The Art of Argumentation: A Sociolinguistic Approach to Developing Thesis Statements (The Case of Kosova High School Students)

Donika Elezkurtaj Bërveniku


Living in a world of globalization, communication of various forms has become crucial. Should it be of a colloquial or formal use, language plays a vital role in our lives. As in every other area, communication is the “lifeblood” of academia as well (Becher & Trowler, 2001). Academia cannot be separated from its discourse and could not exist without it. Therefore, argumentative discourse is of an essential nature to both scholars and students. This sociolinguistically oriented research study reports on Kosovan, high school students’ problems in the process of argument building and the effectiveness of class activities that promote critical thinking and argumentation. Aiming for original and reliable results, corpus linguistics has been chosen as a means of collecting naturally occurring source corpora. The data obtained from two observed debates, 40 essay evaluations and a focus group, reveal that students are not aware of certain linguistic patterns present in spoken and/or written argumentation and that they do not feel comfortable when required to take a decision that demands systematic evaluation of their thinking in search for new answers. It is obvious from the study that in order for students to create warranted arguments, which is an inevitable skill in academia, Inquiry-based Learning should be integrated across the educational system in Kosova. The results have implications for syllabus and course materials.


Argumentation; critical thinking; sociolinguistics; corpus; syllabus

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