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date: 26 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

From the start of cognitive linguistics, in the 1980s, researchers working within this framework have given ample attention to mood and modality. This is understandable since these categories crucially involve speaker attitude and perspective and cognitive linguistics has always concerned itself with the ways in which language users present a subjective construal of reality. This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of how mood and modality are analyzed within different strands of cognitive linguistics, ranging from the models of force dynamics and Mental Spaces to Cognitive Grammar. Specific topics discussed include the polysemy of modal verbs, the analysis of tense as modality, and the highly detailed account of modal verbs offered by Langacker in terms of “grounding” and “subjectivity”. The emerging framework of construction grammar focuses on the linguistic contexts, that is constructions, in which modal forms are used, regarding these as constraints on polysemy.

Keywords: mood, modality, tense, cognitive linguistics, construction grammar, Cognitive Grammar, force dynamics, Mental Spaces, grounding, subjectivity

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