ERIC Number: ED396554
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
The Use of Lexical Certainty Modifiers by Non-Native (Finnish) and Native Speakers of English.
A study investigated the use of lexical certainty modifiers, which have a mitigating or emphasizing function (e.g., "I suppose,""sort of,""obviously"). Although certainty modifiers add little to the referential information of messages, they can be very important interpersonally, particularly in terms of politeness. Analysis focused on the use of certainty modifiers by advanced level non-native (Finnish) speakers (NNSs) of English in comparison with that of native (British) speakers and those in conversations in Finnish. NNSs were university-level students. Data were drawn from 12 recorded informal conversations, 4 for each conversation type: among NNSs; among native English speakers; and among native Finnish speakers. Three types of certainty modifiers (hedges, emphatics, implicit modifiers) were distinguished and their distribution in the three conversation types was examined. Results indicate that although the NNSs were otherwise proficient English speakers, they were largely unaware of the significance of certainty modifiers, with the result that their conversation seems more detached, more matter-of-fact, and less involved with each other and with the topic at hand than the native speakers of either English or Finnish. Contains 16 references. (MSE)
Descriptors: College Students, Comparative Analysis, English, English (Second Language), Finnish, Foreign Countries, Form Classes (Languages), Higher Education, Interpersonal Communication, Language Patterns, Language Research, Language Usage, Linguistic Theory, Native Speakers, Pragmatics, Second Languages, Uncommonly Taught Languages
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: "Pragmatics and Language Learning," Volume 4. Selected papers presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Pragmatics and Language Learning (6th, Urbana, IL, April 2-4, 1992); see FL 023 905.