Modal Meaning in Construction Grammar
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
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This paper discusses how modal auxiliaries fit into a constructional view of language and how this view allows us to think in new ways about diachronic meaning change in modal auxiliaries. These issues will be illustrated on the basis of a diachronic corpus-based study of the modal auxiliary , specifically focusing on changes in its collocational preferences during the past 200 years. The main point of this paper is the claim that a constructional view needs to take account of the mutual associations between modal auxiliaries and the lexical elements with which they occur. Changes in these mutual associations are usefully understood as change in a complex network of constructions.


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