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Bookmark and Share Paper 3249

Almost as a 'Variable-Force' Modal
Andrew McKenzie and Lydia Newkirk
299-308 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In this paper, we explore the nature of almost as a modal. We observe that closeness to completion of the event is not a requirement for almost, and that, like some modals in Pacific North West languages, almost seems to vary between necessity and possibility. Applying insight from the study of those modals, we propose that almost denotes a necessity counterfactual whose force is weakened by an expectation-based ordering source. This ordering source also saves the felicity of almost when circumstances aren't close to culmination. Further aspects of the analysis account for differences between almost and ordinary counterfactuals, and demonstrates compatibility with some of the broader issues in the almost literature.

Published in

Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Kyeong-min Kim, Pocholo Umbal, Trevor Block, Queenie Chan, Tanie Cheng, Kelli Finney, Mara Katz, Sophie Nickel-Thompson, and Lisa Shorten
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00