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Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages

Discourse-pragmatic perspectives

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Edited By Juana I. Marín-Arrese, Julia Lavid-López, Marta Carretero, Elena Domínguez Romero, Mª Victoria Martín de la Rosa and María Pérez Blanco

Evidentiality and Modality in European Languages focuses on discourse-pragmatic studies on the domains of evidentiality and epistemic modality, and also includes studies on deontic modality. The book presents ground-breaking research on the functions and the discourse-pragmatic variation of evidential expressions and modals in diverse discourses and genres, applying corpus-based methodologies. It offers unique features regarding content, usage and methodology, and comparative studies. The comparative viewpoint is addressed in contributions which provide a usage-based cross-linguistic account of the expression of evidentiality and modality in various European languages (English, French, Italian, Romanian and Spanish). The contributions are representative of the work on evidentiality and modality in European languages carried out in a substantial number of countries, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

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Variation and Function of Modals in Linguistics and Engineering Research Papers in English (Francisco Alonso Almeida / María Luisa Carrió Pastor)

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FRANCISCO ALONSO ALMEIDA AND MARÍA LUISA CARRIÓ PASTOR

Variation and Function of Modals in Linguistics and Engineering Research Papers in English1

Abstract: This paper investigates modals in Linguistics and Engineering research articles. The study has two main objectives. The first one concerns the identification and categorization of modals used in research articles written in English by native speakers. The second objective is of a contrastive nature. We are much interested in measuring the use and function of modals according to register. For this study, we focus on material traditionally categorized as belonging to the realm of the humanities, e.g. linguistic research, and material categorized as belonging to the hard sciences, e.g. engineering research. Without further considerations as to the suitability of these categories, we want to explore on the motivations behind the use of modals in these branches of scientific thought. Our corpus was gathered for this purpose in mind with a selection of papers from the humanities and the hard sciences. Although corpus tools are fundamental for statistical representations, manual analyses are also important in order to detect pragmatic use of language denoting authority or lack of it. Our conclusions report on the motivations leading to the use of modals in relation to register.

Keywords: variation – modals – function – linguistics – engineering research papers – scientific thought – register

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