Different pronouns, same referents: A corpus-based study of I, We and You in L2 lectures across disciplines


  • Osei Yaw Akoto Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6014-7600
  • Joseph Benjamin A. Afful University of Cape Coast




classroom discourse, academic lectures, personal pronouns, discourse referents, corpus-based approach


In recent times, studies on I, we and you (tri-PP) in academic lectures have focused on the L1 context. This paper, however, investigates the commonalities in the discourse reference of I, we, and you across three disciplinary supercommunities (DSs): Humanities (HS), Social Sciences (HS), and Natural Sciences (NS), using a corpus from L2 context. The concordance tool in AntConc was used to search for all instances of the tri-PP. The referents of the tri-PP were identified based on the contextual and co-textual clues. The study revealed three referents –lecturer, students, and lecturer + students – which were common to all the three investigated pronouns. Furthermore, the above referents were also found to be common to all the three broad knowledge domains. In a nutshell, the study revealed cross-pronominal and disciplinary commonalities in the discourse referents in academic lectures.

Author Biography

Joseph Benjamin A. Afful, University of Cape Coast

Professor, Department of English


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How to Cite

Akoto, O. Y., & B. A. Afful, J. (2022). Different pronouns, same referents: A corpus-based study of I, We and You in L2 lectures across disciplines. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 11(1), 93–118. https://doi.org/10.4314/gjl.v11i1.432