Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Apr 28 14:20:45 UTC 2000

Ron Butters complains:

>Here is an interesting example of what happens when MAY and MIGHT are used
>Reut13:53 04-25-00: At the nearly two-hour meeting in Congress, Reno laid out
>a chronological account of the events leading up to the raid, which U.S.
>officials said followed indications that there may have been weapons in the
>house or the crowd outside.
>To me, MAY in this context indicates that the speaker is still uncertain
>about whether there were weapons in the house or the crowd. MIGHT would
>indicate that the speaker feels that the evidence now indicates that there
>were no weapons in the house or the crowd.
>Am I the only person left alive with such intuitions?

No, as I think emerged from our previous discussion of this issue, there
are a lot of us who share your intuitions, myself included, but we appear
to be a dying breed.  Increasingly, the "dialect" in which (non-permission)
MAY marks epistemic rather than logical (or metaphysical, or subjunctive)
possibility is losing ground.


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