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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: What is modal about I thought that…?
Author: Susan Reed
Institution: Université Catholique de Louvain
Linguistic Field: Semantics
Abstract: Some nonmodal tense forms (e.g. thought) can trigger one or two kinds of modal interpretation, viz. suspended factuality (implicating present counterfactuality) of the complement clause (I thought you weren't married) or discourse tentativeness (I thought you might lend me your camera). The authors explain how this nonmodal use of the past tense – the thinking is represented as a past fact – can lead to one of these modal interpretations of the complement clause. In doing so they discuss various observations in connection with these and other I thought that…constructions and similar uses of other past-tense and past-perfect forms.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 9, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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