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A Contrastive Analysis of Interpersonal Meaning Conveyed by Modality in English and Chinese News

Author: WangLe
Tutor: TianJinPing
School: Shanxi Normal University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: modality system modal words contrastive analysis
CLC: H05
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 87
Quote: 0
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Abstract


People are trying to set up and maintain good personal relations by using theirlanguage. And such interpersonal relations in daily life formed the interpersonalmeaning based on systemic-functional grammar. And the topic of interpersonalmeaning has attracted many linguists to research from different respects. However,fewer of them have studied interpersonal meaning realized by modality. And Modalitywhich can be used to indicate people’s judgment or attitude on something is the mainrealization of interpersonal meaning of language. And in this paper, the author willmake contrast of interpersonal meaning realized by modality in English news andChinese news. The theoretical basis of this paper is Halliday’s systemic-functionalgrammar. The English raw and Chinese raw is respectively downloaded fromwww.nytimes.com and www.titan24.com.The author analyses English and Chinese materials from five realizations of themodality system (including the finite modal operator, modal adjunct, modal lexicalverbs, adjectives and nouns, metaphors of modality). We can find that finite modaloperators and modal adjunct are the main realizations in modality system both inEnglish news and Chinese news. There are fewer cases of Modal lexical verb,adjective in English and Chinese news. We can find some differences: 1) Modaladjunct is more popular in Chinese news; 2)Whereas Finite modal operators havemore frequency in English news; 3) The occurrence of modal lexical verb in Chinesecorpus is higher than that of its counterpart in English news. We can conclude that both of the similarities and disparities of the interpersonal meaning can be realized bythe contrast of modality system in English and Chinese corpus. The similarities arethat modality can be used to show the objectivity of the news and modality can alsobe used to meet the polite strategy. The differences existed in interpersonal meaningswhich are realized by modality system is because that different social-cultural factorsand different ideology existed in China and English-spoken countries.And these findings will help readers understand English and Chinese news betterand can also be helpful in language teaching.

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