Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 143–184

Assessing the modality particles of the Yi group in fuzzy possible-worlds semantics

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10988-009-9057-2

Cite this article as:
Gerner, M. Linguist and Philos (2009) 32: 143. doi:10.1007/s10988-009-9057-2

Abstract

Of late, evidentiality has received great attention in formal semantics. In this paper I develop ‘evidentiality-informed’ truth conditions for modal operators such as must and may. With language data drawn from Luoping Nase (a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the P.R. of China and belonging to the Yi Nationality), I illustrate that epistemic modals clash with clauses articulating first-hand information. I then demonstrate that existing models such as Kratzer’s graded possible-worlds semantics fail to provide accurate truth conditions for modals tagging clauses with first-hand information. As a remedy I propose a fuzzy version of possible-worlds semantics with various grades of belief and knowledge. In addition to preserving the expressive power of graded possible-worlds semantics, the fuzzy model will be shown to supply appropriate truth conditions for epistemic modals appended to evidential clauses (i.e. clauses expressing first-hand information).

Keywords

Fuzzy possible-worlds semantics Conversational background Epistemic modality Evidentiality Yi language Luoping Nase 

Abbreviations

1P SG

First person singular

1P SG LOG

First person singular logophoric

2P SG

Second person singular

3P PL

Third person plural

3P SG

Third person singular

ART

Article

CL

Classifier

CONJ

Conjunction

CONJ:if

Conjunction with gloss

COV

Coverb

COV:at

Coverb with verbal origin

COV:use

Coverb with verbal origin

DEM

Demonstrative

DEM:PROX

Demonstrative: proximal to Speaker

DP

Dynamic perfect

EXP

Experiential aspect

FEAR

Attitude particle of fear

FUT

Future

LOC

Location

LOC:outside

Location particle with gloss

NEG

Negation

NEG IMP

Negative Imperative

NESS

Necessity

NP

Noun Phrase

NUM

Numeral

NUM:9

Numeral with its value

PASS

Passive

POSS

Possibility

PROG

Progressive Aspect

QUANT

Quantifier

QUANT:all

Quantifier with gloss

QUOT

Quotative

SENT TOP

Sentence Topic

SUFF

Suffix

TAM

Tense Aspect Modality

WISH

Attitude particle of wish

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chinese, Translation & LinguisticsCity University of Hong KongKowloonHong Kong

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