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The Factuality Status of Chinese Necessity Modals

Exploring the Distribution Via Corpus-Based Approach

Carlotta Sparvoli    Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna, Italia    



This paper is intended to test the deontic vs anankastic hypothesis outlined by Sparvoli 2012. The stipulation is that, in past contexts, deontic modals trigger a counterfactual inference, while anankastic modals (here called ‘goal-oriented modals’) either trigger an actuality entailment effects (‘only possibility’ modals) or a generic non-factual reading (‘mere necessity’ modals). The result of this corpus-based study conducted in a Chinese-English parallel corpus confirm the crucial role played by the deontic vs goal-oriented contrast in the marking of factuality in Chinese and shows that the factuality value decreases across a cline from goal-oriented to deontic modals.

keywords: Actuality entailment. Counterfactuality. Deontic modality. Goal-oriented modality.

Language: en

Submitted: March 4, 2020   Accepted: Oct. 14, 2020   Published: Dec. 21, 2020  
permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/978-88-6969-406-6/005

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