This paper analyses the use of modality in political discourse, focusing on UK TV electoral debates. While much of research on the discourse of electoral campaigns has been carried out in the field of political communication, with attention devoted mostly to macro-categories such as topics and functions, a call has come from those quarters (Benoit 2000) for a more fine-grained analysis addressing how topics are constructed and functions are performed linguistically. The analysis of modality offers a chance in this direction. Modality, concerned as it is with ‘the status of the proposition that describes an event’ (Palmer 2001: 1), or the “qualification of states of affairs” (Nuyts 2005) plays a crucial role in the discourse of electoral campaigns, where the establishing of consensus rests mainly on the capacity of constructing a certain representation of reality (what is) and of possible alternatives (what should be, what may be, what would be). In light of the above this paper analyses the use of the modal verbs ‘can’ and ‘should’ in the 2010 TV debates, from a Computer-Assisted Discourse Analysis (CADS) perspective, looking for relations between formal and functional aspects. Results suggest a specialization of functions for the two modals taken into consideration. Can, expressing possibility with commissive value, is mostly used in moves extolling candidates’ own virtues, while should, generally occurring with its core meaning of subjective obligation, is used in attacks to the adversaries.

Degano, C. (2013). The Use of Modality in UK TV Electoral Debates.. In W.C. Franca Poppi (a cura di), The Three Waves of Globalization: Winds of Change in Professional, Institutional and Academic Genres. (pp. 197-220). Newscastle upon Tyne (GB) : Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

The Use of Modality in UK TV Electoral Debates.

DEGANO, CHIARA
2013

Abstract

This paper analyses the use of modality in political discourse, focusing on UK TV electoral debates. While much of research on the discourse of electoral campaigns has been carried out in the field of political communication, with attention devoted mostly to macro-categories such as topics and functions, a call has come from those quarters (Benoit 2000) for a more fine-grained analysis addressing how topics are constructed and functions are performed linguistically. The analysis of modality offers a chance in this direction. Modality, concerned as it is with ‘the status of the proposition that describes an event’ (Palmer 2001: 1), or the “qualification of states of affairs” (Nuyts 2005) plays a crucial role in the discourse of electoral campaigns, where the establishing of consensus rests mainly on the capacity of constructing a certain representation of reality (what is) and of possible alternatives (what should be, what may be, what would be). In light of the above this paper analyses the use of the modal verbs ‘can’ and ‘should’ in the 2010 TV debates, from a Computer-Assisted Discourse Analysis (CADS) perspective, looking for relations between formal and functional aspects. Results suggest a specialization of functions for the two modals taken into consideration. Can, expressing possibility with commissive value, is mostly used in moves extolling candidates’ own virtues, while should, generally occurring with its core meaning of subjective obligation, is used in attacks to the adversaries.
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
English
Rilevanza internazionale
Capitolo o saggio
Degano, C. (2013). The Use of Modality in UK TV Electoral Debates.. In W.C. Franca Poppi (a cura di), The Three Waves of Globalization: Winds of Change in Professional, Institutional and Academic Genres. (pp. 197-220). Newscastle upon Tyne (GB) : Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Degano, C
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2108/139264
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