Over the past several decades, linguistic theorizing of tense, aspect, and mood (TAM), along with a strongly growing body of crosslinguistic studies, has revealed complexity in the data that challenges traditional distinctions and treatments of these categories. Mood, Aspect, Modality Revisited argues that it’s time to revisit our conventional assumptions and reconsider our foundational questions: What exactly is a linguistic category? What kinds of categories do labels such as “subjunctive,” “imperative,” “future,” and “modality” truly refer to? In short, how categorical are categories?
Current literature assumes a straightforward link between grammatical category and semantic function, and descriptions of well-studied languages have cultivated a sense of predictability in patterns over time. As the editors and contributors of Mood, Aspect, Modality Revisited prove, however, this predictability and stability vanish in the study of lesser-known patterns and languages. The ten provocative essays gathered here present fascinating cutting-edge research demonstrating that the traditional grammatical distinctions are ultimately fluid—and perhaps even illusory. Developing groundbreaking and highly original theories, the contributors in this volume seek to unravel more general, fundamental principles of TAM that can help us better understand the nature of linguistic representations.
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Joanna Blaszczak is professor at the Institute of English Studies at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. Anastasia Giannakidou is professor of linguistics at the University of Chicago. Dorota Klimek-Jankowska is assistant professor at the Institute of English Studies at the University of Wroclaw, Poland. Krzysztof Migdalski is assistant professor at the Institute of English Studies at the University of Wroclaw, Poland.
“This will clearly be one of the top book-length works in semantics this year. All of the contributors to Mood, Aspect, Modality Revisited are giants in the field, and each has made a strong contribution. The scholarship is all original, sound, and of extremely high quality. In fact, many of the papers include original data from fieldwork or experimental studies. The overarching goal that the editors set out to achieve is to question the traditional grammatical categories of tense, aspect, and mood, and the book does a strong job raising these issues and providing analyses across a wide variety of TAM phenomena. Although there are other recent books on tense, aspect, and mood, this one stands out starkly above the rest.” (Robert Henderson, University of Arizona)
“This volume is an important contribution to the study of tense, aspect, modality, and mood. Its focus on crosslinguistic variation and its commitment to diverse methodologies in tackling outstanding problems pave the way for exciting, new research.” (Daniel Altshuler, Hampshire College)
“Mood, Aspect, Modality Revisited offers a significant focus on the subjunctive and modality in relation to tense and aspect, a very intriguing topic that deserves more attention in the field. The chapters are thematically related in an interesting way, and the contributors are eminent scholars in their field. The discussion throughout the book is fresh and original. It will be of particular interest to specialists in semantics and the syntax-semantics interface, as well as syntacticians in the generative framework.” (Atle Grønn, University of Oslo)
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