Edited by Amy B.M. Tsui
[Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 12:1] 2002
► pp. 117–141
An assumption of this paper is that non-standard use of language will be accompanied by non-standard features of understanding. An attempt is made to access the meaning perceptions of learners at different levels of proficiency. The paper reports on what English learners in Brunei think English modal verb forms mean. It focuses specifically on would and discusses its use in Standard British English and in Brunei English. Bruneian perceptions of the meaning of this modal are compared with its use. It is claimed that the non-standard use of would for non-assertiveness in Brunei English can partly be explained by users overfocusing on its non-factivity meaning. The issues of what the target variety may be and the appropriacy of non-standard features in this sociocultural and linguistic context are briefly discussed.