A Master of Arts thesis in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by Noor Wafic Kaddoura entitled, “The Language of Counter-Arguments and Support Arguments in Argumentative Student Writing”, submitted in May 2021. Thesis advisor is Dr. Philip McCarthy. Soft copy is available (Thesis, Completion Certificate, Approval Signatures, and AUS Archives Consent Form).
This study analyzes the linguistic features of counter-arguments and support arguments using two computational linguistic tools: Coh-Metrix and Gramulator. The research question investigates whether counter-argument paragraphs and support paragraphs are different in terms of their linguistic features. To conduct this study, a corpus of 78 argumentative papers was collected. The paragraphs in the papers were categorized in terms of their function. The categories included functions of Support, Counter-argument, Expostulation, Counter-argument and Expostulation, Background, and Other. The paragraphs were analyzed for their readability and writing quality through Coh-Metrix. With the exception of the measure of Deep Cohesion, the Coh-Metrix results suggest minimal differences in terms of readability and writing quality between counter-argument and support paragraphs. Following the Coh-Metrix analysis, both counter-argument and support corpora were analyzed through Gramulator for their lexical features. The Gramulator results suggest the presence of causal language, fixed expressions in counterarguments, as well as some tagged language in support arguments.