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December 2021

Modality and tense in children's autobiographical accounts

Journal/Book: Narrat Inq. 1999; 9: PO Box 75577 Subscriptions Dept, 1070 an Amsterdam, Netherlands. John Benjamins B V Publ. 279-302.

Abstract: This is a study of modal time in the autobiographical narratives of a group of five, eight and twelve year old children. Specifically, it is a description of the discourse functions associated with the English modal auxiliaries in conjunction with tense markings in the narratives. The auxiliaries (can, could, will, would, may, must, might, shall, should, ought) are a set of grammatical functors that express a range of related concepts such as ability, permission, possibility, desire, intention and obligation. The narratives are discussed based on a form of variation analysis focusing on both the grammatical and the discursive shape of the stories. It is part of a wider exploration of the role played by language and grammar in the construction of self and identity.

Note: Article Quigley J, Univ Dublin Trinity Coll, Dept Psychol, Dublin 2, IRELAND

Keyword(s): child language; narrative development; tense and modality; functional linguistics; grammatical analysis; ENGLISH MODALS; DISCOURSE; SPEECH


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