Modality, Subjectivity, and Semantic Change: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective

Hardcover | August 15, 2012

byHeiko Narrog

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This book is a cross-linguistic exploration of semantic and functional change in modal markers. Its approach is broadly functional typological but makes frequent reference to work in formal semantics by scholars such as Angelika Kratzer and Paul Portner. The author starts by considering whatmodality is and how it relates to and differs from subjectivity. He argues that modality cannot be defined in terms of subjectivity: both concepts are independent of each other, the first exhibiting different degrees of subjectivity, and the second being operative in a much wider range ofgrammatical and lexical categories. Subjectivity, he suggests, should not be defined solely in terms of performativity, evidentiality, or construal, but rather from the interplay of multiple semantic and pragmatic factors. He then presents a two-dimensional model for the descriptive representation of modality, based on the notion thatamong the many aspects of modal meaning, volitivity and speech-act-orientation versus event-orientation are two of its most salient parameters. He shows that it is especially the dimension of speech-act orientation versus event-orientation, parallel to category climbing in syntax, that is operativein diachronic change. Numerous examples of diachronic change within modality and between modality and other categories are then examined with respect to their directionality. With a focus on Japanese and to a lesser extent Chinese the book is a countercheck to hypotheses built on the Indo-Europeanlanguages. It also contains numerous illustrations from other languages.

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This book is a cross-linguistic exploration of semantic and functional change in modal markers. Its approach is broadly functional typological but makes frequent reference to work in formal semantics by scholars such as Angelika Kratzer and Paul Portner. The author starts by considering whatmodality is and how it relates to and differs...

Heiko Narrog is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Tohoku University. His publications include Modality in Japanese (Benjamins 2009); and, with Bernd Heine, The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis (OUP 2010) and The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization (OUP 2011).

other books by Heiko Narrog

Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:August 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199694370

ISBN - 13:9780199694372

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Modality and Subjectivity3. Modality and Semantic Change4. Illustrating the Model - some case studies5. Cross-linguistic Patterns of Polysemy and Change Within Modality and Mood6. Shifts Between Types of Modality in Traditional Terms7. Into (and out of) Modality8. ConclusionsAppendixReferences