Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

A Corporal Investigation into the Employment of Adverbs in Masters Efl Candidates' Academic Essays

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

A Corporal Investigation into the Employment of Adverbs in Masters Efl Candidates' Academic Essays

Article excerpt


Adverbs describe adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs in English. They can take a wide variety of functions like time, space, manner, and frequency. They can occur initially, medially, and finally in sentences and appear before and after verbs, and before adjectives (Heidler, 2011). Adverbs are not a homogeneous class of words, but they are a controversial category (Cruschina, 2010).

Of the four English skills, writing has been found to be the most difficult for EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners to master, as writing in a second language requires both syntactic and semantic knowledge. Clearly understood, the insufficiency of linguistic knowledge or limited wrong competence has a negative impact on writing proficiency as well as L2 (second language) writing quality (Watcharapunyawong &Usaha, 2013). Santos (2000) explained that there are three reasons making writing increasingly essential. 1) more international linguists are promoting writing as their field of specialization, 2) more articles and journals are being published in English, and 3) more international students are pursuing their degrees in English speaking countries.

One of the most important challenges in writing is non-nativelikeness. Heidler (2011) showed that non- native speakers' overuse of some words can make writing unnatural. And this is also true for Iranian EFL learners who make use of certain words in particular adverbs to express themselves. Thus, one aim of this research study is to compare the employment of adverbs by Iranian EFL learners and native speakers.

1.1 Research Questions:

The current study aims to investigate the employment of adverbs in Iranian EFL learners' academic writings to answer the following questions .

1) To what extent do Iranian masters EFL learners use adverbs in writings?

2) Which types of adverbs are overused/underused?

3) How differently do genders use adverbs?

4) To what extent are Iranian EFL learners' writings native-like?

1.2 Hypotheses of the study:

H0L Iranian MA EFL students do not use adverbs to a great extent in writings.

H02: Iranian MA EFL students have no variety in using adverbs in writings.

H03: There is no employment of adverbs in academic writing.

2.Review of the related literature

Zareva (2011) investigated the use of linking adverbials in academic presentations given by university students, both undergraduate and graduate students, in the U.S.A. The author compiled two corpora of individual presentations. The L1 corpus contained 30,205 words and the L2 corpus 30,269 words. It was found that the two groups did not differ much in choosing linking adverbials in terms of semantic types, forms, frequency and position. In a few cases, the ESL learners overused some types and forms of linking adverbials (e.g. so) in their presentations. The author also suggested that L1 presenters should not be the model for L2 presenters, but L2 learners should be made aware of some of those markers used by L1 presenters. This study also claimed that ESL presenters tended to use linking adverbials in the wrong register. They used formal linking adverbials in their oral presentations which were normally used in academic writing.

Koller and Zhang (2015) examined written works of Chinese students enrolled in college ESL. They recorded adverbs and adverbial phrases which they used in their writing. They used adverbs in different positions in sentences. The results of the study showed that sentence-initials and post-verbals had the highest frequency.

Cruschina (2010) found that modality adverbs have a high frequency at an initial position. Manner and punctual adverbial categories were frequently used by his study students and most of them placed adverbial phrases in the sentence- initial position. It seems that this was due to the ease and prestige which were associated with the sentence- initial placement and the default position of English adverbs. …

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