Catch No Ball*: Understanding Languages, Varieties and Dialects

It might seem redundant to define the features of a language, but languages are rarely so easy. We can define English, French and German, but what about Swedish and Norwegian? Swedish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible; people from Sweden and Norway can talk to each other and understand each other with little difficulty.

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Definitely Maybe Oasis

Definitely Maybe: Epistemic modality and saying nothing about something

As you might expect, Oasis’s 1994 debut album Definitely Maybe has got me thinking about epistemic modality. That’s because epistemic modality expresses degrees of certainty. “As you might expect…” is epistemic. It expresses how confident I am that other people think listening to Oasis makes me think about grammar (i.e. not very confident). “As you will expect…” would be more confident. But it would be misplaced. And weird: it would sound weird. But that’s not the point. The point is the degree of confidence.Read More »