Modal adverbs of certainty in the rhetoric of Advocates General: a dialogic view

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Abstract

The article deals with EU judicial rhetoric and aims to demonstrate how a selection of modal adverbs of certainty (indeed, clearly, (not) necessarily and of course) are used in the Opinions of the Advocates General at the European Court of Justice (ECJ). To this end, it focuses on the rhetorical functions of these adverbs, such as adding emphasis, showing a high degree of commitment and backgrounding alternative viewpoints. The study applies the notions of stance and engagement (Hyland, 2005) and builds on the research into modal adverbs of certainty reported in Simon-Vandenbergen and Aijmer (2007). In summary, the analysis sheds light on the rhetorical potential of modal adverbs, stressing the dialogic dimension of legal opinion writing.

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