Modelling through Modality: (Re)shaping Brexit
Keywords:Brexit, modal verbs, modality, political discourse, corpus linguistics
Due to Brexit, the UK has been involved in a continuous political debate between Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition. This paper compares and analyses the modality used in a corpus consisting of their political speeches until Brexit day. Modal verbs are used to express ability, possibility, willingness, certainty, obligation and necessity. Politicians’ choice of certain words can be a useful tool to affect voters’ decisions and modality is a resource which reinforces that influence. The findings show remarkable similarities between both politicians and reveal that possibility is the most frequent meaning of the modal verbs used in the corpus.
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