A Generic Perspective
What are the social functions of China Daily editorials? How are these functions realized in the editorial texts? These are the questions the author focused on carrying out this study, which is aimed at exploring the reasons for the discourse practice of editorials of China Daily.
Beyond describing the language features of China Daily editorials, this book attempts to explain Interpersonal Rhetoric from cultural and social perspectives.
5 Modal Expressions in Editorials 113
5 Modal Expressions in Editorials 5.1 Introduction In the previous part, we have focused on one type of evaluation-attitudinal meaning. Taking this as the starting point and focusing on the modal expressions in editorials, we set out in this section to discuss the functions of modality in the editorials of China Daily in helping the author to convey positions and opinions. Following the research of Biber et al. (1999), a statistical analysis of the modal expressions in the data has been carried out. This reveals that in China Daily, a high proportion of cases of modality of obligation/necessity is frequently used to help construct a kind of identity of authority for the authors of the editorials. More interesting is that these modulations often appear at the appealing or calling-on stages, which clearly shows the persuasive and hortatory function of these expressions. In the last part of this chapter, a tentative study of the social functionalities of modal expressions in editorials is conducted. The first function modal expressions help to perform is authority construction, which refers to how the authority of the editorials is foregrounded; the second function is solidarity seeking, which refers to the phenomenon that modal expressions in editorials, especially modals of possibility, locate the authorial voice against a backdrop of alternative voices implied by the use of such modal expressions and thus enlarge the scope for negotiation between author and the potential audience. 5.2 Distribution of different modals in editorials According to Biber et al. (1999), modals can...
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