Ability has a number of lexical sources including dynamic, telic verbs of various sorts. For example, manage to, a verb implying that there were difficulties to overcome can come to mean ‘ability’, a development which has parallels in other languages. In this paper translations into Swedish are used as a window to show that can, be able to and manage to are closely related to each other. It is argued that in grammaticalisation studies of modality one has paid a lot of attention to ‘ability’ as a source for deontic and epistemic meanings but neglected its relevance as a source for the development to an aktionsart meaning associated with actuality and result.
2022. Making meaning withbe able to: modality and actualisation. English Language and Linguistics 26:1 ► pp. 27 ff.
Traugott, Elizabeth Closs
2011. Modality from a Historical Perspective. Language and Linguistics Compass 5:6 ► pp. 381 ff.
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