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International Journal of Literature, Language and Linguistics

Vol. 5(2), pp. 234-243, September, 2019. © ISSN: 2401-0932

Research Article

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee

*1Safari Godfrey Ntalala, 2Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo, 3Fridah Kanana Erastus
1,3Departmentof Literature, Linguistics and Foreign Languages, Kenyatta University, P.O Box 43844-00100, Nairobi,
2Department of Language and Communication Studies, Technical University of Kenya, P. O Box 52428-00200, Nairobi,


Barely any studies have been carried out on the metadiscoursal aspects of parliamentary
committee reports in Kenya and generally in Eastern Africa region. Consequently, this study
sought to analyze the metadiscursive aspects of selected Kenyan Parliamentary Committee
Reports (PCRs) and their communicative purpose. The study exposes the textual metadiscursive
features used in parliamentary reports in order to achieve their communicative purpose. The
study is premised on Hyland’s (1998, 2005) description of metadiscourse and their use to enhance
communicative potential in a text. Descriptive research design was used with corpora being
generated from fifteen Kenyan parliamentary committee reports sampled five each from selected
County Assemblies, the National Assembly and the Senate. Findings from the study indicate that
different aspects of textual metadiscourse are blended together geared at guiding, convincing
and persuading legislators to adopt PCRs. Findings from the study offer insights on the interplay
between parliamentary metadiscoursal styles, rhetorical patterns and contributes to the existing
pool of knowledge in applied linguistics on issues related to PCR genre and metadiscourse

Key words: Communicative Purpose, Metadiscourse, textual metadiscourse, Parliamentary, Committee Reports

This article is based on a larger study on the Rhetorical reflect the particular conventions that are followed in a
strategies of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports. given speech community. It also includes features that
help relate a text to its context by assisting readers to
From a rhetorical perspective, parliamentary discourse connect, organize, and interpret material in a way
can be regarded as a political discourse genre embedding preferred by the writer with regard to the understandings
norm regulated interactions which take place among and values of a particular discourse community. In this
politically elected or nominated legislators for deliberative study metadiscourse is used as a cover term for
and decision-making purposes (Ilie, 2015). Parliamentary expressions used to negotiate interactive and interactional
discourses whether written or spoken exhibit a linguistic meanings in a text, assist the writer to express a viewpoint
structure that is meant to enhance its communicative and engage with readers as members of a particular
potential. Therefore, this study analyses aspects of community. It aims at guiding a reader through the text and
rhetorical metadiscourse of parliamentary committee influencing their understanding, engaging and maintaining
reports (PCRs) genre underscoring their use in contact between writers and readers and providing
parliamentary context to achieve specific goals and perspective for interpreting the message.
communicative purposes.
*Corresponding Author: Safari Godfrey Ntalala,
According to Hyland (1998, 2005) metadiscourse denotes Department of Literature, Linguistics and Foreign
aspects of a text which overtly organize the discourse, Languages, Kenyatta University, P.O Box 43844-00100,
connect the audience and indicate the writer’s attitude. It Nairobi, Kenya. E-Mail:; Tel:
refers to linguistic devices which writers include to help +254 720 580 659. Co-Author 2Email: orwenjo@daad-
readers decode the message, share the writer’s views and; 3Email:

