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English Modality in Context

Diachronic Perspectives


David Hart

This volume presents a collection of papers which consider the phenomenon of modality in the context of English historical linguistics, in particular as a consequence of changes taking place at the beginning of the Early Modern period. The contributions, representing post-Lightfoot thinking, consider semantic and pragmatic approaches to the question in a generally corpus-based approach. It is essentially a review of modal forms in use, whether they be central or marginal verbal forms or the non-verbal forms which are available in English.
Contents: David Hart: Introduction – Olga Fischer: The Development of the Modals in English: Radical Versus Gradual Changes – Debra Ziegeler: On the Generic Origins of Modality in English – Rafał Molencki: What Must Needs Be Explained About Must Needs – Arja Nurmi: Youe shall see I will conclude in it: Sociolinguistic Variation of WILL/WOULD and SHALL/SHOULD in the Sixteenth Century – Maurizio Gotti: Pragmatic Uses of Shall and Will for Future Time Reference in Early Modern English – Gabriella Mazzon: Modality in Middle English Directive/Normative Texts – Marina Dossena: Hedging in Late Middle English, Older Scots and Early Modern English: the Case of SHOULD and WOULD – Vanda Polese: Semantic and Pragmatic Shades of Modal Meaning in Utopia.