Alternatives and attention in language and reasoning--The case of modals
Nadine Bade, Léo Picat, Woojin Chung, Salvador Mascarenhas
January 2022

In this paper, we employ a novel experimental paradigm using insights from the psychology of reasoning to investigate the question whether certain modals generate and draw attention to alternatives. We present two experimental studies on English modals "might" and "allowed to", suggesting that whereas epistemic "might" is conventionally associated with alternatives, deontic "allowed to" is not. Based on our findings, we, first, discuss theoretical consequences for existing accounts of modals and, second, argue that using reasoning tasks is a powerful diagnostic tool for exploring the issue of which expressions involve alternatives.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005624
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: manuscript
keywords: reasoning, modals, alternatives, semantics
previous versions: v3 [July 2021]
v2 [July 2021]
v1 [December 2020]
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