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The semantics of the Norwegian modal auxiliary verbs

 Ugnius Mikučionis

In this paper, I have tried to show that the meanings of Modern Norwegian modal verbs may best be described in terms of gradable scales (clines) both with respect to epistemic and non-epistemic modality.

Epistemic modality deals with the degree of commitment;
Deontic modality – “ – degree of moral desirability;
Dynamic modality – “ – degree of readiness.

The use of such gradable scales (clines) enables us to draw a semantic map which adequately covers the relevant semantic area – and to make some hypotheses about the diachronic development of the meanings of the Norwegian modal verbs.

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