The use of adverbial hedges in EAP students’ oral performance

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This paper addresses the natural, non-elicited occurrence of adverbial hedges in the production of Spanish learners of EAP and British students of Modern Languages. The two sets of corpus data we discuss in this research are made up of interviews which were conducted following the same methodology and mirroring the tasks in the LINDSEI oral corpus (de Cock 1998). Linguistically, our research builds on Biber (1988) and Biber et al.’s (1999) Multidimensional Analysis of language, which maintains that there is a tendency for linguistic features of morpho-syntactic and semantic nature to cluster together around dimensions of use. Results show important differences in the frequency of use as well as in the categories of adverbial hedges in these two comparable communities of use. Our research shows that, overall, both groups of speakers use adverbial hedges in a statistically significant and different way.


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