Presentation on theme: " Modalities are a class of items concerned with judgments or assessments of events or people (evaluative modality), (ii) degrees of commitment of the."— Presentation transcript:
Modalities are a class of items concerned with judgments or assessments of events or people (evaluative modality), (ii) degrees of commitment of the speaker to the truth of what is being uttered (e.g. possibility and prediction) (epistemic modality), and (iii) different degrees of authoritative control of others (e.g. obligation and permission) (deontic modality); Every utterance carries traces of a basic modal investment in the proposition uttered; Modality “covers linguistic constructions [that] … express speakers’ and writers’ attitudes towards themselves, towards their interlocutors, and towards their subject- matter; their social and economic relationships with the people they address; and the actions which are performed via language (ordering, accusing, promising, pleading)” (Fowler & Kress, 1979: p. 200);
Utterances are “signs of authority, intended to be believed and obeyed;” What gives people authority is not their linguistic competence but the social structure present in each of their utterances; Thus, holders of power are those “authorized to speak with authority;” When one’s utterances outgrow one’s place in the habitus, one is censored; (Bourdieu, 1999: pp. 502-508).
Power in discourse is most manifest in situations which place some people in unequal encounters with others (doctor- patient, student-teacher, parent-child, judge-convict, etc.). The aim of those powerful participants is “controlling and constraining the contributions of non-powerful participants;” Such constraints include contents (what is said or done), relations (the social relations that people enter into in discourse), and subjects (the “subject positions” that people can occupy) (Fairclough, 1989: p. 46).
Epistemic certitude is expressed: By means of modal auxiliaries such as must, etc. (The light is on; Mashari must be in his room); By means of semi-auxiliaries: the speaker's present certitude about a future happening can be expressed by a semi-auxiliary such as “to be bound to”; By means of modal adverbs such as certainly, undoubtedly, evidently, obviously, etc.; By means of frequency adverbs such as always, frequently, often, etc.; By means of assertion such as in The experiment is a failure vs. Is the experiment a failure?) (The assertion is the highest degree of certitude, Lyons, 1977: pp. 808-9); By means of verb choice (The experiment is a failure vs. The experiment seems to be a failure);
Epistemic lack of certitude is expressed: By modal auxiliaries: may/might provide a range of perspectives as to what kind of possibility the speaker has in mind; By attitudinal disjuncts: never, perhaps, maybe; By hedges: sort of suggests that the speaker is unable to definitely categorize the object of perception. Moreover, uncertainty can be suggested by the "either... or" construction; By particular modalizing verbs: "I suppose / presume/think undermine the strength of a full assertion. Lack of certainty could also be indicated by seem; By means of conjunction: as if/though
Companies that are successful on the web OPERATE differently from their laggard counterparts. Companies that are successful on the web are bound to OPERATE differently from their laggard counterparts. Companies that are successful on the web OFTEN operate differently from their laggard counterparts. Companies that are successful on the web MAY operate differently from their laggard counterparts. Companies that are successful on the web SEEM TO operate differently from their laggard counterparts. Companies that are successful on the web MAY not operate differently from their laggard counterparts. Companies that are successful on the web never OPERATE differently from their laggard counterparts.
The degree of epistemic commitment tends to influence our view of “reality” which is represented on a scale of certitude-lack of certitude; The degree of epistemic commitment tells us what sort of person the speaker is (careful, responsible, self-confident, over-confident, arrogant, etc.; If the speaker is believed, the degree of epistemic commitment that is adopted tends to bring persuasion in the reader/hearer;
Deontic modality is the qualitative commitment of the speaker to a harmonious or disharmonious interpersonal relation in the represented reality Deontic modality could be expressed: By means of modal auxiliaries such as may, must, should, etc. By means of the imperative mood such as Open the window
An authoritative person is perceived either as an undemocratic and despotic person, or as having strong personality; The victim of authority and power attracts a lot of sympathy, pity, etc. or disrespect on the part of observers; Depending on personality, the reader identifies either with the authoritative person or the victim of authority;
… And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to the United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate. (President Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, 9-20-01)
Determine which type of modality is dominant in the text (evaluative, epistemic and/or deontic), mentioning representative examples and using statistical skills, if need be; Determine the linguistic instruments of expressing modality (modals, semi-auxiliaries, mood, modal adverbs, assertion, tense, attitudinal disjuncts, hedges, modalizing verbs, conjunction, etc.); Determine the psychological effects modalities have created in the text (such as feelings of intrusion in liberty, lack of democracy, strong personality, sympathy, pity, disrespect, inferiority/superiority, authority, carefulness, responsibility, self-confidence, over-confidence, arrogance,, etc.)
(In the Colonel's office) Blueberry: So I have to see the general commanding operations against the Indians and tell him the truth about the Stanton Ranch, Sir... Colonel: Hm... I reckon you're overoptimistic, Blueberry. We're too far in to stop the killing now! Blueberry: We must try, Sir. Colonel: There is a lot of people in favor of this war... And the Indians themselves won't negotiate with anyone. Blueberry: Let me try! Colonel: Obstinate, eh? Well, General Crook is in command. He's at Camp Bowie... And you're in luck! I have to provide an escort for an ammunition train going there from Dallas... I'm short of officers... So I'll give you command of the escort. You take charge of the convoy from Pecos onward. Blueberry: Thanks, Sir! Colonel: Don't thank me... This'll be no picnic! It's a long dangerous way from Pecos to Camp Bowie. And I can't give you many men! You leave for Pecos in two days' time. Maybe you don't know the area, but you'll have an Apache guide. Now get some rest! Blueberry: Thanks again, Sir...