Article published in:Modal Meaning in Construction Grammar
Edited by Bert Cappelle and Ilse Depraetere
[Constructions and Frames 8:1] 2016
► pp. 7–39
Short-circuited interpretations of modal verb constructions
Some evidence from The Simpsons
In this paper we aim to show how distinct semantic and pragmatic layers of modal interpretation can be fruitfully integrated within a constructionist approach. We discuss in detail a number of cases from the Simpsons where a modal verb, as part of a longer expression, has a short-circuited interpretation, that is, where it is conventionally associated with a context-specific modal semantic value and, in some cases, with added pragmatic information. Short-circuitedness is evidenced by the humorous effect that is obtained when a character wilfully or unknowingly ignores standard aspects of interpretation of such a modal verb construction.
Keywords: The Simpsons, short-circuited implicature, semantics-pragmatics interface, modal meaning, language humour, saturation, modal verb constructions
Published online: 29 September 2016
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