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This work is a study of ideology and its workings in two Nigerian Newspapers: The Guardian and Daily Trust using Modality as the analytical element. Modality as a property of language use is generally exploited by language users and its role in newspaper editorials is of importance in that editorial writers tend to make use of it to establish either a positive comment or bias in a text to manipulate their readers’ opinions. Through Critical Discourse Analysis of the selected editorials culled from The Guardian and Daily Trust, the present study firstly aimed at identifying the linguistic manifestations of modality employed in the two newspapers and secondly embarked on some elaborate descriptions of the implications of the cited data. Modals such as “can”, “could”, “may”, “must” and “should” were specifically isolated and fully characterised to account for the orientations of the newspapers. An analysis of the two papers shows that modals were employed as ideological devices. Also, a comparison - in terms of how modals were employed - suggests that The Guardian made more use of modals of obligation and necessity, while Daily Trust preferred mainly predictive auxiliary modals to the other kinds of modals. The higher number of the predictive modals in Daily Trust thus suggests the idea that identifying what would happen in the future is the main concern of the editorial writers, while The Guardian is more concerned with strongly prescribing steps for the government to follow.
Language is a critical part of existence that is fundamental to human life and living;
one of the chief attributes that separate humans from other creatures. It is an embracing form
of human activity that has a resultant effect on every aspect of life, the property of which we
build, demolish and rebuild individual and social identities in the society. Language
differentiates man from other creatures and seems to be his unique impact in biological
evolution, according to Corcoran (1979). We communicate, transact business, bond with
others, show love, persuade, educate, gossip, alienate and prevaricate, principally using the
mode of spoken and written language. We speak, read and think with language. Language is
one of the important cords that bind a society together and Pavlov (1927/1960) places
emphasis on its importance in society when he asserts: “
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