FUNCTIONS OF MODAL VERBS IN PAKISTANI RESEARCH DISCOURSE OF ECONOMICS AS AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE
Academic discourse like argumentative writing is meant to build strong arguments while projecting different theories and research. In academics, writers are expected to express certainty and doubt. In this regard, a modal verb is used to reflect the speaker’s perspective about anything obvious, tentative or reasonable. It improves language expressions to form accurate opinions, obligations, purposes and understanding of certain notions. Economic discourse through its representational nature caters selection and distribution of ideas and products by convincing the readers. All academic genres including thesis writing as selected for this study are also persuasive and structured to accommodate the reader’s idea and agreement with the stated idea. Five PhD theses in Economics are selected to analyze the modal trends and their functions in Pakistani academic research discourse of social sciences exploring four major chapters of Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology and Discussion unveiling an intersubjective trend of discourse. Incorporating the Systemic Functional Linguistics model of contextual analysis (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2014), this study also focuses on these similar trends of locating the possibility and likelihood of commencement of events or ideas through the use of modal verbs by using Halliday’s (2014) model of modality choices incorporating a third category of orientation by Lyons (1977) and Coates (1983) known as inter-subjectivity which makes the modalities more neutral and closely connecting writer with its audience. The results of the study uncover modulation patterns of inclinations and obligation in addition to the traditional pattern of modalization for proposing claims in academic discourse. The findings highlight how modal verbs in economic research discourse play a major role in putting forward the writer's propositions and implicitly invite readers for its validation and proposed implementations through future actions. The research enlightens academicians specifically in the field of economic research about their written research discourse which is not simply about stating the facts but inviting, and sometimes manipulating the reader, regarding the writer’s own proposed stance.