Lukšić, Sandra

Exploring the ideology behind modal expressions: A study of linguistic modality in Virginia Woolf's 'A Room of One's Own' / Sandra Lukšić ; Mislava Bertoša ; Irena Zovko Dinković. - 2017 - str.

This paper aims to investigate the use of various modal expressions in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and the ideology that lies behind different modal systems constructed in the essay. The analysis of narrative discourse falls under a broad notion of what is known as discourse analysis (DA), which is traditionally qualitative in nature and oriented towards investigating various aspects of language in use, in our case the use of two different modal systems within the framework of DA and pragmatics and on the corpus of a literary work. The research is focused on the use and function of various modal expressions (modal auxiliaries, adjectives, adverbs, lexical verbs and semantic constructions) in the overall discourse organization, while the pragmatic aspect is more oriented towards the dominant role of context in determining the meaning of frequently very polysemic modal expressions. The analysis comprises over 90 examples of various types of modal use which all contain the pronoun one occupying the syntactic function of the subject. The aim is to investigate how this pronoun as the subject, which defocuses the agent, is linked to various modal expressions from the systemic functional perspective (cf. Halliday 1985/1994), if we know that its semantics implies animacy and human behaviour, linking it therefore to the speaker and the expression of subjectivity. Various modal expressions, which can represent different modal systems (epistemic and non-epistemic), are being looked into from the aspect of different ideologies construed in the essay – possibility, probability, inference, obligation, and permission. Namely, the conception of a narrative as a genre within the discourse analysis paradigm, especially the critical DA (Fiarclough, 1989), underlined the need to relate its construction with issues such as power and inequality. Since Virginia Woolf's essay A Room of One's Own is considered one of the most important feminist pamphlets of the 20th century, the issues of ideology, power and gender inequality seem to be very relevant in that respect. Considering that, we want to find out the effects of the use of different modal systems in the essay, and how they are linked to the subject in terms of his/her commitment to the truth of a proposition, taking responsibility for his/her actions, creating a more powerful and persuasive discourse and implementing communicative strategies of pseudo-impersonalization and immunization (Clyne 1987).


Bertoša, Mislava ; Zovko Dinković, Irena ;

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