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What is mood and modality?

 

Definition
 

Mood is one of a set of distinctive forms that are used to signal modality.

 

Modality is a facet of illocutionary force, signaled by grammatical devices (that is, moods), that expresses

 
  • the illocutionary point or general intent of a speaker, or
  • a speaker’s degree of commitment to the expressed proposition's believability, obligatoriness, desirability, or reality.
Discussion
 

The term mood is used by some authors in the same sense modality is.

 

Others distinguish the two, as we do here, by using mood to refer to the contrastive grammatical expressions of different modalities and reserving modality to refer to the meanings so expressed.

 

If, in addition, modality is used to refer to meanings expressed by lexical means as well as grammatical, it is effectively a synonym of illocutionary force.

Example (English)
 

Here are some examples of mood and modality; items that signal certain modalities:

 
Kinds
  Here are some kinds of mood and modality:
 
Generic
  Mood and modality is a kind of
 
Sources
 

Chung and Timberlake 1985 241

 

Givón 1984 272

 

Palmer 1986 14–15, 26

 

Bybee 1985 169

 

Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik 1985 219

 

Crystal 1985 198

 

Hartmann and Stork 1972 142, 144

 

Richards, Platt, and Weber 1985 183

 

Mish 1991 762, 770


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