LINGUIST List 24.2493

Wed Jun 19 2013

FYI: Multimo: The Database of Multiple Modals

Editor for this issue: Brent Miller <>

Date: 19-Jun-2013
From: Paul Reed <>
Subject: Multimo: The Database of Multiple Modals
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Would you might know what a Multiple Modal is? Auxiliary verb phrases that combine two (might could, may can) or occasionally three (might should ought to) modal or semi-modal verbs have been well documented in the Southern United States but also in the British Isles (especially Scotland and northern England) and in the Caribbean. However, as for many areas of English grammar, this documentation is so dispersed that making comparisons, achieving broad pictures, and exploring particular avenues of patterning are all made very challenging.

Therefore, we announce the formal launch of MULTIMO: The Database of Multiple Modals, A New Resource for Researchers, hosted at the University of South Carolina.

MULTIMO is an interactive website on multiple modal constructions in English that features a library of information and materials, including the following:

– an annotated linguistic bibliography of nearly one hundred published references.
– commentaries on the status and usage of multiple modals,– a database of more than 2,100 examples drawn from every source the creators of MULTIMO have been able to track down: more than a century of published scholarship as well as extensive private collections and systematic fieldwork, and naturalistic observations as well as intuitions and guided elicitations. Each example is organized in tabular fashion according to social (gender, race/ethnicity, age, level of education achieved), geographical (hometown of user, location where collected), linguistic (sentence type, medium) and other categories, where such information is known from its source. The database can be sorted according to one or more categories simultaneously.– opportunities to help the website grow by contributing examples, commentary, and bibliographical references.

Such an extensive bibliography and a large bank of examples might seem to suggest that little about multiple modals remains to be researched and understood. The creators of MULTIMO believe that the contrary is much closer to the truth and have built the website so that researchers everywhere can access the wealth of scholarship to test and explore new hypotheses. The creators hope that anyone with a contribution or suggestion to make will be in contact with them.

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics; Syntax

Page Updated: 19-Jun-2013