Modal Concord as Modal Modification


  • Pranav Anand
  • Adrian Brasoveanu



Modal concord is the phenomenon by which certain modal adverbs seem to become semantically vacuous in the presence of modal auxiliaries if the adverb and the auxiliary match in quantificational force (e.g., universal vs existential) and modal flavor (e.g., epistemic vs deontic). We propose that neither concord adverbs nor modal auxiliaries are vacuous: concord adverbs are modal-auxiliary modifiers and the compositional process ensures that both auxiliary and modifying adverb comment on the same proposition (contributed by the same radical), with respect to the same modal base. Agreement in flavor between the two distinct modal claims follows directly, while agreement in force is indirectly derived via the interaction between the assertion contributed by one of the modal claims and the implicatures triggered by the other. Finally, we outline a typology of interactions between modals and their modifiers and study the behavior of three adverbs – absolutely, legitimately and legally – from this perspective.


How to Cite

Anand, P., & Brasoveanu, A. (2019). Modal Concord as Modal Modification. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 14, 19–36.

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