David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind and Language 13 (3):370–399 (1998)
The set of English modal verbs is widely recognized to communicate two broad clusters of meanings: epistemic and root modal meanings. A number of researchers have claimed that root meanings are acquired earlier than epistemic ones; this claim has subsequently been employed in the linguistics literature as an argument for the position that English modal verbs are polysemous (Sweetser, 1990). In this paper I offer an alternative explanation for the later emergence of epistemic interpretations by linking them to the development of the child’s theory of mind (Wellman, 1990); if correct, this hypothesis might have important implications for the shape of the semantics of modal verbs.
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Citations of this work BETA
A. Papafragou (2003). Scalar Implicatures: Experiments at the Semantics–Pragmatics Interface. Cognition 86 (3):253-282.
Valentine Hacquard (2010). On the Event Relativity of Modal Auxiliaries. Natural Language Semantics 18 (1):79-114.
Amie L. Thomasson (2013). Norms and Necessity. Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):143-160.
Tamar Kushnir, Alison Gopnik, Nadia Chernyak, Elizabeth Seiver & Henry M. Wellman (2015). Developing Intuitions About Free Will Between Ages Four and Six. Cognition 138:79-101.
Anna Papafragou (2007). Evidentiality in Language and Cognition. Cognition 103 (2):253-299.
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