This book offers original theoretical accounts and a wealth of descriptive information concerning modality in present-day English. At the same time, it provides fresh impetus to more general linguistic issues such as grammaticalization, colloquialization, or the interplay between sociolinguistic and syntactic constraints. The articles fall into four sections: (a) the semantics and pragmatics of core modal verbs; (b) the status of emerging modal items; (c) stylistic variation and change; (d) sociolinguistic variation and syntactic models. In addition to distinguished newcomers, contributors include well-known specialists in the field. The book is of considerable value to students and teachers of English and Linguistics at undergraduate and graduate levels worldwide.
FROM THE CONTENTS:
Modality in English: theoretical, descriptive and typological issues
THE SEMANTICS AND PRAGMATICS OF CORE MODAL VERBS:
Irrealis, past time reference and modality
Modal auxiliary constructions, TAM and interrogatives
Gregory Ward, Betty J. Birner, and Jeffrey P. Kaplan
A pragmatic analysis of the epistemic would construction in English
Towards a contextual micro-analysis of the non-equivalence of might and could
THE STATUS OF EMERGING MODAL ITEMS
On two distinct uses of go as a conjoined marker of evaluative modality
Had better and might as well: on the margins of modality?
What you and I want: A functional approach to verb complementation of modal want to
Between epistemic modality and degree: the case of really
STYLISTIC VARIATION AND CHANGE
Modality on the move: the English modal auxiliaries 1961-1992
Changes in the modals and semi-modals of strong obligation and epistemic necessity in recent British English
Shall and will in contemporary English: a comparison with past uses
Pragmatic and sociological constraints on the functions of may in contemporary British English
SOCIOLINGUISTIC VARIATION AND SYNTACTIC MODELS
The role of epistemic modality in women's talk
Stephen J. Nagle
Double modals in the southern United States: syntactic structure or syntactic structures?
Modal verbs in Tyneside English: evidence for (socio)linguistic theory
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