Modality

Paperback | January 22, 2009

byPaul Portner

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This is a book about semantic theories of modality. Its main goal is to explain and evaluate important contemporary theories within linguistics and to discuss a wide range of linguistic phenomena from the perspective of these theories. The introduction describes the variety of grammaticalphenomena associated with modality, explaining why modal verbs, adjectives, and adverbs represent the core phenomena. Chapters are then devoted to the possible worlds semantics for modality developed in modal logic; current theories of modal semantics within linguistics; and the most importantempirical areas of research. The author concludes by discussing the relation between modality and other topics, especially tense, aspect, mood, and discourse meaning.Paul Portner's accessible guide to this key area of current research will be welcomed by students of linguistics at graduate level and above, as well as by researchers in philosophy, computational science, and related fields.

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This is a book about semantic theories of modality. Its main goal is to explain and evaluate important contemporary theories within linguistics and to discuss a wide range of linguistic phenomena from the perspective of these theories. The introduction describes the variety of grammaticalphenomena associated with modality, explaining w...

Paul Portner is Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. He studied philosophy and linguistics at Princeton University and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where his 1992 PhD dissertation was on Situation Theory and the Semantics of Propositional Expressions. He is editor of Formal Semantics: Essential Readings ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:January 22, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199292434

ISBN - 13:9780199292431

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Modal Logic3. Major Linguistic Theories of Modality4. Sentential Modality5. Modality and Other Intensional CategoriesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Modern semantics and its interfaces with syntax and pragmatics have gone through an extraordinary development over the past twenty years, characterized by a break through in our understanding of major constructions. Modality figures prominently among them. Insights developed within logic and philosophy have come together with generative linguistics bringing about new fundamental understandings of how modality works in the languages of the world, what aspects of it are universal, what are subject to variation, and so on. This volume, written by one of the leading world specialists on this topic, with his characteristic, unassuming style, is accessible, and at the same time deep and highly engaging. It constitutes an ideal introduction for the beginner; but also the expert will learn from it (be they new facets of traditional problems or less familiar theoretical perspectives on them). An extremely valuable, up to date, inspiring resource." --Gennaro Chierchia, Harvard University "This book is sure to be recognized as the most thorough systematic survey of the semantics of modality yet undertaken. The detail of discussion makes it an extremely useful reference for everybody interested in the mays, mights, and might have beens of natural language. It is written with admirable care: gently introducing the formal tools needed, Paul Portner manages to bring the uninitiated reader to the forefront of present-day research." --Frank Veltman, University of Amsterdam