Modality as a means of modifying the illocutionary force of utterances in political interviews
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Participants in a conversational exchange may express their viewpoints in a number of ways, or put more precisely, they use various ways of expressing their viewpoints. When employing phrases such as It is likely that ..., perhaps ..., actually ..., it is possible that..., and I think that ..., etc., speakers modify the meaning, or the illocutionary force, of the utterances they make. This feature, which has been called ‘modality’, is present, among others, in the genre of political interview and serves various functions. The present contribution offers an inquiry into the linguistic means that politicians utilize to modify their involvement in, or their detachment from, the proposition and in this way they alter the meaning of their statements.
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