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Modality and Subordinators in the Germanic Languages and beyond

Nordström, Jackie LU (2009) In Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap. Serie A 68.
Abstract
This thesis argues that general subordinators, such as the Germanic THAT and IF, denote propositional modality. Propositional modality stands for the “speaker’s attitude to the truth-value or factual status of the proposition” (Palmer 2001:24) and is otherwise expressed by moods such as the indicative-subjunctive and epistemic-evidential modal markers. One obvious connection between markers of propositional modality and general subordinators is that the indicative-subjunctive distinction is typically manifested in subordinate clauses. Furthermore, in the Germanic languages, the indicative and THAT are associated with declarative clauses, whereas the subjunctive and IF are associated with conditional and interrogative clauses. The thesis... (More)
This thesis argues that general subordinators, such as the Germanic THAT and IF, denote propositional modality. Propositional modality stands for the “speaker’s attitude to the truth-value or factual status of the proposition” (Palmer 2001:24) and is otherwise expressed by moods such as the indicative-subjunctive and epistemic-evidential modal markers. One obvious connection between markers of propositional modality and general subordinators is that the indicative-subjunctive distinction is typically manifested in subordinate clauses. Furthermore, in the Germanic languages, the indicative and THAT are associated with declarative clauses, whereas the subjunctive and IF are associated with conditional and interrogative clauses. The thesis offers many other pieces of evidence in support of the hypothesis. In particular, it is shown that there is variation in many clause types between both the indicative and the subjunctive and THAT and IF depending on whether or not the speaker knows etc. that the proposition is true.

The thesis draws a distinction between three types of modality: speech-act modality, propositional modality, and event modality. These are regarded as separate functional categories. As for subordinators, a distinction is drawn between general subordinators and adverbial ones. Whereas the former are seen as markers of propositional modality, it is argued that the latter are in fact prepositions and adverbs. Focus is placed on the Germanic languages, but the thesis also contains cross-linguistic investigations of the morphosyntactic status of mood and modal markers and the semantics of subordinators. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • forskar Eide, Kristin M, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet, Trondheim, Norge
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Germanic languages, factuality, subordinators, modality, propositional modality, general subordinators, that, if, whether, indicative, subjunctive, epistemic modality, irrealis, realis, Swedish
in
Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap. Serie A
volume
68
pages
329 pages
publisher
Lund University
defense location
Hörsalen, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Helgonabacken 12, Lund
defense date
2009-06-08 13:15
ISSN
0347-8971
ISBN
978-91-628-7805-4
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
42732305-7e58-4f1f-befd-9e8f59f1755f (old id 1393763)
date added to LUP
2009-05-25 10:51:48
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:48
@phdthesis{42732305-7e58-4f1f-befd-9e8f59f1755f,
  abstract     = {This thesis argues that general subordinators, such as the Germanic THAT and IF, denote propositional modality. Propositional modality stands for the “speaker’s attitude to the truth-value or factual status of the proposition” (Palmer 2001:24) and is otherwise expressed by moods such as the indicative-subjunctive and epistemic-evidential modal markers. One obvious connection between markers of propositional modality and general subordinators is that the indicative-subjunctive distinction is typically manifested in subordinate clauses. Furthermore, in the Germanic languages, the indicative and THAT are associated with declarative clauses, whereas the subjunctive and IF are associated with conditional and interrogative clauses. The thesis offers many other pieces of evidence in support of the hypothesis. In particular, it is shown that there is variation in many clause types between both the indicative and the subjunctive and THAT and IF depending on whether or not the speaker knows etc. that the proposition is true.<br/><br>
 The thesis draws a distinction between three types of modality: speech-act modality, propositional modality, and event modality. These are regarded as separate functional categories. As for subordinators, a distinction is drawn between general subordinators and adverbial ones. Whereas the former are seen as markers of propositional modality, it is argued that the latter are in fact prepositions and adverbs. Focus is placed on the Germanic languages, but the thesis also contains cross-linguistic investigations of the morphosyntactic status of mood and modal markers and the semantics of subordinators.},
  author       = {Nordström, Jackie},
  isbn         = {978-91-628-7805-4},
  issn         = {0347-8971},
  keyword      = {Germanic languages,factuality,subordinators,modality,propositional modality,general subordinators,that,if,whether,indicative,subjunctive,epistemic modality,irrealis,realis,Swedish},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {329},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lundastudier i nordisk språkvetenskap. Serie A},
  title        = {Modality and Subordinators in the Germanic Languages and beyond},
  volume       = {68},
  year         = {2009},
}