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Modality Across Syntactic Categories$
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Ana Arregui, María Luisa Rivero, and Andrés Salanova

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718208.001.0001

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Straddling the line between attitude verbs and necessity modals

Straddling the line between attitude verbs and necessity modals

Chapter:
(p.109) 7 Straddling the line between attitude verbs and necessity modals
Source:
Modality Across Syntactic Categories
Author(s):

Aynat Rubinstein

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718208.003.0007

This chapter explores the semantic properties of verbs and adjectives with closely related meanings having to do with desires and goals. I evaluate recent work on verbs of desire (e.g. ‘want’) which has suggested that these attitude predicates require access to multiple alternatives for their interpretation (Villalta 2006, 2008). I argue that this heavy machinery is in fact not required, integrating important insights proposed in this recent work into a quantificational modal analysis of comparison-based attitudes. The proposed analysis highlights the similarities and differences between ‘want’ and ‘necessary’, an adjective that is shown (including naturalistic corpus data) to be primarily goal-oriented and to be semantically dependent to a certain degree on the syntactic configuration it appears in. Whether or not the modality is lexically relativized to an individual is also suggested to play a role in defining the semantic properties of desire- and goal-oriented modal expressions.

Keywords:   attitude verbs, desire verbs, modal adjectives, priority modals, ‘want,’ ‘necessary,’ syntax–semantics interface

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