ERIC Number: ED390260
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Sep
Modifying Meanings: Modality and Argumentation in Students' Written Answers to a Legal Problem.
Hong Kong Papers in Linguistics and Language Teaching, v18 p59-72 Sep 1995
This article investigates certain modal choices made by law students when writing in an English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) adjunct class, illustrating areas of concern and instances of successful development of ideas in extracts from first-year undergraduate law students' essays on a problem in tort law. The study compares judgements of teachers regarding the status of claims made in the students' writing and examines effects of the writers' epistemic modal choices upon the consistency and warrant of argumentation in the texts. Findings suggest that inconsistencies in the wording of arguments do not necessarily reflect any underlying intellectual confusion over content or writer's viewpoint. The discussion emphasizes the value of understanding and appreciating students' academic legal writing as it develops in a second language context and suggests that students are likely to become more aware of the need for careful wording as they introduce possibilities into their texts through the experience of reading, and being asked to make written comments upon, the answers of other students. An appendix presents the study's dataset of 30 conclusions to a specific aspect of one legal case. (Contains 16 references.) (NAV)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: For complete volume, see FL 023 432.