I’m definitely a linguistic student: A contrastive corpus study on epistemic stance adverbials in the academic writing of native English writers, advanced Dutch and Turkish EFL learners

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This present study investigated first language transfer on the use of epistemic stance adverbials by advanced Turkish and Dutch EFL learners. It therefore focused on the frequency of epistemic stance adverbials and their positions in the academic prose written by native speaker writers, advanced Turkish MA student and Dutch BA students in the field of linguistics. The hypothesis was that the difference between Turkish EFL learners and native speakers (NSs) would be bigger than the comparison of Dutch EFL learners with NSs since Turkey departs from the Netherland regarding the status of English to a great extent. The second research question concerned with the differences in the placement of epistemic adverbials between NSs and EFL learners. Based on the design of the study, the hypothesis proposed that advanced EFL learners would prefer the same positions to place epistemic stance adverbials with NSs in an academic context. Considering previous studies, it was expected to find that the medial position would have the highest frequency; the initial position would come after the medial position; the least favored would be the end position (Biber et al., 1999; Hasselgård, 2010). This study confirmed the hypotheses and confirmed that there were differences in the frequency of epistemic adverbials between NSs and advanced EFL learners, especially a larger difference between NSs and Turkish EFL learners. Additionally, there was no significant difference in the positions of epistemic stance adverbials between NSs and Dutch EFL learner. The significant difference was found between NSs and Turkish EFL learners; Turkish learners favored the position between the main verb and the other obligatory elements in a clause over the position between the subject and the main verb even though these two positions are the subcategories of the medial position.
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