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Ntalala et al. 235

Parliament in this study, is a generic term that refers to conversation (Schifrin, 1980), textbooks (Crismore, 1989,
legislative assemblies at the county and the national level. Hyland, 2000) and postgraduate dissertations (Bunton,
The genre of parliamentary discourse includes various 1998, Maroko 1999, 2008).
sub-genres such as motions, bills, statements, plenary
debates, questions, petitions and committee reports. Parliamentary committee reports are like speeches which
Parliamentary debates are the formal deliberations on a should present sound and well thought arguments in a
particular topic which take place at the plenary and are persuasive language to attract the audience and convince
strictly controlled by parliamentary standing orders and them to act in a particular manner (Ilie, 2003). Therefore,
presided over by the speaker. PCRs on their part are a since rhetoric is art of using language purposefully to
result of close inquiry and deliberation by members of a convince or persuade, this study explores and assesses
particular parliamentary committee and are meant for the effectiveness of the textual metadiscoursal features
debate and approval at the plenary. The roles of the used in Kenyan PCRs.
committees are twofold; investigative process, which
involves gathering information on a particular issue, and Theoretical Issues
deliberative process which entails debating and taking a
stand on a matter before the committee. A Parliamentary In this study, the definition of metadiscourse has been
Committee Report (PCR) is largely a crafting of language influenced to a large extent by Halliday’s distinction
in which the committee hopes to persuade and convince between ideational elements of a text and its textual and
fellow legislators to adopt it during debate. They involve expressive meanings. Halliday (1994, 2006) argues that
strong deliberations, debates, consultations and people use language in an attempt to give expressions to
sometimes divisions hence their reliance on elements of their experience, interacting with the audience and
persuasion. Metadiscourse is one crucial element of organizing their expressions cohesively hence the three
persuasion in rhetoric as it serves the dual function of metafunctions of language, namely, ideational,
helping the writer to organize the content of the text and interpersonal and textual. Similarly, Hyland (1998, 2005)
assists the reader to understand and interprete the text. argues that metadiscourse may be viewed in two ways:
Moreover, the government structure in the Republic of interactive/textual metadiscourse which relates to
Kenya consists of the National government and forty- Halliday’s textual metafunction of language and
seven county governments. According to Article 93 of the interactional/interpersonal metadiscourse which relates to
Constitution of Kenya (2010), parliament consists of the interpersonal metafunction of language. The analysis of
National Assembly and the Senate. At the devolved level, metadiscourse in this study is based largely on Hyland’s
every county government has its own County Assembly. (1998, 2005) description of metadiscourse and their use to
The role of the County Assembly is similar to that of the enhance communicative potential in a text. The researcher
National Assembly but limited to the county level. Indeed, highlighted the various textual metadiscursive features
the County Assemblies structure is a microcosm of the used in parliamentary committee reports and explains the
National Assembly and the county Assemblies in character rationale for their use based on the framework below;
mirror the National Assembly. Parliamentary discourse
may take place either in the plenary or in the committee Table 1: Aspects of textual Metadiscourse Proposed by
sitting (Gichohi, 2009). The roles of the committees are Hyland (1998:442, Hyland & Tse, 2004).
twofold; investigative process which involves gathering Category Function Example
information on a particular issue and deliberative process Textual/ Interactive
which entails debating and taking a stand on a matter Connectives Express semantic In addition,
before the committee. The reports are then taken to the relation between /but/therefore/thus/and
whole assembly where debates are done at the plenary main clauses
under the guidance of the speaker. Frame Explicitly refer to Finally, /to repeat/our
markers discourse acts or aim here/we try
Most studies on parliamentary genre have focused on text stages
debates in the plenary such as Ilie (2000, 2006), Treimane Endophoric Refer to As noted above/see fig
(2009, 2011), Van Dijk (2004), Van Dijk and Wodak (2000). markers information in 1/table/below
Moreover, most research on parliamentary genres has other parts of the
been concentrated on European parliaments with little text
study done on Kenyan parliaments and African Evidential Refer to source of According to x/y.1990/z
parliaments in general. Similarly, it appears that not much information from states
has been done on parliamentary committees though they other texts
are microcosms of the main assembly and allow Code glosses Help readers Namely/e.g./in other
legislature to organize and perform numerous functions grasp meanings words/such
simultaneously. Most studies on metadiscourse on the of ideational
other hand have dwelt on text and writing features (Hyland,
1998, 2004, 2005, Hyland & Tse 2004), casual

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Int. J. of Lit., Lang. Ling. 236

