LINGUIST List 31.3552

Wed Nov 18 2020

Books: Modality in Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics: Abraham

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 04-Nov-2020
From: Rachel Tonkin <>
Subject: Modality in Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics: Abraham
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Title: Modality in Syntax, Semantics and Pragmatics
Series Title: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics
Published: 2020
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Werner Abraham
Hardback: ISBN: 9781107021228 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 110.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781107021228 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 85.00

What do we mean when we say things like 'If only we knew what he was up to!' Clearly this is more than just a message, or a question to our addressee. We are expressing simultaneously that we don't know, and also that we wish to know. Several modes of encoding contribute to such modalities of expression: word order, subordinating subjunctions, sentences that are subordinated but nevertheless occur autonomously, and attitudinal discourse adverbs which, far beyond lexical adverbials of modality, allow the speaker and the listener to presuppose full agreement, partial agreement under presupposed conditions, or negotiation of common ground. This state of the art survey proposes a new model of modality, drawing on data from a variety of Germanic and Slavic languages to find out what is cross-linguistically universal about modality, and to argue that it is a constitutive part of human cognition.

Part I. Modes of Modality: Introduction
1. Pragmatics: modality and speaker orientation
2. (Inter) subjectification and foreign consciousness alignment
3. Modality as distance – from aspect to modality
Part II. Verbal Modality:
4. The syntax-semantic-pragmatic interface of modal verbs
5. The perspectival specifics of verb modality in German
6. The syntax of modal verbs in German, Dutch, and English
7. Modal verb semantics
Part III. Adverbial Modality Distance: From Apect to Mpp:
8. Modal particles: the enigmatic category
9. The attitudinal force of modal particles
10. Modal particles between context, conversation, and convention
11. Modal particles outside of finiteness
Part IV. Covert Modality:
12. Covert patterns of modality.

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 18-Nov-2020