Modality in English and the semantics/pragmatics interface
The deadline for 2012 Doctoral College Studentships has now passed.
The Brighton Doctoral College is pleased to welcome applications from self-funded or externally sponsored students for programmes of research in this or a closely related area, beginning from September 2012. Applications are welcome from students wishing to study full time or part time, and applications are welcome from students in employment who have the support of their employers.
- Based in the Faculty of Arts
- Supervisors: Jelena Timotijevic; Raphael Salkie.
The university cannot guarantee that students can start at their requested date unless deadlines are met.
- UK/EU students: The deadline for the university to receive applications for an entry date of October is the 1 August, for January entry it is the 1 November and for May it is the 1 March.
- International students: The deadline for the university to receive applications for an entry date of October is the 1 June, for January entry it is the 1 September and for May it is the 1 January.
The Faculty of Arts is seeking PhD proposals in a key area of current research on modality, particularly the relation between the structure of language and the use of language.
Most recent studies on modality have started to place greater emphasis on the behaviour of modals in different contextual environments, and have raised questions about the semantic representation of these lexical items which somehow allows modals to receive different interpretations based on a particular context
The focus is specifically on the English modal verbs and whether they have a single abstract meaning (monosemy) or a range of related meanings (polysemy). Monosemous studies of modals tend to assign basic semantics to these words and allow pragmatic processes to do most of the work of interpretation. Polysemous analyses assign more semantics to individual modals.
Crucial issues about the meaning and use of language are examined through a range of theoretical frameworks that address the problem of the interface between semantics and pragmatics. Some of the most advanced work in this area has moved the debate about investigating the meaning and use of these words towards asking different questions when attempting to explain how various interpretations of modals are derived. Consequently, a major component of possible proposals would be a critical analysis of the balance of semantic and pragmatic information in deriving an array of contextual readings of these words.
We would therefore welcome proposals which examine links between the semantics/pragmatics interface and the monosemy/polysemy debate, focusing principally on some of the most recent and opposing theoretical positions such as Minimalism and Contextualism in the analysis of the meaning and use of English modal verbs.