This paper intends to produce a quantitative and semantic analysis of MAY in Present-day British English. The data for this study are drawn from the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB). ICE-GB contains about one million running words, distributed over 500 texts, 300 spoken and 200 written, each totalling c. 2,000 words. All the texts date from 1990 to 1993 inclusive and embody the English used by "adult", "educated", "British people", that is by people aged 18 or over, educated in English to at least the completion of secondary school, and born in England, Scotland or Wales, or living there from an early age. A number os sociolinguistic variables were considered when compiling the corpus particularly with reference to textual types, both spoken and written. In order to qualify semantically all the occurrences of MAY recorded in ICE-GB, in the first place binomial notions like "intrinsic" vs. "extrinsic", "epistemic" vs. "deontic", and "possibility" vs. "necessity" will be revisited against the background of the theoretical discussions which have thrived over the past fifty years or so. This terminological reanalysis will lead to the adoption of the labels "epistemic", "deontic", "dynamic" and "existential in order to qualify the different types of modality exhibited by MAY. Secondly, the quantiative and qualitative distribution of the modal within ICE-GB will be studied; the data drawn form the corpus and the ensuing discussion will highlight the central role of syntactic and sociolinguistic constraints in the qualification of the semantic and discoursive pragamtic functions of each single occurrence.

Pragmatics and sociological constraints on the functions of MAY in contemporary British English

FACCHINETTI, Roberta
2003

Abstract

This paper intends to produce a quantitative and semantic analysis of MAY in Present-day British English. The data for this study are drawn from the British Component of the International Corpus of English (ICE-GB). ICE-GB contains about one million running words, distributed over 500 texts, 300 spoken and 200 written, each totalling c. 2,000 words. All the texts date from 1990 to 1993 inclusive and embody the English used by "adult", "educated", "British people", that is by people aged 18 or over, educated in English to at least the completion of secondary school, and born in England, Scotland or Wales, or living there from an early age. A number os sociolinguistic variables were considered when compiling the corpus particularly with reference to textual types, both spoken and written. In order to qualify semantically all the occurrences of MAY recorded in ICE-GB, in the first place binomial notions like "intrinsic" vs. "extrinsic", "epistemic" vs. "deontic", and "possibility" vs. "necessity" will be revisited against the background of the theoretical discussions which have thrived over the past fifty years or so. This terminological reanalysis will lead to the adoption of the labels "epistemic", "deontic", "dynamic" and "existential in order to qualify the different types of modality exhibited by MAY. Secondly, the quantiative and qualitative distribution of the modal within ICE-GB will be studied; the data drawn form the corpus and the ensuing discussion will highlight the central role of syntactic and sociolinguistic constraints in the qualification of the semantic and discoursive pragamtic functions of each single occurrence.
9783110176865
English modal verbs; British English; Corpus-based studies
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/20988
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact