Author Topic: HELP [modals]  (Read 4647 times)

Offline joebennion

  • New Linguist
  • *
  • Posts: 1
HELP [modals]
« on: January 10, 2017, 09:57:23 AM »
Hi guys, I'm new to this linguistics forum, I'm a student and am struggling with an assignment I have been given. I just cant seem to get my head round what the questions are asking (specifically what 'basic sense' and 'basic sense of the tense' means or what it is). Can anyone help word the questions in more simple terms to help me understand?
The task is to 'comment on the use of tenses and modals in the examples that are highlighted in the text.' Here is one example (I have highlighted the word that needs analysing): Trump has long said the culprit for such attacks COULD be china.
Here are the questions I am meant to answer;
1.   Is this a simple basic sense of the tense or this particular modal?  Which sense?  Try to give a paraphrase.
2.   If it isn’t a basic sense, how is it complicated or problematic?
3.   How does this tense/modal fit into the analytical frameworks (e.g. polysemy and monosemy based approaches) discussed in class? How is it relevant to the controversial questions discussed in the lectures?
4.   How does the word or phrase interact with other words nearby in the context?
5.   For tenses, what happens if you substitute another tense?
6.   For modals, what happens if you substitute:
(a)   … a different form of the same modal (e.g. CAN for COULD)?
(b)   … another modal (e.g. MAY for CAN)?
(c)   … an expression like have to for MUST, be able to for CAN, possibly for epistemic MAY, etc.?
If anyone can help it would be much appreciated.

« Last Edit: January 10, 2017, 12:19:37 PM by djr33 »

Offline Daniel

  • Administrator
  • Experienced Linguist
  • *****
  • Posts: 2043
  • Country: us
    • English
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 12:19:22 PM »
Hello and welcome!

A few comments about your question, though:

1. Please use a specific title for your topics, and post them in appropriate sub-forum. I've moved this to the right one (it's a question about Semantics).

2. We have a strict policy about not answering homework questions. It's your work, for your benefit. Not to mention that other students would find the answers here, and the whole exercise would be pointless.
If you want to ask a question about homework there are two options:
--Post a very specific question about one small part of your assignment, which is beyond the scope of the assignment so that you understand it better. For example, "In my homework we were asked about this sentence, and I know the answer is ___, but I also wanted to know more about this, so can we discuss it in more detail?"
--Ask a very general question about a topic so we can discuss it in general, but not specifically about your homework. For example, here you might ask how modal verbs work or some other general question about them. Or maybe a question about a particular term from your class you don't understand well (epistemic, perhaps).

A clear indication that you are violating the homework policy is if you have to post the whole assignment to ask your question. Then you're not only asking us to do the homework for you but also to figure out how to do it. If you don't know how to even start answering the questions, then you should probably refer back to your textbook or lecture notes-- homework is sometimes meant to be challenging, but you shouldn't feel lost about how to start. Ask your instructor if you need more help. Or start making a list of what you do know and see how it might apply here. I think sometimes students feel overwhelmed by an assignment they think is difficult and stop trying to answer as well as they can for the parts they do understand. Another reasonable option is to talk to friends in the class or form a study group (unless you are explicitly forbidden by the instructor from discussing your assignments). Just don't copy each other's answers!

Now, if you want to ask a question about Semantics in general, you're welcome to.
Welcome to Linguist Forum! If you have any questions, please ask.