Recent quantitative changes in the use of modals and quasi-modals in the Hong Kong, British and American printed press

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This chapter uses <i>Factiva</i>&#174; to examine recent evolution in the occurrence of verbal modal expressions in the Hong Kong newspaper <i>South China Morning Post</i>, in contrast with American and British newspapers. Previous research established that the frequency of the modals is decreasing in both British and American English generally, but increasing within the pages of <i>TIME Magazine</i>. The present research found that American newspaper data on the recent quantitative evolution of the modals parallel the <i>TIME </i>data to a degree, while British newspaper data correspond with data considered to be representative of BrE in its entirety. The quantitative evolutions of both the modals and the quasi-modals in the Hong Kong newspaper resemble the ones in the British newspapers. Keywords: modals and quasi-modals; constructional attrition; newspaper language; HKE; British and American English; Factiva&#174;


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