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Speaker Involvement in Political Interviews

Jana Kozubíková Šandová

This book offers a pragma-semantic analysis of linguistic means expressing speaker involvement in the genre of political interview. The research is based on an analysis of 40 interviews with British and American politicians. The aim of this work is to confirm or reject the claim that the genre of political interview is detached and impersonal as is typical of any other type of formal interaction. The study also investigates whether female politicians are more indeterminate in their expression than male politicians, and whether the expression of males is matter-of-fact and more precise. The book provides new insights into the genre of political interview and contributes to the study of speaker involvement and means of its expression.
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9 Modality

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9.1 Introduction

As anticipated in the previous section, this chapter will deal with modality in the corpus of political interviews. Needless to say, it is a distinct linguistic category which has been described from various viewpoints. It has also been contrasted with the related notions of mood and evidentiality (cf. Frawley 1992; Hoye 1997; Palmer 2001; Huddleston and Pullum 2002; among others). A comparison of these concepts with modality will be provided in Sections 9.1 and 9.2. Modality is classified into several types, which will be described in Section 9.5. Apart from classifying modality into epistemic and deontic types, there have been other classifications, they are mentioned in Section 9.6. As with boosting and hedging, the frequency of occurrence of modal expressions in the corpus was investigated. A quantitative and qualitative analysis of these expressions and types of modality is offered in Section 9.9. Section 9.10 deals with gender-specificity and modality and Section 9.11 describes an interesting topic of modal combinations.

As already mentioned, the expression of speaker’s attitude towards the proposition is also connected, apart from the intensification or attenuation of the illocutionary force, with the concept of modality, which equally functions as a means of modifying the illocutionary force of utterances. The main reason for this is the fact that speakers or writers communicate not only bare facts but also their own stance toward the proposition. “Speakers often qualify their statements with respect to believability, reliability, and general compatibility with accepted fact...

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