Modals and lexically-regulated saturation

Abstract : This paper presents a framework for the analysis of the meaning of modals which builds on key concepts from recent research on the semantics/pragmatics interface, in particular saturation, and on insights from lexical semantics; it is based on extensive data analysis, may and must serving as a test case. It is argued that a layered account in terms of context-independent semantics, context-dependent semantics (resulting from lexically-regulated saturation) and pragmatic meaning is needed to capture all the meaning distinctions communicated by modal verbs. While embedded in insights from Contextualism and compatible with approaches in formal semantics, the paper argues that the context-dependent semantic layer needs to be defined in a more explicit and more rigorous fashion and it shows how this aim can be achieved.
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Journal of Pragmatics, Elsevier, 2014, 7, pp.160-177
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Ilse Depraetere. Modals and lexically-regulated saturation. Journal of Pragmatics, Elsevier, 2014, 7, pp.160-177. 〈hal-01083051〉

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