- Table of Symbols and Abbreviations
- About the Authors
- The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect
- Philosophy of Language
- Narratology and Literary Linguistics
- Computational Linguistics
- Universals and Typology
- Discourse and Text
- Diachrony and Grammaticalization
- Language Contact
- Creole Languages
- Primary Language Acquisition
- Second Language Acquisition
- Remoteness Distinctions
- The Surcomposé Past Tense
- Bound Tenses
- Embedded Tenses
- Nominal Tense
- Lexical Aspect
- Verbal Aspect
- Perfective and Imperfective Aspect
- Progressive and Continuous Aspect
- Habitual and Generic Aspect
- Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity
- Perfect Tense and Aspect
- Resultative Constructions
- Time in Sentences with Modal Verbs
- Evidentiality and Mirativity
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the ways in which temporal information is communicated in sentences with modal verbs. It uses clauses with modal verbs that express epistemic and root possibility as a test case. In other words, the focus is on can, could, may, and might, on the understanding that most of the observations made can be extended to the modal realm of necessity. The discussion begins by introducing and defining some core concepts, and proceeds with a methodology for the analysis of temporal information in modal possibility utterances. In a number of cases, the markers that communicate time can also contribute to other kinds of meaning (hypothetical meaning, counterfactual meaning, tentativeness (politeness)). The article considers epistemic modality versus non-epistemic modality, modal utterances and modal meanings, the M-situation of a modal utterance, the temporal relationship between the M-situation and the residue, the modal meaning of permission, general situation possibility and situation permissibility, and the past morpheme.
Ilse Depraetere (Ph.D., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, HDR, Lille III) is a Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Lille III. She wrote The use of tense in English relative clauses (1996) and co-edited Belgian Journal of Linguistics 12, Tense and aspect: The contextual processing of semantic indeterminacy (1999) and a special issue of English Language and Linguistics on future time reference in English (2010). Her works include Source of modality: A reassessment (2008), (A)telicity and intentionality (2007), Mood and modality in English (with Susan Reed, 2006), On the resultative character of Present Perfect sentences (1998), and On the necessity of distinguishing between (un)boundedness and (a)telicity (1995).
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