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A semiotic approach to grammaticalization: modelling representational and interpersonal modality expressed by verbonominal patterns

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

This paper develops a framework capable of analysing modal qualifications coded by both canonical modal markers and grammaticalized expressions within a semiotic grammar approach (McGregor 1997). We focus on grammatical constructions that developed from complement constructions containing the shell nouns need, way, chance, doubt, question and wonder, often preceded by a negative quantifier. We range the different types of modal qualification in a hierarchy. The top half subsumes mirativity and epistemic modality, which scope over propositions, and interpersonal deontic modality, which scopes over processes. The bottom half contains representational deontic and dynamic modality, which are internal to the proposition. We also address the neglected issue of the presence of polarity choices in the modal qualifications and in the propositions and processes. In particular, we argue that epistemic modality ascribes inherently positive degrees of likelihood to either positive or negative propositions, thus assessing the probability of occurrence versus non-occurrence of temporally located processes. This allows us to explain not only the semantic equivalence involved in NEG-raising, as in I think he did nothing wrong and I don’t think he did anything wrong, but also, more broadly, between pairs like there’s no chance she will cry and there’s no doubt she will not cry. Finally, the proposed semantic model puts us in a position to propose structural analyses of the interpersonal and representational qualifications of propositions and processes within the broad outlines of McGregor’s (1997) Semiotic Grammar.
Tijdschrift: Language Sciences
ISSN: 0388-0001
Issue: May
Volume: 91
Pagina's: 1 - 24
Jaar van publicatie:2022