English News texts in the Light of Authorial Orientation: A Classification of Subjective and Objecive Text Types Based on the System of Modality
Martin Kaltenbacher [+]
University of Salzburg
Newspapers host a range of different text types that contribute to a paper's coverage of a particular piece of news. These include, e.g., reports, analyses, comments, editorials, columns and letters/emails to the editor. As the landscape in the printed press has undergone considerable changes over the past decades, it has been argued that the boundaries between different newspaper text types have been shifted, blurred or even abolished. This chapter shows, however, that the boundaries between informative and commenting newspaper genres remain solid and intact. The study is grounded on an analytic method based on grammatical structure rather than on semantic or pragmatic criteria. The grammatical system used for analysis here is Modality (Halliday 1994), and the primary focus has been laid on the choice of modal expressions in terms of their authorial orientation and manifestation in the four categories explicit-subjective, implicit-subjective, implicit-objective and explicit-objective. The results indicate that newspaper genres – at least in the quality press – can be clearly delineated in terms of the subjective/objective modal orientation patterns chosen by the authors.