Corpus, first-person pronouns, authorial presence, variation.


This paper aims at presenting a portrait of late Modern English scientific writing by studying its use of first-person pronouns. Pronouns reveal authorial presence and their quantification may be helpful. Following previous research (Moskowich, 2017), I have now conducted a qualitative analysis in which pronouns are grouped according to five functions each of them with a different pragmatic value. My research questions include whether there is a tendency from author-centred to object-centred prose over time, whether female writers are more present in their writings than their male counterparts and whether texts belonging to the Humanities (represented here by the Corpus of History English Texts) are also more “subjective” than those belonging to the Hard Sciences (represented by the Corpus of English Chemistry Texts), generally regarded more “objective” and, therefore, more unlikely to contain a high amount of personal pronouns and more so with certain pragmatic functions. The use of variables such as time, sex of the author and discipline allow for a study of change on the one hand and of variation on the other.