TAKING STANCE ACROSS LANGUAGES: HIGH-VALUE MODAL VERBS OF EPISTEMIC NECESSITY AND INFERENCE IN ENGLISH AND POLISH LINGUISTICS RESEARCH ARTICLES
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Defined as 'the ways the writers project themselves into their texts to communicate their integrity, credibility, involvement, and a relationship to their subject matter and their readers' (Hyland, 1999: 101), stance can be expressed by a variety of means, including, among others, hedges, emphatics and attitude markers. The use of these elements - their frequency, distribution and variety in different text types - is language and culture-specific. This paper focuses on selected exponents of stance by which speakers of English and Polish express their assessment of the truth of a proposition and their commitment to this assessment, and more specifically, on high-value modal verbs of epistemic necessity and inference used in linguistics research articles in these two languages. The analysis is based on two corpora of research articles published in the years 2001-2006 in English- and Polish-language linguistics-related journals, each corpus consisting of 200 complete articles. The analysis focuses on the following modal and quasi-modal verbs: MUST, NEED, HAVE (GOT) TO (Eng.) and MUSIEc (Pl.) in an attempt to discuss their use in one specific genre and discipline but across languages and cultures. The results indicate that, compared to the English necessity and inference cluster, Polish MUST is heavily underrepresented, but that the proportion of epistemic and root meanings as well as the ratio of epistemic proper and indirect evidential senses is similar across the two studied corpora. It is also apparent that for the English data the relative frequency of individual modal expressions is different from that reported from non-academic varieties of English, and that the proportion of epistemic and root meanings for these modals is different in the studied sample and in non-academic contexts.
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