Towards a Computerized Linguistic Assessment of Formal Writing

Duc Huu Pham


The purpose of this research is to present the
application of grammatical metaphor (nominalization)
and some other formal English features in such written
texts as formal reports or research papers that can lead
to the formation of computer-assisted assessment. The
study begins by presenting the definition of a formal
report as a written text and categorizing them as more
complex than the oral discourse of word-of-mouth
conversations. It next reviews the concepts of systemic
functional theory by which the oral communication
form is transformed from speech to literature. It then
provides the nominalization in details, considering some
aspects of systemic functional theory such as discourse
makers, meta-functions and information packing. The
study also includes an survey of 1000 written academic
texts to find out the ratio of nouns to verbs, and
mentions how students’ the awareness of using informal
and formal English is raised in their writing reports.
The research focuses on the survey of a group of the
students in an English-medium university whose
English level is between intermediate and early
advanced, resulting in the tentative writing of a
software program that benefits both teachers and
students. It concludes with suggestions for further
research using the application to investigate gaps in
knowledge of computer-based natural language


anaphora, congruent, discourse marker, experiential, incongruent, interpersonal, meta-function, metaphorical, nominalization, packing, textual, unpacking

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