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Title: Source and strength of modality: an empirical study of root should, ought to and be supposed to in Present-day British English
Authors: Verhulst, An
Depraetere, Ilse
Heyvaert, Liesbet # ×
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: North-Holland Pub. Co.
Series Title: Journal of Pragmatics vol:55 pages:210-225
Abstract: The parameters of source and strength are often presented as crucial for the semantic profile of modal verbs expressing root necessity such as ‘should’, ‘ought to’ and ‘be supposed to’. Their role, however, is hard to assess because of the lack of clear definitions. This article offers a new perspective on the nature of subjectivity and strength that is grounded in detailed, qualitative corpus analysis of sentences with ‘should’, ‘ought to’ and ‘be supposed to’. It operationalises and refines both parameters and applies them to an extensive corpus of 1200 Present-day English sentences with ‘should’, ‘ought to’ and ‘be supposed to’, which results in an updated and more accurate picture of the meaning distinctions between them. More generally, the study shows that an accurate interpretation of modal meanings is to a large extent dependent on the discourse context, and that a detailed corpus analysis is required to understand the complexity of the parameters interacting in the establishment of modal meanings in context.
ISSN: 0378-2166
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Linguistics Research Unit - miscellaneous
Functional and Cognitive Linguistics: Grammar and Typology (FunC), Campus Kulak Kortrijk
Functional and Cognitive Linguistics: Grammar and Typology (FunC), Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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