METHODOLOGY Assembly (NA) reports and 429 instances in Senate

reports. The prevalence of different aspects at various
The study adopted a descriptive research design. It levels of parliament is presented below.
employs both descriptive and inferential statistics that
describe objects as they are and determines cause and Table 3: Distribution of textual Metadiscourse at Various
effect. In total, the researcher had fifteen reports for Levels of Parliament
analysis and the number was considered representative Level of Parliament
because minimal variation was noted within the genre Type of County National Senate
being studied. Indeed, according to Hyland (2002) genres Metadiscourse Assembly Assembly
are spread along a continuum of approximation to the core f % f % f %
genre examples with contextual restrictions on the Connectives 147 36 53 32 152 35
organization, structure and rhetorical properties of texts. Frame Markers 164 40 27 16 81 19
Multistage sampling procedure was used in data collection Endophoric 23 6 13 8 20 5
and involved the following stages; Markers
Evidential 43 10 54 32 144 34
• The first step involved identifying in advance the type of Code Glosses 35 8 21 12 32 7
reports to be studied based on the level of parliament Total 412 100 168 100 429 100
and the quota of the reports which fit the specified
categories i.e. National Assembly, County Assemblies Textual metadiscursive strategies help to form a
and Senate. convincing and coherent PCR by relating individual
• Secondly, to ensure regional representation in the propositions to each other and to readers. They are
reports sampled from County assemblies, stratified essential to readability of PCRs and allow committees to
random sampling was used to group and sample structure information flow to explicitly establish their
counties to be involved in the study based on former preferred interpretations. On average 35% of all textual
provinces. Subsequently, the forty-seven counties in metadiscourse in PCRs analyzed was made up of logical
Kenya were clustered into five regions based on an connectives while 25% was frame markers, 6%
amalgamation of former provinces and proximity to endophoric markers, 25% evidential markers and 9% code
each other and one county was randomly selected for glosses. The figure below summarizes the prevalence of
the study. The county assemblies sampled were; different aspects of textual metadiscourse in PCRs.
Nairobi City County Assembly, County Assembly of
Mombasa, Meru, Kericho and Siaya.
• Thereafter, the researcher randomly selected five
reports each from the National Assembly and the
Senate as well as one report from each County
Assembly sampled for the study. Consequently, the
researcher coded the data and identified the various
metadiscursive features used in parliamentary
committee reports based on the framework below.

Table 2: Analysis of Textual Metadiscourse in PCRs

Type of Level of Parliament
County National Senate
Assembly Assembly Figure 1: Aspects of Textual Metadiscourse
Textual f % f % f %
Connectors Textual metadiscourse is concerned with ways of
Frame markers organizing discourse to anticipate readers’ knowledge and
Endophoric reflect the writer’s assessment of what needs to be made
markers explicit to constrain and guide what can be recovered from
Evidential the text. Below are results of the prevalence levels of
Code glosses different aspects of textual metadiscourse employed in

RESULTS Transition/ Connectives Markers

To start with, from the analysis of reports sampled, there Transition markers are logical connectives that indicate
were 412 instances of textual metadiscourse in County semantic and structural relationship in a text. They express
assembly (CA) reports, 168 instances in in National semantic and structural relations between different

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Ntalala et al. 237

clauses and moves in a text. In PCRs analyzed, authors use them in the PCR to remind legislators of what
connectives provided 36% of all CA textual aspects of has been previously said and to signal new information or
metadiscourse, 32 % in NA reports and 35 % in Senate rhetorical mode. Nevertheless, connectors and
reports. Below is a summary of the frequency of usage of conjunctions may perform purely a syntactic role hence the
logical connectors in PCRs. researcher carefully analyzed the reports to ensure items
highlighted performed metadiscursive role.

Logical markers as a category of textual metadiscourse

markers express semantic and structural relationships
between discourse stretches, and help readers interpret
pragmatic connections by explicitly signaling additive,
adversative, and conclusive relationships in the text
(Hyland, 2005). In the PCRs, they signal to legislators how
different parts of the PCR are related to one another. Data
on distribution of logical connectors in CA reports reveal
that 45% of all logical connectors are additives which
indicate addition, 22% are adversative which indicate
Figure 2: Prevalence of Transition Markers in PCRs contrast, 19% are causal which indicate relations of
consequence and 14% are conclusive which indicate
Logical connectives help legislators to interprete structural, conclusions. In NA reports, additives represent 25 of all
semantic and pragmatic connections between different logical connectors, adversative 32%, resultative 28% and
moves in a PCR. Moreover, they are used to mark 15% conclusive. From Senate reports 30% of all logical
contrast, addition, sequence, concession and connectors were additives, 32% adversative, 24%
consequence in PCR hence making it more explicit and resultative and 14% conclusive. Below is a summary of the
persuasive. Similarly, they link sentences, paragraphs and frequency of usage of different aspects of logical
the whole text into a continuous cohesive argument. The connectors in PCRs.

