Chapter published in:Re-Assessing Modalising Expressions: Categories, co-text, and context
Edited by Pascal Hohaus and Rainer Schulze
[Studies in Language Companion Series 216] 2020
► pp. 311–342
“The future elected government should fully represent the interests of Hongkong people”
Diachronic change in the use of modalising expressions in Hong Kong English between 1928 and 2018
The modal system of English in its development provides an ideal perspective on language variation and change. Since the sociocultural and socio-historical situation in specific postcolonial communities promotes diversity among New Englishes, it is likely to also affect their modal systems. In this paper, we seek to identify patterns in the use of modalising expressions in Hong Kong English in relation to topic, genre and the larger socio-historical context. Our diachronic study of the frequency and function of selected modal verbs in press news reports from the DC-HKE reveals a peak in the use of back-shifted will and deontic should between 1988–1992 that seems to be closely linked to developments of the genre and socio-political changes in Hong Kong.
Keywords: Hong Kong English (HKE), diachronic, corpus linguistics, newspaper discourse, socio-political context
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