Modality and ENGAGEMENT in British and German political interviews

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Speakers regulary use modality and other resources from the appraisal system of engagement to position themselves intersubjectively. In doing so, they modify the discursive space for the voices of others. This is particularly relevant in political media interviews, especially in questions with topics that are potentially face-threatening to the interviewees’ public face. This paper compares the use of modality and other engagement resources in British and German political interviews and discusses the differences in frequency and function. Data is taken from videotaped and transcribed political interviews conducted during British and German election night broadcasts. Their analysis is based on recent studies in contrastive pragmatics, appraisal theory and pragmatically oriented studies on media discourse, bearing in mind that cross-cultural comparison of data taken from a particular genre has to take into account a broad range of contextual factors including genre-specific constraints.


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