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If-conditionals as modal colligations: A corpus-based investigation

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  • Costas Gabrielatos
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Abstract

The weak claim motivating this study is that if-conditionals are strong modality attractors, due to the conditional (i.e. modal) meaning of if, with modality appearing in the if-clause, the main clause, or both. The strong claim is that if-conditionals can be regarded as modal colligations. The weak claim can be supported if it is shown that if-conditionals contain modality in a significantly higher than average frequency. Before examining the conditions under which the strong claim can be supported we need to turn our attention to the notions of modality, collocation, colligation and semantic preference, which inform the notion of modal colligation introduced in this paper.