I think: opinion, uncertainty or politeness in academic spoken English?


  • Inmaculada Fortanet

Palabras clave:

spoken academic discourse, academic English, dicourse analysis, corpus linguistics


Academic English is focusing the attention of many researchers in recent years, and especially the spoken academic language is becoming more and more relevant as a field for investigation (Flowerdew 1994; Thompson 1994). In the present research the use of the verb ¿think¿ preceded by the personal pronoun ¿I¿ is analysed in a corpus including Discussion Sections and Lectures taken from the MICASE Michigan Corpus of American Spoken English). The aim has been to find out why speakers use ¿I think¿ so often and how they do it. The results show that giving an opinion is the main function of ¿I think¿ in the corpus, though it is often aimed at expressing an evaluation of the understanding of students. This occurs mainly in Discussion Sections, where ¿I think¿ is mostly concentrated. The article ends up by considering the implications of the results for teaching academic English at the university level.

Biografía del autor/a

Inmaculada Fortanet

Universitat Jaume I