Modality in Cognitive Linguistics

Tanja Mortelmans

in The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199738632
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Modality in Cognitive Linguistics

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Semantics


Show Summary Details


From a diachronic perspective, the evolution of the English modals has been described in terms of progressive subjectification, whereby they are claimed to have acquired the status of (highly grammaticalized) “grounding predications,” which, together with tense and person inflections, relate the complement to the speech situation (the ground). One of the main merits of a cognitive linguistic analysis of modality is its focus on semantics, which has resulted in a considerable number of fine-grained semantic (network) analyses of modal markers, both from a diachronic and a synchronic point of view. Moreover, Leonard Talmy's force dynamics has provided a schematic conceptual background, against which a number of different, but related, models of modal meaning have been developed. This article deals with modal verbs in cognitive linguistics and discusses polysemy versus monosemy, metaphor, metonymy, minimal shifts/partial sanctioning, root modality and epistemic modality, subjectification and “grounding predications,” and mood in cognitive linguistics.

Keywords: modality; cognitive linguistics; mood; modal verbs; subjectification; grounding predications; semantics; polysemy; monosemy; metaphor

Article.  9469 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Semantics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.