Expression of Epistemic Stance in EFL Chinese University Students’ Writing

Zhenzhen Chen


This paper reported findings on a contrastive analysis of epistemic expressions in argumentative essays between NS and NNS Chinese L2 writers. Based on an examination of a NS corpus and a NNS learner corpus across four proficiency levels, the study shows there is great similarity in the total number of epistemic devices used per thousand words between the NS and NNS university students’ written texts. However, the NNS were found to use a restricted range of epistemic items to express epistemic modality and their written texts were marked by strong, unwarranted assertions compared with those of NS students. The study suggested there seems to be an improvement in selecting an appropriate level of commitment to the propositions being expressed with the increase in the students’ proficiency.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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