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A Study Of Persuasion Of Modality In Chinese Lawyers' Arguments-A Pragmatic Approach

Posted on:2007-07-22Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:Q F XingFull Text:PDF
GTID:2166360185950694Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
The present paper elaborates on the phenomena of the choice of modality expressions in Chinese lawyers' arguments from the pragmatic perspective. By analyzing 30 samples of lawyers' arguments, we aim to demonstrate which types of modality are frequently manipulated and how the counsel achieve persuasiveness by the choice of certain modal expressions.In order to adapt to the specific features and analysis of modality in lawyers' arguments, Verschueren's original Adaptation theory is further specified to the data collected for the research. Modality in lawyers' arguments is defined as various kinds of meaning ingredients contributing to the modification or coloring of the proposition or reference and prediction structure, involving many ways in which attitudes can be expressed towards an utterance, signaling factuality, degrees of certainty or doubt, vagueness, possibility, necessity, and even permission and obligation. Following the modified patterns we, considering the characteristics of lawyers' language, identify three types of modality: comment modals, modal verbs and adjuncts, and the combination use of modal elements.In the light of the theoretical framework formulated and articulated, we analyze the lawyers' arguments from the adaptation approach. Firstly, after a frequency analysis of the types and sub-types of modality, we found that the choice of modality covers 44.7% of all the clauses, of which, the comment adjuncts, which was assumed as a small part in the choice of modality, occupies 12.9 %. Secondly, we gave a detailed descriptive analysis concerning the persuasiveness function of the choice of modality from the mental world, consisting of emotive elements and cognitive elements, and the social world, which was further divided into power adaptation and politeness adaptation.This paper suggests that the modality can be used to display the lawyers' evaluation of the judge's perception and evaluation of the arguments, to prove theobjectivity of the arguments, to convey the lawyers' attitudes towards or confidence on certain event, to protect the lawyers' credibility. It is hoped that the present study can deepen the understanding of modality and persuasiveness of lawyers' arguments, and can add to the development of the adaptation theory.
Keywords/Search Tags:modality, adaptation, lawyers' arguments, choices
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