Date: Sun, 3 Jul 1994 23:58:02 CDT


Subject: Re: Double modals in Utah

Re Salikoko Mufwene's question about 'dare' and 'need. --

These verbs, it seems to me, have somewhat different senses as "modals" and

as regular verbs. Whether we have the regular verbs 'dare' and 'need' that

are occasionally used as modals, or vice versa, depends on the type of

bondage in one's theory. Contemporary speakers who use these verbs as

modals would do so only in certain (formal) registers, so theories that

ignore register (e.g., traditional grammar; strict structuralism; generative

rules) have no way of providing a satisfying answer to Sali's question.

Sali offered two options: "regular verbs with limited modal uses" and "modal

verbs with idiosyncratic regular verb characteristics." The former.

I don't feel a strong need to solve this "problem," because of the age of

speakers who use 'dare' and 'need'as quasi-modals -- but it is an interesting

one. DMLance