Table 4: Frequency of Usage of Different Logical Connectors in PCRs

Logical Connectors Level of PCR and frequency
CA NA Senate
Category Description & Examples f % f % F %
Additives Indicate addition: In addition, Moreover, furthermore, 66 45 13 25 46 30
and, as well as, further, similarly
Adversative Indicate contrast: However, whilst 32 22 17 32 48 32
despite, but, nevertheless, on the other hand, contrary,
Resultative/ Indicate relations of consequence: As a result, 28 19 15 28 37 24
Causal therefore, thus, hence, thereby,
Conclusive Indicate conclusions: finally, to conclude 21 14 8 15 21 14

The above logical connectives serve as signposts to signal Frame Markers

the meaning of the text and the writer uses them to
organize the text in order to make argument clear and easy Frame markers refer to text boundaries that explicitly refer
to follow. They help the readers follow the logical meaning to discourse acts or text stages. They indicate the topic
and structure of the text (Kopple, 1997). Connectives in shifts and sequencing by explicitly referring to text stages
PCRs serve to make the relationship between different and discourse goals. In PCRs analyzed frame markers
moves and propositions clear so that the legislators may consisted of 40% of all aspects of textual metadiscourse in
interpret it in accordance with the committees intended CA reports, 19% in Senate reports and 16% in NA reports.
meaning and elicit appropriate response. Additionally, they Frame markers help legislators to understand the
help the readers determine the logical relationships construction of the PCR and its various steps in the move
between propositional claims made in the report and their structure as well as shifts in arguments. They refer to
absence would make the PCR clumsy and difficult to elements of structure and provide interpretative framework
follow. They are crucial in helping legislators to interprete for the genre. Below is a summary of usage of different
connections between moves in a PCR hence grasping the frame markers in PCRs.
argument as they show additions, contrast, results and
signal conclusions in PCRs.

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Int. J. of Lit., Lang. Ling. 238

label text stages 30% and announcers whose role is to

announce discourse goals were 10%. Data from NA
reports sampled indicate sequencers constitute 37% of all
frame markers, shifters and labelers at 22% each and
announcers at 5%. Sequencers in Senate reports make up
20% of all frame markers, shifters 20%, labelers 32% and
announcers 20%. These rhetorical strategies signal
schematic text structure and helps to sequence, label,
predict and announce different parts and arguments of a
PCR. The high number of frame markers in CA reports
may be interpreted as a deliberate strategy of easing
Figure 3: Prevalence of Frame Markers in PCRs clarity of understanding of PCRs among members of
County assemblies. This may have been necessitated by
Findings on frequency of frame markers in CA reports the fact that the reports were written in the first County
indicate that sequencers which show sequence constitute assemblies which called for more guidance. The findings
27%, shifters which indicate topic shift 33%, labelers which are summarized in the table below.

Table 5: Frequency of Various Aspects of Frame Markers in PCRs

Frame Markers Level of PCR and frequency
CA NA Senate
Category Description & Examples f % f % f %
Sequencers Show sequence/ order: first, next, lastly, to begin with 44 27 10 37 16 20
Shifters Indicate topic shifts: back to, in regard to, return to, turn to, regarding, on 54 33 6 22 23 28
the issue of, on the concern of
Labelers Label text stages: all in all, at this point, in conclusion, on the whole, this 50 30 6 22 26 32
section, part, this provision
Announcers Announce discourse goals: the focus, goal/ objective is to, we sought to, 16 10 5 19 16 20
our purpose/aim was

Evidential Markers contextualize reports by providing the legal provisions

upon which it is grounded. Below is a summary of the
Evidential markers indicate sources of textual information frequency of usage of different aspects of evidential
which originates outside the present text. They advance markers in PCRs.
PCR’s arguments by demonstrating an awareness of
background of the issue under deliberation, committee’s
mandate, composition and legal framework of operation.
In PCRs analyzed they constitute 34% of textual aspects
of metadiscourse in Senate reports, 32% in NA reports and
10% in CA reports. The degree of occurrence of evidential
markers reflects on the level of research, depth and
sometimes length of PCRs. Most CA reports were
relatively shorter than other PCRs and appeared hurriedly
done hence the low level of evidential markers. This may
reflect on the level of expertise and experience of staff and
members at the CA sampled.

