J Eng Tech Movie Media > Volume 20(4); 2019 > Article
Journal of English Teaching through Movies and Media 2019;20(4):23-43.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.16875/stem.2019.20.4.23    Published online November 30, 2019.
Rhetoric of “Will I See You?”: Based on an Analysis of Fictional Conversations
Junya Hirano, Tomoko Matsumoto
Abstract
The difference between shall and will has mostly disappeared. In the modern age where causal usage overshadows formality, will is regularly used instead of shall because shall sounds too formal. Since it becomes hard to distinguish will from other modal verbs, the rhetorical impact of will in the question “Will I see you tonight?” has been lost. This paper analyzes the rhetoric of “Will I see you tonight?” by restoring the original characteristic of will that is often overlooked in casual English usage. To accomplish this goal, this paper focuses on the first-person subject question with will and its illogical nature of asking the hearer about the speaker’s own will. The aim of the authors is to show how this illogical nature is tied to its rhetorical meaning by extracting a number of examples such as movie dialogues and lyrics. “Will I see you tonight?” is not a sheer question but a powerfully rhetorical statement because this question demands the speaker pours his/her heart out, no matter what kind of consequence awaits. “Will I see you tonight?” is neither challenging nor accusatory but instead is illogical. It is for this reason that it works as an extremely romantic proposal.
Key Words: modal verb;will;shall;rhetoric;objectivity;subjectivity


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