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Epistemic modality in MA dissertations.

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This paper reports on the compilation, and ongoing mark up and annotation, of a corpus of MA dissertations written by students at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University. The main focus of the paper is a preliminary investigation comparing the use of epistemic modality by native and advanced non-native speakers of English (henceforth NS and NNS respectively) in the corpus. The paper also outlines other possible uses of the corpus for research on academic English, made possible by the information encoded in the annotation and mark up.

Bibliographic note

The following three minor corrections have been made: 1) p.314, section 3.1, par.1, line 4: "that is, only titles ..." --> "that is, titles ...". 2) p.314, section 3.1, par.2, line 6: "representing more than half (55%) of the students' native languages" --> "representing more than half (55%) of the dissertations in the sub-corpus". 3) p.328, table 16, last row: "data or object of analysis or data" --> "data".