Modals in the Languages of Europe: A Reference Work

Modals in the Languages of Europe: A Reference Work

2009 | 572 Pages | ISBN: 3110219204 | PDF | 4 MB

This book is the first comprehensive survey of modals and modal constructions in the languages of Europe. It is a collaborative effort between scholars from Europe and the United States, stemming from a workshop on Modals in the Languages of Europe in Valencia. The aim of this book is to describe the properties of modals and modal constructions in the European area and to compare the systems in individual languages or language families from an areal and genetic perspective. For the sake of contrast, the book also looks at the expression of modality in some languages just outside of Europe. The book consists of fourteen chapters on modal systems in individual languages or language families, written by experts in the respective languages, and an introductory and concluding chapter, written by the editors. The book gives both a description of the modals in the individual languages and an account of the nature and status of modals in general. It provides the reader with a theoretical account of how modals and modal constructions are grammaticalized. This theoretical account is informed by the parameters of grammaticalization of Christian Lehmann. These parameters were chosen because they are language-independent, as opposed to more language specific criteria (for instance, the NICE-criteria for English). The parameters themselves are examined as well for their suitability as part of any theory of grammaticalization. The book thus gives readers access to a collection of data on modality that surpasses most works in this field and also provides a fresh perspective on issues of grammaticalization and language contact. It is therefore of interest to scholars of modality, language contact and areal linguistics, grammaticalization theory and typology.

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