Moreover, evidential are used in PCRs to support

arguments and boost both their credibility and logical Figure 4: Prevalence of Evidential Markers in PCRs
persuasion. They guide in interpreting and establishing
intertextuality by way of providing authority, mandate and According to Swales (1990) there are two forms of
expert opinion on the subject of the PCR. This is important evidential markers: the integral which includes a cited
as it bolsters the credibility, validity and authority of the source as part of the reporting sentence and non-integral
propositions made in the PCR. It is used to support which places a cited source within parenthesis. In a non-
arguments and make propositions stronger, more credible integral citation, the name of the researcher occurs either
and authoritative in pursuit of persuasive goals of the text. in parenthesis or is referred to elsewhere by a superscript
However, unlike in academic reports where evidentials are number. In this study there were no instances of non-
used to help the writer relate his work to earlier or related integral evidential markers while cases of integral
works in the field, in PCRs evidentials are used to evidential were a total of 144 in Senate reports

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Ntalala et al. 239

representing 34% of all aspects of textual metadiscourse, All (100%) citations in PCRs relied on integral evidential
54 instances in NA reports representing 32% and 43 markers to refer to sources of information from other texts.
instances in CA reports representing 10%. In PCRs Evidential markers function as a guide to the legislators’
analyzed citations were incorporated as part of the interpretation and establish an authority of the subject or
reporting sentence and no bibliography was provided. The issue under discussion as well as representations of ideas
findings of this study differ with those done on academic from other sources and help to establish authorial
forms of writing notably Maroko (2013) where an analysis command of the subject. In PCRs references involves
of the distribution of references in the study corpus citation of parliamentary standing orders, provisions of the
revealed that non-integral citations were more prominently constitution, Acts of Parliament and expert opinions to
used than integral citations in all rhetorical sections except provide important support for argument. Dependence on
Conclusions and Recommendations. Surprisingly, as contextual knowledge, legal provisions and mandates are
already noted there was no singular use of non-integral the hallmark of parliamentary discourse which forms a
citations in any rhetorical section of the PCRs. This fundamental basis in evaluation of PCRs. Below is a
probably reveals the embedded nature of text and distribution frequency of usage of different aspects of
evidentials in PCRs thus the absence of a reference list. evidential markers in PCRs.

Table 6: Frequency of Different Aspects of Evidential Markers in PCRs

Evidential markers Level of PCR and frequency
CA NA Senate
Description & Examples f % f % f %
Integral Cited source part of the reporting sentence: County Government Act
requires that, X argues that, pursuant to, based on…. 43 100 54 100 144 100

According to Maroko (2013) evidential markers contribute showing how the report came about, the legal basis for it
to the social context of persuasion as they provide and the background upon which it is based.
justification for arguments and demonstrate the novelty of
one’s position. It serves to display knowledge of the Endophoric Markers
subject and to establish authority and credibility. In PCRs
evidential markers explicitly mention the legal background Endophoric markers refer to information in other parts of
of the committee, its mandate and the source of the text which provide additional information to the reader.
information. Below is an extract from NA Report on Public In PCRs they are used to remind legislators of previously
Petition on the Imminent Collapse of Sugar Industry in mentioned information or refer to information in other parts
Western Kenya, 2015. of the report so as to help in recovering and stressing
argumentative propositions. Endophoric markers
Extract 1: National Assembly Extract on Evidential comprise 8% of textual markers used in NA reports, 6% in
Markers CA reports and 5 % in Senate reports as shown in the
The Department Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and figure below.
Cooperatives is established pursuant to provisions of
standing order 216(5). Under the provisions of standing
order 216(5) the committee is mandated to…….
The committee is also mandated to scrutinize the budget
of line ministries as provided understanding order 235.
Section 124 of the constitution (2010) also provide for the
establishment of Committee by parliament

