Epistemic Modality in English Research Paper and Its Practical Implications in EAP Class

Gradečak-Erdeljić, Tanja and Varga , Mirna (2012) Epistemic Modality in English Research Paper and Its Practical Implications in EAP Class. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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Traditionally, academic discourse was denoted as objective, neutral, impersonal and lacking in subjective appraisal. However, in the last two decades pragmatically oriented research of academic discourse has offered a significantly different and a more complex perspective of the scientific language use. Scientific texts have been assumed to be not only objective and informative research reports but also a type of a social dialogue between writers and readers in the scientific discourse community (Hyland 1998). Epistemic modality is one of the linguistic categories used to explore the interactive dimension of academic genres. According to the cognitive-pragmatic model (Nuyts 2000) epistemic modality is defined as a speaker's evaluation of the likelihood that a certain proposition has occurred or will occur. Its most prototypical linguistic realizations include modal verbs, modal adverbs, adjectives and nouns. The present paper has dual aims. Firstly, it identifies the prototypical markers of epistemic modality in the self-compiled corpus of 20 scientific papers in psychology and presents their distribution across the rhetorical sections of the paper. In addition, possible pragmatic motivation likely to underlie the usage of epistemic modality markers is also discussed. Secondly, the paper suggests some in-class activities which should prompt the psychology undergraduates to identify epistemic modality markers in different sections of the research papers and their contextual usage. It is assumed that practical implications of such activities should raise consciousness about the distribution of the most salient epistemic modality devices and improve students' level of pragmatic competence in EAP class.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. Ibrahim Kinal
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2012 08:53
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2012 08:53
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/1015

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