Use of Modal Auxiliaries by Macedonian Learners of English: a corpus based study

Mitkovska, Liljana and Buzarovska, Eleni and Kusevska, Marija (2012) Use of Modal Auxiliaries by Macedonian Learners of English: a corpus based study. In: English Language and Literature Studies: Embracing Edges, 7-9 Dec 2012, Belgrade, Republic of Serbia.

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This paper examines the acquisition of the central English modal verbs (can, could, may, might, should, must and have to) by Macedonian learners across several proficiency levels (A1, A2, B1 and B2). Research is carried out by application of the corpus linguistics research methodology related to interlanguage investigation as advocated by Granger (2002), Gilquin (2008), and others. Interlanguage data is obtained from the Macedonian English Learner Corpus – MELC (, which contains around 500 000 words of text written by Macedonian learners of English at various ages and proficiency levels. The Corpus of Contemporary American (COCA) serves as a reference corpus for comparative purposes. The main goal of the study is to determine the developmental pattern in the usage of modal verbs: how they are used in the writings of learners at each level from formal, semantic and pragmatic perspective. We look into the frequency of occurrence of English modal verbs at different levels and the distribution of their deontic and epistemic meanings. Preliminary research has shown that at lower levels learners use the modal verbs mainly in their prototypical meanings (e.g. deontic and dynamic can and deontic must). However, evidence shows that the inventory and functional scope expand at each level. Therefore, the aim of this research is to discover the directions and mechanisms of this expansion. Some usage modes may be result of crosslinguistic influence due to structural and pragmatic differences in students’ L1. We examine the extent of this influence and the error patterns in form and meaning at each level.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Humanities > Languages and literature
Divisions: Faculty of Philology
Depositing User: Marija Kusevska
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2012 13:23
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2015 08:31

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