The definition of modality

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This chapter offers a definition of modality that is as concrete and complete as possible. Modality means that there is reference to actualization of a situation in a world that is not represented as being the factual world. All types of modality are pigeonholed, regardless of whether the ‘modalizer’ is an auxiliary, lexical verb, adverb, conditional clause, a morphological operation like ‘modal backshifting’ or ‘conditionalization’, etc. Clear definitions are given of root and epistemic modality, and it is shown that not all epistemic values are modal values. On the basis of a rich modal world typology and a number of possible relations between a modal world and the factual world, different subtypes of modality are distinguished.


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