The Perception of English Modals among Arab Language Learners

Mahmoud Al-Qudah, Ayman Yasin


This paper aims at investigating the acquisition of English modality among Arab learners of English as a foreign language. Specifically, the study limits itself to the perception of modal verbs as a means of expressing modality. The productive use of modal verbs were analyzed by examining written texts made by 26 fourth-year students majoring in Applied English at the University of Jordan. Moreover, the meaning and function of modal verbs were investigated by asking the subjects to explicitly determine them in given sentences. The subjects were also asked to translate these sentences into their native language in an attempt to investigate the effect of the native language on the perception of modality. The study concludes that there is a gap in the use of English modal verbs as a way of expressing modality. It was found that the differences between Arabic and English modality seems to play an integral role in the misperception of English modality among Arab learners. Other factors, like teaching methods, seem to widen the gap.



Modality, modal verbs, Arabic, translation

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