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BOOK NOTICES 193 The interaction of modality and negation : A typological study. By Ferdinand de Haan (Outstanding dissertations in linguistics.) New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. Pp. xii, 257. $59.00. When clauses with modals are negated, it is possible forthenegatorto have different scopes; sometimes the negator will govern the modal (as in John cannot leave), sometimes the scope of the negation is the proposition (John can always not leave), sometimes the result is ambiguous (John should not leave). De Haan's study is a typology ofstrategies for signalling the scope ofthe negator and for disambiguation ifthe need arises. The source of language information was Joan Bresnan's GRAMCATS project. H summarizes previous attempts to explain the interaction of modality and negation and clearly states the flaws in these approaches. Modals are, in any language, notoriously difficult to define, and H rightly avoids attempting to define each modal precisely . Instead, every modal is classified as deontic or epistemic, following F. R. Palmer's Mood and modality (Cambridge: CUP, 1986). Modals placed within each category are then placed along a continuum of modality 'strength' according to the degree of the speaker's commitment. The English must, for example, is an example of strong deontic modahty. Two strategies are found in languages for denoting the scope of the negator over a modal: the placement of the negator in relation to the modal and the use of suppletive categories (for example, the use of dürfen nicht 'should not' in German as the negated form of müssen 'must'). It is, however, rare for languages only to make use of one of these strategies: far more commonly, both are used in different parts of the modality system. Interestingly, in mixed systems weak modality is signalled by placement ofthe negator , whereas strong modality favors suppletion. While H has investigated this area of modality thoroughly and very competently, there are a number of interactions between modality and negation which were not mentioned at all. H mentions nothing of the implications of his findings, which are not necessarily intuitive—further investigation would have been interesting. Also, some languages require negated clauses to be treated as part of the modality system, such as the Nyulnyulan languages of North-Western Australia, where a negated clause is treated as irrealis . Polite prohibitions (must not) and negated declarative clauses (is not) are thus formally identical. Such phenomena (not confined to Australia) surely merit inclusion in a study such as this. One problem that arose consistently throughout the text was the use of English modals in glosses, which led to confusion on more than one occasion. Coupled with this was the use of capitalized English modals to denote points on the deontic or epistemic continua, such as MUST (strong modality) and MAY (weak modality). This was, at times, quite misleading . A better strategy could have been further to exploit the terms 'strong' and 'weak' modality in glossing. While there are criticisms to be made about this book, H deserves a great deal of praise for tackling such a murky area of linguistics. He has undertaken a huge task in trying to quantify the cross-linguistic interactions between modality and negation. The result is a highly interesting and readable book. [Claire Bowern, Australian National University.] Verb semantics and syntactic structure. (Linguistics workshop series, 4.) Ed. by Taro Kageyama. Tokyo: Kurosio Publishers , 1997. Pp. v, 209. This isyet anothercontributiontothe growingliterature on syntactic verb analysis based on semantic classification, as pioneered by Robert M. W. Dixon in his A new approach to English grammar, on semantic principles (1991 . Oxford: Clarendon though this work is not mentioned once in this book) and further developed by Beth Levin and others. It is a collection of six papers originallypresentedat twosymposiaonlexical semantics and morphological effects on semantic structure held in 1993 and 1995 by the English Literary Society ofJapan. The papers are generative in orientation , but the material is reasonably accessible to linguists of any persuasion. The titles, authors, and some highlights of the six papers follow: 'On the lexical conceptual structure of psych-verbs' (Yuriko Hatori): 'reversed' syntactic relations of pairs of 'psych verbs' such as fear/ frighten, and comparison of resultative verb expressions in English and Japanese...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
p. 193
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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