Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 09:19:53 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: Double/Multiple Modals Sounds like a must read. Let me just add to Bethany's comment-- ----------------------------Original message---------------------------- The constructions like "might could" are called double modals or multiple modals. There are several good article or parts of articles, all of which are cited in my not quite published article. There can also be three of them if one allows in quasi-modals. Ex: might should oughta. The best comment I have ever heard about them cam from Bill Labov in an Institute talk one year. He discussed the form (and every grammar book I have ever examined says categorially, "modals cannnot be combined in English"), then exaplained their distribution in SOuthern English and concluded, "Standard English may be considerd a subset of Southern English. Southern English allows a wider range of variations then Standard English." I am trying to get bothe my double modal paper and my a-prefixing paper finished and to journals RIGHT NOW. ==========[end Bethany's message]================== --that at least some speakers in eastern Texas and southwestern Arkansas accept garden-variety three-modal sequences, provided that the first modal is (epistemic) 'might' and the third is (root) 'could': He might should could finish 'Perhaps he should be able to finish' A student of mine from Arkansas claimed 'might' could only ever occur as the first modal in a sequence of 2 or 3, and 'could' or 'can' as the last. Among permissible sequences were He'll can come. but the most frequently occurring was evidently 'might could'. The epistemic- before-root ordering constraint appeared to be general at least within his idiolect. Larry