ERIC Number: ED465301
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Reference Count: N/A
A Contrastive Study of Qualification Devices in Native and Non-Native Argumentative Texts in English.
Neff, JoAnne; Martinez, Francisco; Rica, Juan Pedro
This paper presents results from a contrastive study of qualification devices used in a 400,000-word corpus of English argumentative texts, written by English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) Spanish university students, U.S. university students, and native professional writers (newspaper editorials in English). The study attempted to account for the great differences between native and non-native texts in regard to use of the modal verbs "can,""could,""may,""might," and "must." The study also proposed reasons for why over- or underuse should occur in the EFL texts as compared to the professional editorial texts. Results indicated that some of the problems Spanish writers experienced may have been due to discourse differences between Spanish and English (first language factors). The study confirmed differences that appeared in previous research in relation to the discourse conventions used in constructing writer stance. The overuse by Spanish writers of "we can" and "we must" followed by verbs of mental and verbal processes suggested a transfer of politeness strategies from the Spanish academic context. In regard to reporting verbs as a qualification device, results revealed that the total tokens were similar, but the frequencies for individual verbs varied notably. (Contains 29 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Ministry of Education and Science, Madrid (Spain).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain