AuthorRacy, Sumayya Katharine
AdvisorCarnie, Andrew H.
Committee ChairCarnie, Andrew H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractTowards a Unified Treatment of Modality (abstract) Sumayya Racy, Ph.D. The primary claim of this thesis is that despite the numerous forms modality may take, both within and across languages, there are relatively few features, structures and operations which give rise to these numerous forms. For example, in English the modal notion of obligation may be expressed by a verb (He must go), but an adverb (He obligatorily goes), by an adjective (He is obliged), by a noun (He has an obligation), and even by a preposition (It's on him to go) or by no clear modal marker (He is to go). In other languages, we find still more ways in which modality may be expressed, such as through affixes (Garo), through evidentials (Tuyuca), through modal particles (Norwegian), and through mood (Latin). It is shown in this thesis that by adopting Cinque's (1999) hierarchy of functional projections, Distributed Morphology (Halle & Marantz 1993), the semantics of Kratzer (1991) and Hacquard (2006) and a limited feature set, we may account for many of these expressions of modality within a single unified framework. In particular, it is argued that modal roots are acategorial (accounting for the many parts of speech we find in modal expressions) and it is proposed that head movement and fusion may take place among modal functional heads (accounting for the fact that modality may be expressed through other categories like evidentiality). Along the way, several interesting facets of modality are pointed out, including the fact that modal nouns may only be used with unusual abilities, and the fact that in English intonation and ASL repeated movement we may find phonological correlates of epistimicity.