Must We Teach Epistemic And Deontic Use?

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Title: Must we teach epistemic and deontic use? Using corpora to identify patterns and make teaching decisions for must Corpora, which analyze authentic language, have become the new way to discover usage patterns that can be used to help teachers to make informed decisions about what to teach, and when to teach it. Determining whether epistemic or deontic must is more frequent, and therefore which is the preferred form to teach was the motivation for this brief analysis. This paper describes a brief corpus examination for the modal must. Specifically, this analysis examined the patterns that emerged for must. It was determined that the frequency of modality could be a result of the register in which instances occurred, and within both…show more content…
2) Modals do not change to show tense. 3) Modals carry the negative of the sentence by the addition of not/n 't 4) Modals form questions by inversion with the subject of the sentence. 5) Modals are all followed by the base form of the verb without the addition of to. Combining a modal auxiliary with a simply present verb, “to” is not necessary (Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, 1999). Modals are also difficult to learn because of their meaning, or how they function in a sentence. Cook (1978) notes in the following quote that the form is not what causes the difficulty, but rather the meaning. English modal verbs constitute a problem for the student of English as a foreign language. The problem lies not in the surface positioning of the modals, since they are always the first auxiliary in the verb phrase, nor in the positioning of the negative, since the negative always follows the modal verb. The problem lies in the recognition and proper use of the meanings. (p.5) Functionally, each modal has several meanings. They can be divided according to their meanings into being epistemic or deontic modals. Epistemic modals are used to indicate the speaker’s opinion about the truth of some proposition (Palmer, 1990). In other words, in the epistemic use, modals can be interpreted as indicating inference or some other process

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