PhD Research School in Linguistics and Philology

Snorre Karkkonen Svensson

Modality in Norwegian as second language — a corpus-based study

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The main objective is to study transfer (cross-linguistic influence) in learner texts within the semantic field of modality. Modality is one of the most interesting, challenging, though still least investigated areas within second language acquisition. This area of study is difficult because it is semantically complex and is expressed by several different means of language – not only by modals and adverbs, but also by other parts of speech and collocations. Modal meanings are conceptualized differently in different languages. The main tool is the corpus ASK (Norsk andrespråkskorpus), but also other material will be used for the study. The use of corpus enables us to discover patterns in the expression of modality in Norwegian as second language within groups of different language backgrounds and how it reflects different conceptualizations in different languages. The distribution between different linguistic means of expression (modals, modal expressions and words of different parts of speech, etc.) will be investigated in native Norwegian in comparison to Norwegian as second language for learners with German, Latvian and Russian language background, and German, Latvian and Russian. The study is based in cognitive linguistics and is a part of the ASKeladden project.

Svensson works at the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies.