Establishing Affirmation Modality as a Valid Grammatical Category in Serbian Through Internet-Based Research: Marcin Grygiel
Establishing Affirmation Modality as a Valid Grammatical Category in Serbian Through Internet- Based Research Marcin Grygiel Abstract Recent studies on corpora have shown that the World Wide Web can be regarded as a representative language corpus, despite the fact that it is both unbalanced and uncontrolled for. In fact, Keller et al. (2002) claim that the gigantic size of the Web compensates for its deficiencies and makes it the largest language corpus available to us. This tool seems to be especially useful for linguists doing research on languages with no electronic corpora available or whose corpora are under construction and hard to get access to. In the paper I will report on my research on the semantics of affirmation modality in Serbian and give practical solutions I worked out searching for my data base on the Internet. I will argue that strong affirmation can be treated as a type of modality as it is marked consistently with the use of long forms of auxilliary verbs – the present imperfective forms of biti ‘to be’and present forms of hteti ‘to want’. A common assumption in Serbian grammar books is that the distribution of short and long forms is complementary and ruled by purely syntactic factors such as the position of these verbs in the sentence (Piper 2009: 402). Contrary to this, I will discuss examples with paradigmatic occurrence of the two variants showing that the long forms mark strong affirmation modality, perceived as an additional semantic component in the structure of the...
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