A contrastive analysis of epistemic modality in scientific English

Autores UPV
Revista LFE. Revista de Lenguas para Fines Específicos


This paper investigates the use of epistemic expressions in scientific English. The main aim of this research is to analyse if native speakers of English use epistemic modality in the same way than non-native speakers of English and to detect the most outstanding cognitive implications of this fact. The corpus used in this research contains 50 research papers written by native English speakers and 50 scientific papers written by Spanish researchers who use English to communicate internationally. As epistemic modals are used to indicate the possibility of some piece of knowledge, this paper focuses on epistemic modal verbs in order to detect if native speakers of English and non-native speakers of English communicate modality in the same way, or if there are differences in frequency and use. The results obtained in this analysis indicated that there are differences in the frequency of use of epistemic expressions, even if the intention of the writers is the same.