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“Arguments That Could Possibly Be Urged”: Modal Verbs and Tentativeness in the Coruña Corpus

Departmento de Letras, Universidade da Coruña, 15071 A Coruña, Spain
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Languages 2019, 4(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages4030057
Received: 8 May 2019 / Revised: 24 June 2019 / Accepted: 5 July 2019 / Published: 22 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Formal and Methodological Approaches to Applied Linguistics)
This paper complements previous research into the late Modern English scientific writing uses of the adverbs possibly and perhaps as manifestations of either subjectivity or intersubjectivity, as presented in the Coruña Corpus of English Scientific Writing. In order to have a better understanding of the uses of these adverbs as markers of tentativeness, we will explore their syntagmatic relations with modal verbs. It is widely assumed that scientific discourse has an objective nature, although it has been questioned by its use of hedging and other expressions of stance. In the present study, we will assess how modal verbs accompanying these stance adverbs modulate the expression of tentativeness. The use of stance adverbs shows authorial presence and a covert interaction with the reader. The paper examines different degrees of hesitancy depending on the type of modal verb accompanying these adverbs. The analysis has been carried out on four subcorpora of the Coruña Corpus of English Scientific Writing. Our findings will be presented from a more general to a more detailed account for each of the forms under investigation and interpreted taking into account the variables ‘date of publication’ and ‘genre’ for the text, and ‘sex’ for the author. View Full-Text
Keywords: modals; late Modern English scientific writing; Coruña Corpus modals; late Modern English scientific writing; Coruña Corpus
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Moskowich, I.; Crespo, B. “Arguments That Could Possibly Be Urged”: Modal Verbs and Tentativeness in the Coruña Corpus. Languages 2019, 4, 57.

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