This is a book about semantic theories of modality. Its main goal is to
explain and evaluate important contemporary theories within linguistics and
to discuss a wide range of linguistic phenomena from the perspective of
these theories. The introduction describes the variety of grammatical
phenomena associated with modality, explaining why modal verbs, adjectives,
and adverbs represent the core phenomena. Chapters are then devoted to the
possible worlds semantics for modality developed in modal logic; current
theories of modal semantics within linguistics; and the most important
empirical areas of research. The author concludes by discussing the
relation between modality and other topics, especially tense, aspect, mood,
and discourse meaning.
Paul Portner's accessible guide to this key area of current research will
be welcomed by students of linguistics at graduate level and above, as well
as by researchers in philosophy, computational science, and related fields.