A monosemic account of modality in speech act theoryNiko Šetar
, 2020, magistrsko delo
Opis: Connection between modality in the English language and pragmatics is a matter of extensive debate as it often seems there is no concrete way of establishing a sensible correlation between modality that an utterance contains and its pragmatic function, which is due to numerous issues pertaining to different accounts of both modality and speech act theory.
Traditional view of modality splits modal verbs into three categories: epistemic, deontic and dynamic (also known as simple root modality). The problem with this view is that there is no way of determining whether a certain modal verb is used in epistemic, deontic, or dynamic sense as most modals can serve any of the three functions, therefore explaining modality within this framework is highly ambiguous even when relying on broader context of the utterance containing a certain modal.
Traditional view of speech acts, on the other hand, divides them into locutionary, illocutionary and perlocutionary speech acts. Yet it would seem that all modalities pertain only to illocutionary speech acts, as they are the ones that express speaker's intentions, which are most heavily influenced by modality. The connection between traditionalist accounts is therefore quite impossible.
A more contemporary view splits speech acts into assertive, commissive, constative, directive and imperative speech acts, while we may consider locution, illocution and perlocution to be aspects of these speech acts, rather than separate categories. In these case, different modalities may be connected to different speech acts, but the ambiguity that traditional view of modality contains persists into any attempt to draw the connection between modality and speech act.
Therefore, an alternative account of modality is required. Two well-known such accounts are polysemic and monosemic views of modality. Polysemic views claim that every lexeme (in our case, a modal verb) may possess several semantic meanings, while monosemic views maintain that every lexeme can be defined in the sense of a single meaning. Reviewing polysemic accounts shows that their reliance on multiple meanings and definitions for every lexeme leads to similar ambiguities as the traditional view of modality, and can therefore not be used in our efforts.
Monosemic views, however, differ greatly from one another. While some accounts have been shown to be inadequate, Groefsema’s 1995 account serves the required purpose. The author defines each modal verb in the sense of the proposition expressed by the modal and an additional minimal set of propositions that supports the use of that particular modal.
Kissine (2013) similarly defines speech acts, thus a correlation between modal verbs and speech acts may be established. Finally, we attempt to show that each modal verb with a particular minimal set of supporting propositions can only feature in one type of speech act, thus also defining the speech act within which it is contained.
Ključne besede: Pragmatics, modality, speech acts, epistemic, deontic, dynamic, assertives, commissives, constatives, directives, imperatives, polysemy, monosemy
Objavljeno: 16.09.2020; Ogledov: 32; Prenosov: 2
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