In the extract above, the committee relies on the standing

orders to justify their existence and to claim their mandate.
Additionally, they boost their credibility and authority
through reference to standing orders and the constitution.
Therefore, evidential markers boost the persuasive goals
of the PCRs by building credibility and legitimacy as the Figure 5: Prevalence of Endophoric Markers in PCRs
committee demonstrates an awareness of their mandate
and adherence to parliamentary dictates and procedures. Endophoric markers are used to avail additional
Indeed, evidential markers in PCRs indicate the context information, provide reference for supporting arguments
and authority of the report and may be viewed as an aspect and ultimately steer the legislators towards a preferred
of discourse community as suggested by Swales (1990). interpretation and response. They are a means of relating
The citation provides justification for arguments and the current discourse to report as a whole and thus
demonstrates the authority and legitimacy of the PCR by enhancing explicitness and clarity of PCR. In this study

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Int. J. of Lit., Lang. Ling. 240

there were only 23 instances of endophoric markers in CA in a linear style and make little reference to information in
reports, 13 in NA reports and 20 instances in Senate other parts of the text. Below is a distribution of different
reports. The outcome reveal that PCRs are usually written aspects of endophoric markers in PCRs.
Table 7: Distribution of Different Aspects of Endophoric Markers in PCRs
Endophoric markers Level of PCR and frequency
CA NA Senate
Category Description & Examples f % f % f %
Endophoric Reference to information in other parts of the text to provide additional
markers information to the reader: Include words and phrases like as noted, 23 100 13 100 20 100
discussed, mentioned below, above, table, figure below, this section,
chapter, part, already, previously, before, earlier mentioned
Endophoric markers make explicit references to the whole of thereworktext propositional meanings to provide the reader with
and various parts of it. They are text-internal or intra-textual markers
additional information as a way of ensuring they recover
which represent the metadiscursive uses of language. They provide ideational material as intended by the writer. Code glosses
additional information by rephrasing, explaining, elaborating provide
or additional information to ensure legislators are
pointing at what has already been said. Below is an extract from able
the to get intended messages from the reports by
Report on the Meru County Annual Development Plan for the Fiscal explaining what has been said by means of
Year 2016/2017 (Result / Observation section). exemplification, illustration or offering clarifications. Code
glosses are used to elaborate on what has just been said
Extract 2: County Assembly Extract on Endophoric by the author and help readers gain the appropriate
Markers meanings of terms in the PCR. It may involve defining or
The Committee considered the Annual Development Plan explaining a word, phrase, or idea. They help authors of
2016/2017 chapter by chapter PCRs to elaborate, explain, or rephrase a particular
and made the following major observations: subject to hasten clarity and comprehension by legislators.
1. That paragraph 2.2.3 (page 10) indicates that the large Code glosses make up 12% of textual metadiscourse
membership of the Assembly and competition strategies in NA reports, 8% in CA reports and 7% in
between the elected and nominated MCAs are among Senate reports as shown in the figure below.
the challenges that are facing the Assembly in the
current fiscal year;
2. That under paragraph 2.3.2 (page 12) the Committee
observed that there is an allocation of 900million
shillings for the Ward Development Fund. The
Committee resolved that the money should be strictly
used on Ward projects identified on need basis. Also,
it was noted that there was no legal framework to
govern the operations of the fund;
3. That the automation of revenue collection has not
been all that efficient in achieving the projected
revenue collection for the previous fiscal years since
there has always been shortfalls;
4. That under paragraph (page 39) under the
department of Cooperatives, Enterprise Development Figure 5: Prevalence of Code Glosses in PCRs
and Tourism, the programme mapping of Business
and Markets has been repeated; Code glosses may be categorized into either
Reformulators or exemplifications. Reformulation is a form
In the above extract the committee engages legislators in
of code gloss where the second part of a sentence is a
the text by referring them to other parts of the PCR to ease
restatement of the first using different wording.
their understanding and demonstrate how the findings
Reformulation helps a PCR to reword an idea so that it is
were arrived at. They refer them using paragraphs and
understood easily by legislators. Exemplification on the
page numbers for instance paragraph 2.2.3 (page 10).
other hand involves supporting the first part by providing
Endophoric markers therefore serve as a means of making
an example in the second part. It is an effort by the authors
the PCR more interactive, easy to follow, refer to and
to convey meaning that they believe is restorable from the
locate information.
example(s). Consequently, it indicates that the author has
Code Glosses some presuppositions about the reader’s closeness with
the topic and world knowledge.
Code glosses refer to restatement of ideational information
in another way. They are used to explain, elaborate or
Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports
Ntalala et al. 241

