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Epistemic Modality in Linguistic and Literature Essays in English: A comparative corpus-based study of modal verbs in student claims
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study is a corpus-based comparison between student essays written in the subject areas of English linguistics and literature at undergraduate level. They are 200 Bachelor degree theses submitted at a variety of university departments (such as English, Language and Literature, Humanities, Social and Intercultural Studies) in Sweden. The comparison concerns frequencies of core modal verbs and how often they occur together with the I, we and it subject pronouns and in the structures this/the [essay, study, project, thesis] when students attempt to communicate their personal claims. Quantitative and qualitative analyses of the essays show few similarities in the ways that core modal verbs appear in both disciplines. The results indicate mainly distinct differences, especially in relation to clusters and variation of performative verbs. Specific patterns in the ways that students use core modal verbs as hedges have also been identified.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
academic discourse, discipline, modality, stance, hedging
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-22477OAI: diva2:943613


Available from: 2016-06-28 Created: 2016-06-28

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