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Strong epistemic modality in parliamentary discourse

Milica Vukovic
Published Online: 2014-10-15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/opli-2014-0003

Abstract

Sounding convincing in order to convince ‒ this simple strategy seems to come in handy for politicians trying to win over the electorate. Strong epistemic modality, which allows politicians to express a great degree of commitment to the truth of the utterance, pervades political discourse in general and parliamentary discourse in particular. The aim of the paper is to examine the linguistic devices employed to express certainty and commitment, i.e. to study strong epistemic modality systematically in the UK parliamentary language. The examination is carried out on strong epistemic adverbs, verbs, nouns and adjectives both quantitatively and qualitatively, and some reflections regarding their use in the Labour and the opposition discourse are presented. The results point to a relatively strong presence of strong epistemic modality in parliamentary discourse and light is shed on the ways it is used in this type of discourse.

Keywords: strong epistemic modality; UK parliamentary debate; parliamentary discourse

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About the article

Received: 2014-04-19

Accepted: 2014-09-05

Published Online: 2014-10-15


Citation Information: Open Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/opli-2014-0003.

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© 2014 Milica Vukovic. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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