1887
Modal Meaning in Construction Grammar
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

When speakers are confronted with modal expressions in their native language, specifically those that contain a modal verb, they are able to interpret these expressions as epistemic or non-epistemic, for example. But what enables the speakers to interpret these modal expressions instantly and accurately despite the inevitably complex explanation any linguistic theory needs to evoke to account for this? Modality, modals, and modal interpretations are among those universal tension points where the explanatory value of any theoretical construct is sorely tested.

This paper raises some questions about the adequacy of applying Construction Grammar (Goldberg 1995, 2006) as a method of analysis of expressions containing modal verbs. In particular, the following issues are discussed: (i) the necessity to postulate a great number of constructions to account for a modal utterance, (ii) the theoretically unrestricted scope of a construction, and (iii) the ever-present problem of indeterminate modal utterances.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/cf.8.1.03war
2016-09-26
2019-10-21
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Adger, D
    (2013) Constructions and grammatical explanation: Comments on Goldberg. Mind and Language, 28(4), 466–478. doi: 10.1111/mila.12027
    https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12027 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bergs, A
    (2010) Expressions of futurity in contemporary English: A construction grammar perspective. English Language and Linguistics,14(2), 217–238. doi: 10.1017/S1360674310000067
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674310000067 [Google Scholar]
  3. Biber, D. , Johansson, S. , Leech, G. , Conrad, S , & Finegan, E
    (1999) Longman grammar of spoken and written language. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Boas, H.C
    (2001) Frame Semantics as a framework for describing polysemy and syntactic structures of English and German motion verbs in contrastive computational lexicography. In P. Rayson , A. Wilson , T. McEnery , A. Hardie , & S. Khoja (Eds.), Proceedings of Corpus Linguistics 2001, (pp.64–73). U.K.: Lancaster
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (2013) Cognitive construction grammar. In Th. Hoffmann & G. Trousdale (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of construction grammar (pp.233–254). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Boogart, R
    (2009) Semantics and pragmatics in construction grammar: The case of modal verbs. In A. Bergs & G. Diewald (Eds.), Contexts and constructions (pp.213–241). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/cal.9.09boo
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cal.9.09boo [Google Scholar]
  7. Bybee, J
    (2007) Frequency of use and the organization of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301571.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195301571.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  8. Cameron, L
    (2001) Teaching languages to young learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511733109
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511733109 [Google Scholar]
  9. Cappelle, B. , & Depraetere, I
    (2014) Modal meaning in construction grammar. Paper presented at The International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) Conference , 24-27 August 2014, Zürich: Zürich University.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Coates, J
    (1983) The semantics of modal auxiliaries. London and Canberra: Croom Helm.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Cruse, A.D. , & Croft, W
    (1999) Cognitive linguistics. Draft, version 6. Chapters10–11.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Eide, K.M
    (2002) Norwegian modals. PhD dissertation. Department of linguistics, NTNU, Trondheim.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Fillmore, Ch. J
    (1982) Frame Semantics. In Linguistic Society of Korea (Ed.), Linguistics in the morning calm (pp.111–138). Seoul: Hanshin.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Fried, M
    (2009) Representing contextual factors in language change: Between frames and constructions. In A. Bergs & G. Diewald (Eds.), Contexts and constructions (pp.63–94). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. doi: 10.1075/cal.9.04fri
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cal.9.04fri [Google Scholar]
  15. Glynn, D
    (2010) Corpus-driven cognitive semantics. An introduction to the field. In D. Glynn & K. Fischer (Eds.), Corpus-driven cognitive semantics. Quantitative approaches (pp.1–42). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. doi: 10.1515/9783110226423.1
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110226423.1 [Google Scholar]
  16. Goldberg, A.E
    (1995) A Construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2006) Constructions at work: The nature of generalization in language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Hilpert, M
    (2014) Construction grammar and its application to English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Huddleson, R. , & Pullum, G.K
    (2002) The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Klinge, A
    (1993) The English modal auxiliaries: From lexical semantics to utterance interpretation. Journal of Linguistics, 29(2), 315–357. doi: 10.1017/S0022226700000359
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226700000359 [Google Scholar]
  21. Kratzer, A
    (1977) What ‘must’ and ‘can’ must and can mean. Linguistics and Philosophy, 1, 337–355. doi: 10.1007/BF00353453
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00353453 [Google Scholar]
  22. Lundahl, B
    (2014) Texts, topics and tasks: Teaching English in years 4-6. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Lundberg, G
    (2011) De Första Årens Engelska. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Martin, W
    (1997) A frame-based approach to polysemy. In H. Cuyckens & B. Zawada (Eds.), Polysemy in cognitive linguistics. Selected papers from the Fifth International Cognitive Linguistics Conference (pp.57–82). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. doi: 10.1075/cilt.177.05mar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/cilt.177.05mar [Google Scholar]
  25. Michaelis, L.A. , & Lambrecht, K
    (1996) Toward a construction-based theory of language function: The case of nominal extraposition. Language, 72(2), 215–247. doi: 10.2307/416650
    https://doi.org/10.2307/416650 [Google Scholar]
  26. Papafragou, A
    (1998) Modality and semantic indeterminacy. In V. Rouchota & A.H. Jucker (Eds.), Current issues in relevance theory (pp.237–270). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. doi: 10.1075/pbns.58.11pap
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.58.11pap [Google Scholar]
  27. (2000) Modality: Issues in the pragmatic-semantic interface. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Pinker, S
    (2007) The language instinct: How the mind creates language (P.S.). New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. (2013) Language, cognition, and human nature: Selected articles. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199328741.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199328741.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  30. Quirk, R. , Greenbaum, S. , Leech, G. , & Svartvik, J
    (1985) A comprehensive grammar of the English language. London and New York: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Sag, I.A
    (2012) Sign-based construction grammar: An informal synopsis. In H.C. Boas & I.A. Sag (Eds.), Sign-based construction grammar (pp.69–202). Stanford, CA: CSLI.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Tomasello, M
    (2003) Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Traugott, E. Closs
    (1989) On the rise of epistemic meaning in English: An example of subjectification in semantic change. Language, 65, 31–55. doi: 10.2307/414841
    https://doi.org/10.2307/414841 [Google Scholar]
  34. Trousdale, G
    (2013) Multiple inheritance and constructional change. Studies in Language, 37(3), 491–514. doi: 10.1075/sl.37.3.02tro
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.37.3.02tro [Google Scholar]
  35. Wärnsby, A
    (2002) Modal constructions?The Department of English in Lund: Working Papers in Linguistics, 2.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. (2006) (De)coding modality: The case of must, may, måste and kan [Lund Studies in English, Vol. 113]. Lund: Lund University.
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/cf.8.1.03war
Loading
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): context , indeterminacy , modals and scope
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error