Cross-cultural Variation in the Use of Modal Verbs in Academic English

Autores UPV
Revista SKY Journal of Linguistics


English academic writing has some specific characteristics that have been broadly defined by researchers. Nevertheless, English is undergoing constant modification as a result of being used as a lingua franca by international speakers. In this paper, my main objective is to determine whether language variation may be identified in cross-cultural communication when modal verbs of ability and possibility are used by speakers with different linguistic backgrounds. Furthermore, I would like to establish whether English writers tend to be more explicit than Spanish writers when both groups use English to communicate. The two corpora used in this study consisted of a set of fifty academic papers written in English by Spanish researchers and a set of fifty academic papers written in English by native English-speaking researchers. Both corpora were analysed to identify synchronic language variation in academic English when used by writers of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. The results showed that there are disparities in the use of possibility and ability modal verbs and the conclusion reached is that writers with dissimilar mother tongues express volition through modal verbs differently in international journals.