Can We Define "Must"? The Semantics of Modality

How do we capture the meaning of "may" or "can"? What kinds of linguistic math do we need to understand them? In this week's episode, we take a look at modality: where words like "must" fit in our meanings; how we consider many ways the world could be to account for their semantics; and how the same string of sounds can have a lot of flavours. This is Topic #90! This week's tag language: Cornish! Related videos: Logical Connections: How Logical Is Language? https://youtu.be/lw4ykgRtv3Q Let's Talk About Sets: How Do We Build Meaning with Math? https://youtu.be/M96aiDk2ePw Quantifying Sets and Toasters: What Does "Most" Even Mean? https://youtu.be/U1l3C_hmjqM Last episode: Relatively Close: How Can Sentences Work Like Adjectives? https://youtu.be/Bra5gExyPbY Other of our semantics and pragmatics videos: Topic of Focus: How Do We Signal What's Important When We Talk? https://youtu.be/gZ6o8yFvJYI Downward Spiral: Why Can't "Any" Go Just Anywhere? https://youtu.be/vd8cjyxHQdw Building Common Ground: How Do We Build Shared Worlds in Conversation? https://youtu.be/gQqXmhqM13U Our website also has extra content about this week's topic, on the syntax of modals, at: http://www.thelingspace.com/episode-90/ Find us on all the social media worlds: Tumblr: http://thelingspace.tumblr.com/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheLingSpace Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thelingspace/ And at our website, http://www.thelingspace.com/ ! You can also find our store at the website, https://thelingspace.storenvy.com/ We also have forums to discuss this episode, and linguistics more generally. Sources: A good portion of the presentation was based off of Kai von Fintel's Intensional Semantics notes (http://web.mit.edu/fintel/fintel-heim-intensional.pdf) We also consulted Angelika Kratzer's papers from 1977, 1981, and 1991, where all these ideas about modality originally come from: The 1977 paper: http://semantics.uchicago.edu/kennedy/classes/s08/semantics2/kratzer77.pdf The 1981 paper: http://semantics.uchicago.edu/kennedy/classes/s08/semantics2/kratzer81.pdf The 1991 paper: https://udrive.oit.umass.edu/kratzer/kratzer-modality.pdf For background -- historical and otherwise -- we consulted Basic Concepts in Modal Logic (https://mally.stanford.edu/notes.pdf) and William Starr's lecture notes: (http://williamstarr.net/teaching.html). Finally, we drew some inspiration from Seth Cable's recent (and wonderfully lucid) Formal Semantics notes: http://people.umass.edu/scable/LING620-SP17/Handouts/ Looking forward to next time!

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2017/06/29 The Ling Space   Share on Facebook

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