PostHeaderIcon Modalizers

Just as on the expression side mood contents have mood forms. Modality has modalizers as typical devices for expression. And, as mood contents can be expressed by means other than typical mood forms, modalities can also be expressed by other means. Modalisers are typical in the sense that they are closely bound with the verbs in many languages and/or they can be shown to have distinctive syntactic properties in most cases. Thus, for English one can establish a set of modalizers on the basis of syntactic criteria. In other languages, modalizers might exist as verbal suffixes and endings or as parenthetic words as they do in Russian. So long as there is a particular device or set of devices to express modality in a language, and these are governed by syntactic or morphological principles, such items would be taken to constitute the typical set of modalisers in that language.

For example, in English we can have sentences such as ,

(1) a. It is possible that it is snowing on the mountains now.
b. It is possibly snowing on the mountains now.
c. There is a possibility of snowing on the mountains now.

(2) It may be snowing on the mountains now.

Among possible others, all sharing something in common as far as the modality is concerned. But possible, possibly and possibility do not belong to any exclusive syntactic class sharing in common the function of indicating modality as does may. Therefore we consider may alone to be a modalizer although the other words also can be used for similar purposes.

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