Modality, Modal Commitment and Modal Responsibility of the Speeches Delivered by the President of Sri Lanka at the UNO General Assembly: A Systemic Functional Analysis

Upul Priyantha Gamage, Patrick Sadi Makangila


The main aim of this paper is to unpack the types of modality used, and their level of commitment and responsibility in the selected sample. Also, this study scrutinizes the frequency of occurrence of modal expressions by employing the Systemic Functional Linguistic approach. As was found out, the first case does not reflect a higher frequency of modal expressions, but in the second case, it remains in a higher percentage by showing the commitment of the speaker towards the propositions and proposal of the speeches. Apart from typical modal verbal operators, the study found a considerable number of other modal expressions such as different mood adjuncts and adjectival expressions over the two speeches which also have been used to persuade the listeners of his assembly. The speaker’s commitment to the validity of messages is obviously manifested in both cases of the present study which illustrates how important modality in political discourse.

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