The Workshop on Modality Across Categories will take place on November 5 and 6, 2015 at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona).

Invited Speakers:

Valentine Hacquard (University of Maryland)

Angelika Kratzer  (University Massachusetts, Amherst)

Aynat Rubinstein (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Hedde Zeijlstra (University of Göttingen)

Meeting description:

Markers of modal displacement in natural language are used to introduce, discuss, assess and manipulate possible scenarios. Until relatively recently, work on the semantics of modality had concentrated on the verbal domain, and in particular on modal auxiliaries. However, over the last years, there has been an increased interest in the expression of modality across categories. Some recent developments that illustrate this interest are:

  • A body of research on modal markers at the DP level has emerged, including work on modified numerals like at least n or at most n (see, e.g., Büring 2008; Geurts and Nouwen 2007; Nouwen 2010; Schwarz 2011; Coppock and Brochhagen 2013), free relatives of the whatever-type (for instance, Rawlins 2008, forthcoming; Dayal 1997; von Fintel 2000; Condoravdi 2005, forthcoming;   Tredinnick 2005; Heller and Wolter 2011), too constructions (Heim 2000; Meier 2003; Hacquard 2000), infinitival relative clauses as in the man to fix the sink (Bhatt 1999; Hackl and Nissenbaum 2012), modal adjectives (e.g., Larson 2000; Schwarz 2006; Abusch and Rooth 1997; Romero 2013), adnominal conditionals as in the price if you pay now (Lasersohn 1996; Frana forthcoming), and modal indefinites (e.g., Aloni and Port 2010; Chierchia 2013; Fălăuş 2009, 2014, Giannakidou and Quer 2013; Alonso-Ovalle and Menéndez-Benito 2008, 2010, 2011, among many others).
  • There is a growing line of research that explores connections between modal auxiliaries and adjectives, bearing on the issue of how gradability is expressed in the modal domain (see, e.g., Lassiter 2011; Klecha 2014; Portner and Rubinstein 2014).
  • Recently, some work (Hacquard 2013, forthcoming) has started to investigate the source of the differences between grammatical modal markers (e.g., modal auxiliaries) and lexical modal markers (e.g., verbs like seem or adjectives like likely). Relevant to this issue is recent research on verbs like want or try— that are at the border between attitude verbs and modals (see, a.o., Rubinstein 2012; Grano 2012; Sharvit 2003).

The aim of this workshop is to provide a forum for novel work on modality that bears on the issue of how different categories shape modal contents and why. We especially encourage submissions that provide insights arising from languages that are underrepresented in the previous literature.  

Organizing Committee

Paula Menéndez Benito (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Louise McNally (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)


Funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union (Marie Curie Intra-European Career Development Grant, PIEF-GA-2013-622311).

With the support of the Department of Translation and Language Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support to GLiF (Formal Linguistics Group UPF) by the Government of Catalonia (AGAUR, 2014 SGR 698).



modalityupf AT gmail DOT com