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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on languages that differ typologically from Western languages, those of the Iroquoian family. It deals with mood: the marking of “sentence types,” and the marking of (ir)realis, but its main concern is the more complex issue of the expression of modality. While most models of modality are based on languages with modal auxiliaries, Iroquoian languages lack auxiliaries, but they contain rich inventories of forms expressing traditional modality functions. First the semantic categories delimited by modality expressions are laid out. Next, pathways of formal development are traced, showing how the qualificational function of modality markers can drive prosodic, segmental, and syntactic changes. Finally, pathways of semantic development are investigated, illustrating that the changes undergone by Iroquoian modality markers are similar to, e.g., Germanic modal auxiliaries. Viewing modality as a set of distinctions conveyed by markers at varying stages of formal and functional development helps to explain the diversity we find.

Keywords: mood, Iroquoian, Mohawk, deontic, dynamic, epistemic, evidentiality, irrealis, obligation, permission

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