From the analysis of the PCRs, exemplifiers constitute explaining. They reflect the writer ‘s assumptions about the
57% instances of CA reports code glosses and reader ‘s cognitive environment. The focus of code glosses
Reformulators at 43%. In Senate reports both exemplifiers in PCRs is to improve perception, boost comprehension
and reformulators constitute 50% each. NA reports have and relate ideas to the legislator’s experiences, knowledge
52% prevalence rate of exemplifiers and 48% of and interpretation requirements. Below is a summary of
reformulators. According to Hyland (2010), code glosses the frequency of usage of different aspects of code glosses
supply additional information by rephrasing, illustrating or in PCRs.

Table 8: Distribution of Different Aspects of code Glosses in PCRs.

Code Glosses Level of PCR and
CA NA Senate
Category Description & Examples f % f % f %
Exemplifiers Supporting by providing an example: an example of, like, for instance, 20 57 11 52 16 50
namely, such as
Reformulators Restatement of the first thing using different wording for clarity: Includes
words and phrases like; in particular, particularly, that is, especially, in
other words, namely, specifically, which, that means, put another way, 15 43 10 48 16 50
and, or, to put it simply, called, defined

DISCUSSION Ultimately, textual metadiscourse reveals the writer’s

awareness of the readers and their need for elaboration,
According to Hyland & Tse (2004) textual metadiscourse clarification, guidance and interaction hence their use in
allows the recovery of the writer’s intention by establishing PCRs to persuade the members to take a particular view
preferred interpretation of propositional meanings. It depending on the propositions presented as illustrated in
informs legislators about the organization of the PCR and the extract below.
presentation of its arguments by giving clues to the
thinking process on how to perceive, interprete and Extract 3: Extract on Metadiscourse from National
respond to it. This employs connectors which express Assembly Report
semantic relationship between main clauses and frame The committee finds that certain companies were
markers which explicitly refer to discourse acts or texts involved in widespread malpractices with the Judiciary.
stages. Indeed, connectors and frame markers make up An example is JKUATES Ltd. which was contracted by
54% of all aspects of textual metadiscourse in Senate the Judiciary as a consultant for various projects. This
reports, 48% in NA reports and 76% in CA reports. company was directly sourced under the guise of
Additionally, there is wide use of evidential markers, code Government to Government procurement yet its income
glosses and frame markers which together constitute 59% was privately shared to the tune of 95%.
of all aspects of textual/ interactive metadiscourse in the The committee recommends that the Director of Public
PCRs analyzed. Therefore, textual metadiscourse prosecutions swiftly institutes investigations and
involves use of aspects such as; transition markers, frame proceedings against those directly linked to financial
markers, endophoric markers, evidential markers and impropriety and mismanagement as enumerated in the
code glosses to enhance the persuasive significance of culpability chapter of this report.
the PCRs. The committee also recommends that those found guilty
by a court of law make good the loss attributable to them
Metadiscourse serves as a rhetorical tool to guide readers’ in accordance to article 226(5) of the constitution.
perception of a text by use of cohesion and interpersonal
features which help relate a text to its context. It helps In the extract above, both textual and interpersonal
PCRs to not only convey information but also bring out the aspects of metadiscourse are used to guide the the
organization of the text and engage the legislators on how readers. Textual aspects of metadiscourse include;
to understand and interpret the report. Metadiscursive i) Transition markers such as also and yet. Also is used
feature are used in PCRs to create a coherent text and to show addition in the expression, ‘the committee also
engage the readers. In parliamentary discourse, recommends’ while yet functions as an adversative in
metadiscourse involves a set of rhetorically structured the expression, ‘the company was sourced under the
communicative and interactional strategies used to signal, guise of ……yet its income was privately shared’.
highlight, mitigate and evaluate texts (Ilie, 2003). It helps ii) Evidential markers such as, ‘... in accordance with
to articulate particular aspects of relationship between the article 226(5) of the constitution.’ The citation of the
author(s) and audience following conventionalized norms constitution provision is used to legitimize the
and patterns of interaction. proposed action by the committee.

Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports

Int. J. of Lit., Lang. Ling. 242

iii) Endophoric markers such as, ‘the culpability chapter PCRs by use of endophoric markers, which refer to
of this report.’ The endophoric marker is used to refer information in other parts of the texts to boost
to information in other parts of the report (culpability understanding of arguments and code glosses which help
chapter) in order to provide additional information to the audience get meaning by use of examples of concepts.
the reader. Finally, PCRs is a form of parliamentary communication in
iv) Code glosses like, ‘an example’ is which is an which the authors inform their colleagues about their
exemplifier to illustrate the widespread malpractices findings and persuade them to support. This involves
within the judiciary in the expression ‘ example is careful use of different aspects of textual metadiscourse.
JKUATES Ltd.’ The choice of metadiscourse depends on the purpose of
the PCR and a variety of textual metadiscourse aspects
Hyland & Tse (2004) argue that metadiscourse motivates are incorporated together to allow flexibility and expression
writers to interact with readers; helps create their genre of the goals of the report. It is worth noting that various
and convey their disposition. Furthermore, metadiscourse aspects of textual metadiscourse are interrelated in the
is distinct from propositional aspects of discourse and sense that the committees achieve communication goals
refers to aspects of the text that embody writer-reader by using textual strategies such as transitions, endophoric
interactions or those relations that are only internal to the markers, evidential markers and frames markers while
discourse. When used in PCRs in its various facets as also informing the readers of the linking and transition from
revealed in the data above, it creates cohesion in the one idea to the other.
reports and makes the argument flow as well as engaging
the audience. In PCRs, metadiscourse is used in
facilitating arguments, supporting propositions and CONCLUSION
interacting with the audience. It serves as the linguistic
strategy used to organize the structure of the PCR or the This study set out to analyze aspects of textual
stance towards either its content or the audience. metadiscourse in Kenyan PCRs. It has been established
Metadiscourse brings out the thinking and writing process that different textual metadiscursive features are employed
of a writer through signal words in the text which inform to guide, inform and persuade the audience as well as
readers on the development of thought as well as text. signal the organization of the text. It is evident that most
Attitudes towards the text and audience are revealed textual markers consisted of connectives, evidentials and
through signal words/phrases such as; the committee frame markers in all PCRs. The high number of
prays that, we believe, the committee felt, it is imperative connectives/ transitions show the importance of internal
among others. Expressions like Mr. Speaker Sir, I will cohesion in parliamentary reports. They are used to help
show, compare, explain, conclude; bring out the legislators signal connections between sentences and
confidence levels and commitment to the propositions paragraphs in the PCR by establishing different
made while logical connection in the report is expressed relationships such as additive, resultative and contrastive
through words like; therefore, however, on the other hand. relations in the genre structure. Frame markers is another
Moreover, the use of language in PCRs may be explained aspect of metadiscourse that help to signal the
based on Halliday (1994) views on metafunctions of organization of PCRs which was used in all PCRs showing
language which are associated with ideational, the need to signal the developmental stages in the reports.
interpersonal and textual meanings. In this view, Evidential markers are also crucial in parliamentary
metadiscourse is grounded on textual function as it committee deliberations because they indicate the source
facilitates organization of PCRs to achieve their of the committee mandate, awareness of their legal and
communicative purpose. Additionally, according to Kopple contextual existence hence boosting their credibility. Code
(2002), discourse corresponds to Halliday’s ideation glosses and endophoric markers had least usage in all
function and metadiscourse serves the textual and PCRs. This implies that there was little reference to
interpersonal function. Metadiscourse brings out features information in other parts of the report and that there were
of a PCR that relates to its organization and stance few instances of explanations to what was written.
towards either its subject or audience. It allows the writers
and audience to have an interaction and relationship within
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Textual Metadiscourse of Kenyan Parliamentary Committee Reports