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Title: The linguistic analysis of modality, with special reference to English and German
Author: Matthews, Richard C. L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1979
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The aim of this thesis is threefold; to examine critically previous attempts (taxonomic and generative syntactic and semantic, etc.) to analyze 'modality' phenomena, to propose an integrated theoretical framework for analysing such phenomena, and to examine in detail the syntax and semantics of modality in simple and complex sentence types in English and, to a lesser extent, in German. The term 'modality' is taken first as a cover-term to include the traditional terms: 'rood' and 'modal', since it can be seen from an examination of yubd lisbed grammars of a cross-section of the world's languages that these terms involve considerable semantic and pragmatic overlap, and in some cases their tokens may even stand in a commutation relationship. It is suggested that 'modality' should be ascribed to various combinations of elements in an abstract illocutionary (Ill) system and an abstract modality (Mod) system, a distinction is drawn between 'modality' ascribable to Ill and Mod, and that which can be said to be 'objectivized' is part of the proposition (Pro y)~, over which Ill and Mod operate. The tripartite analysis of the utterance that this yields bears some similarity to that of Lyons (~ manticq Cambridge: CUP 1977) but it is argued that a greater number of terms is required in each system and that certain significant divergences need to be made in order to account for the data presented. The illocutionary system, relating to the 'world' of the speaker and hearer and, the moment of speaking (wo,to) contains operators for stating, questioning and 'world changing' plus the principle of 'over riding' to account for the non-equivalence of illocutionary potential and illocutionary force. The modality system, relating to the speaker's conceptual world and time (wi,ti), i.e, his view of object world and time (w' ,t), may be seen as containing a number of sub-systems: reality, potentiality, factuality, social necessity, etc. Reality relates to the tense system (ti,), and arguments, are presented for a 4-term, rather than a 3-term, system (op. Lyons 1977). Under factuality it seems to be necessary to distinguish: assertive, non-assertive and mandative, all of which may be either negative or positive. With the potentiality system a distinction is made between certainty and necessity while pro _t, is treated as a modification of possibility distinct in its negation properties. Examination of 'modality' in taxis leads to a number of syntactic discoveries, and should act as 'subjunctive substitutes', and to the establishment of two logical connectors: 'sequencer' and 'results in' (in addition to the more familiar conjunction and disjunction), which in some cases may fall within the scope of Mod. The data is presented in the form of paradigms of mood and or modals taking account of a number of different interpretation possibilities, of modal verbs: epistemic (subjective and objective) deontic (performative, subjective and objective); dispositional (external and internal); and 'subjunctive substitute'. On this basis it becomes apparent that the degree-of-distinctiveness in any one paradigm, given a parallel interpretation, is small, despite the fact that the inventory of 'modal' verbs in English is quite large compared with many other languages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available