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Title: Modality and politeness in Late Modern English : evidence from eighteenth and nineteenth century grammar and usage books
Author: Obara, Hiroshi
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis is concerned with providing an analysis of data on modal verb forms in grammar and usage manuals in the Late Modern English period. I consider (a) the influence of the historical sociolinguistic context and (b) how such context may be incorporated in a network model of structure and use. This study aims to clarify the distinctive nature of the relationship between language and politeness in English and highlight some ways in which grammars and usage books are relevant in furthering our understanding of Late Modern English grammar. Chapter 1 focuses on the state of eighteenth and nineteenth century English society, in order to understand its influence on aspects of linguistic activities and the grammatical tradition of the time. We can see that there was particular attention paid towards the proper use of language and the concept of politeness, resulting in the publication of many grammar, usage and manner books. Chapter 2 looks at the concepts of mood and modality referring mainly to the grammar book of Late Modern English period. It is possible to recognise that the concept of modality is derived and developed from the one of mood. I examine the classification and description of the modal auxiliary verbs, and how the form is related to both mood and modality. Chapter 3 treats politeness in depth. Two aspects are proposed as the driving forces in the conceptualisaton of politeness in Late Modern English: one is universal and the other is variable. The latter is the object to which this thesis pays most attention. Chapter 4 discusses the relationship between the modal auxiliary verb and politeness. The historical view, based on data from the Late Modern English period, suggests that the sense of politeness has emerged through the grammaticalization process affecting the modal auxiliary verb in English. Chapter 5 is concerned with modelling the mechanism by which the modal auxiliary verb represents a variety of senses of politeness in the later history of English. The mechanism is reflected as a network-based model and as an advance from the models previously proposed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available