Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

Edited By Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank

This book "examines the reasons behind the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages."

Book Information

Sun Image

Title: Modality, Subjectivity, and Semantic Change
Subtitle: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective
Written By: Heiko Narrog

This book is a cross-linguistic exploration of semantic and functional change in modal markers. Its approach is broadly functional typological but makes frequent reference to work in formal semantics by scholars such as Angelika Kratzer and Paul Portner. The author starts by considering what modality is and how it relates to and differs from subjectivity. He argues that modality cannot be defined in terms of subjectivity: both concepts are independent of each other, the first exhibiting different degrees of subjectivity, and the second being operative in a much wider range of grammatical and lexical categories. Subjectivity, he suggests, should not be defined solely in terms of performativity, evidentiality, or construal, but rather from the interplay of multiple semantic and pragmatic factors. He then presents a two-dimensional model for the descriptive representation of modality, based on the notion that among the many aspects of modal meaning, volitivity and speech-act-orientation versus event-orientation are two of its most salient parameters. He shows that it is especially the dimension of speech-act orientation versus event-orientation, parallel to category climbing in syntax, that is operative in diachronic change. Numerous examples of diachronic change within modality and between modality and other categories are then examined with respect to their directionality. With a focus on Japanese and to a lesser extent Chinese the book is a countercheck to hypotheses built on the Indo-European languages. It also contains numerous illustrations from other languages.

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199694372
Pages: 352
Prices: U.S. $ 125