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MODAL

VERBS

1.
He wrote it himself.
He must have wri=en it himself.
unmodalized sentence: speaker commi=ed to
the factuality of the proposiFon
modalized: speakers commitment is qualied,
proposiFon is inferred
unmodalized sentence: stronger claim
knowledge by deducFon is weaker than
knowledge by direct experience
Morpho-syntacFc properFes shared
with auxiliaries have, be
qNICE properFes:
NegaFon without DO support
Inversion in interrog. Ss
Codas: I can come and so can Bill.
Emphasis without DO support: You shall have
the money by tomorrow.
qno event structure, do not assign theta-role
modals: under InecFon
have, be VP -> Tense
DO: Last Resort
modals
incompaFble with non-nite forms (to, be-ing,
have-en)
incompaFble with agreement (3rd sg)
short inniFve complement
no passive
no imperaFve
cannot cooccur

modals + past tense:
She could play the piano as a child.
past tense only in indirect speech:
The boss said she might leave immediately.
no past tense:
The boss said she must leave immediately.
epistemic: speakers a[tude to the truth-
value, factual status of the proposiFon
(proposiFonal modality)
root: non-actualized, potenFal events (event
modality)
(Palmer)
epistemic < Gk. knowledge
belief-sets of the speaker, the speakers mental
representaFon of reality
inferenFal processes
meta-representaFon of reality
qualicaFons concerning the speakers
knowledge: inference, assumpFon, speculaFon,
deducFon
epistemic modality = speaker-oriented

He must/might have overheard.


root modality: subject-oriented, Agent-
oriented
qdeonFc
qdynamic
deon%c < Gk. binding => obligaFon,
permission
deonFc modality: condiFoning factors are
external to individual
possibility/necessity of acts performed by
Agent
external deonFc source

You must do you duty.
You may leave early.
dynamic modality: internal factors, properFes
and disposiFons of individual: e.g. ability,
willingness

She can sing beauFfully.
Will you help me?
boundary deonFc/dynamic: fuzzy
a. He can go now.
permission: deonFc source
b. He can run a mile in 5 minutes.
dynamic, ability
He can escape.
dynamic: circumstances
c. She can speak French. ambiguous
d. The most we can expect is a slight cut in tax.
(ambiguous: no idenFable deonFc source)

root modals: selecFonal restricFons on subject
no expleFves:
a. It may rain. = epistemic
b. There must be a demonstraFon. = epistemic
?? inanimate Su:
c. The train/You must be early.

q BUT:
d. There must be discipline.(objecFve)
e. The dirt must be shoveled into the hole. (Agent
idenFed pragmaFcally)

root modals: aected by passivizaFon:
a. RelaFves may visit the students on Monday.
b. Students may be visited by relaFves.
= dierent focus:

usituaFon-type:
individual-level states force epistemic reading
a. He must have green eyes like his mother.
b. They may be naFve speakers of Dutch.

state predicates coerced into achievement or acFvity


reading: root reading becomes available:
c. I must be the best chess player there is.
d. You must be honest.
e. You must believe in God or theyll burn you at the
stake.
f. The new professor must be a naFve speaker of
Finnish.
g. I must know.
interrogaFon: limited context with epistemics: one does not
normally quesFon ones own set of beliefs :
a. May the race start? (= permission)
excepFons: rhetorical quesFons
b. Might/must John be a liar?

condiFonals same restricFons:

c. ?If John must have a high IQ, then his teachers should treat
him carefully.
d. ?If that blonde may be Jacks wife, we should keep quiet
about the secretary.

vs. deonFc:
e. If John must leave, then I will go too.
f. If money may rule, then there is no jusFce.
semanFc vs. pragmaFc strength

pragmaFc weakening: You must have more


cake.
pragmaFc strengthening:
BOSS TO EMPLOYEE: You may leave.
modal harmony:

Strange as it may seem
whatever you may say
must surely
should probably
may possibly

vs. non-harmonic:
It may surely have been = surely it is possible
NegaFon:
external: negaFon takes scope over modal:
George [cannot] swim. = lack of ability

internal: modal takes scope over negaFon:


Alfred shouldnt eat nuts. = should [not VP] =it is
advisable [for him not to eat nuts]
He [cant] [not have read it].
=It is not possible that he didnt read it
Modal [not]
necessity: shall, should, must, will, would,
ought to, be to, have to
possibility: epistemic may, might

not [Modal]
possibility: can, could,
root dare
root may, might
need

The scope of the perfect

She must [have saved] him. (epistemic - internal perfect)


= I am certain that she saved him.
= modal outside scope of perfect

She [could have] saved him if shed tried (dynamic -
external perfect)
He [should have] told her (deonFc external perfect)
= modal inside scope of perfect
root epistemic disFncFon:
syntacFc (Picallo 1990): epistemic modals are
inserted at sentence level while root modals
appear under VP
in the lexicon (Ross 1969, Jackendo 1971):
root and epistemic modals are disFnct lexical
items: root modals are transiFve predicates
control verbs, epistemic: intransiFve raising
verbs
contextual: semanFc pragmaFc component
(Papafragou 2000, Kratzer 1991)
unitary semanFc approach: common core
interpretaFons: context-dependent
modal expressions = proposiFonal operators
which quanFfy over a set of possible worlds,
idenFed by the proposiFon (the VP)
express dierent types of commitment to the
truth of the p: the speakers a[tude
< contextual and pragmaFc info
a. All Maori children must learn the names of their
ancestors.
b. The ancestors of the Maoris must have arrived from
TahiF.
c. If you must sneeze, at least use your handkerchief
d. The people said: Rakaipaka must be our chief.
(Kratzer 1977)
the modal base:
a. tribal duFes
b. general knowledge
c. personal disposiFon (disposiFonal must;)
d. the good of the tribe
modal relaFon: must = logical consequence
modal bases: CAN: poten%al, possibility
As a former champion, John can liu heavy weights. physical
As a simple guest, John can dress casually. social
As a University employee, John can get health benets. legal
As a human being, John can have conscious mental states. biological
modal operators express dierent types of
commitment to the truth of the proposiFon
modal operator: context of evaluaFon
modal base: inferred from the context
modal expressions: system-neutral,
underspecied with respect to content

Sentence: modal operator + modal base +


proposiFon (VP)
ambiguity : two dierent modal domains
available for one and the same sentence

I cant leave my husband penniless.


Of course you can, the law allows you to!
modal base 1: moral prole
modal base 2: legal regulaFons
modal relaFon: (lack of) possibility
core meaning:
necessity: must, need, have to, have got to,
should, ought to
possibility: can, may