Remarks on ‘modality and conversational information’

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • In their article \"Modality and conversational information\", Groenendijk and Stokhof propose an analysis of modal expressions which contain in their semantic representations one common element—a sentential operator meaning \"is possible\". While their inclusion of conversational information in the analysis of modal expressions is clearly desirable, I maintain that the authors have not given enough consideration to some of the properties of the modal expressions. Further consideration of these expressions reveals difficulties which need to be resolved before G. and S.'s analysis can be applied in the manner they intend. I might add that the criticisms I make of G. and S.'s analysis are criticisms one could also level against many similar attempts to treat in a uniform way modal expressions connected with a sentential operator meaning \"is possible\". Two of their claims which I shall scrutinize more carefully are (I) \"maybe, perhaps are syntactic realizations of the same element in semantic structure as [may-in-the-possibility-meaning]\" (p 71), and (II) \"Maybe, perhaps, possibly and necessarily all have only one meaning, viz. a meaning corresponding to the possibility meaning of may and must respectively\" (p64).

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    © 1976 John Newman. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Newman, J. 1976. Remarks on ‘modality and conversational information’. Theoretical Linguistics, 3(3), 281-6.