Subjectivity in academic discourse – ELF vs Danish

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    English is rapidly gaining ground as an academic lingua franca at universities and other institutions of higher education in Denmark; however, so far very little is known about what characterizes this particular use of English as a lingua franca (ELF). Thus, it remains largely unexplored which linguistic challenges students with Danish as a first language are faced with when engaging in educational activities where English is used as a lingua franca and how – and possibly to what extent – these challenges are overcome.

    This paper reports on an ongoing investigation of how English is used by students with Danish as a first language in ELF student–student interactions, with a special emphasis on the use of modal verbs and epistemic and evidential adverbs to express subjectivity/speaker stance.

    The working hypothesis is that students with Danish as a first language are faced with a number of challenges when trying to convey subjectivity in English, simply because English offers a different set of possibilities for the expression of subjectivity than Danish does. If these challenges are not successfully overcome, the students may come across as blunt or overly cautious, which may have an impact on their ability to engage in the problem oriented group work which forms the basis of their current education.

    The primary data for the study consist of a number of video recorded ELF project group meetings within the arts and humanities at a Danish University. In addition to the primary ELF interactions, the data comprise meetings where Danish and English are used as first languages to allow for comparative analyses.
    Periode12 jul. 2009
    Begivenhedstitel11th International Pragmatics Conference
    PlaceringMelbourne, AustralienVis på kort