deontic "will"

Joan Bybee jbybee at UNM.EDU
Wed Aug 8 16:22:38 UTC 2001

This discussion is interesting because it is not unusual for a verb meaning
'need' to change its meaning to one of volition. This is the case for
English _want_, so that the usage below is an older meaning of _want_ . But
cases of a volitional verb (such as Spanish _querer_) developing a meaning
of deontic necessity had not surfaced before in the data I had examined.
The cautionary note I want to raise is that if a volitional verb has a
deontic use, it could be an earlier use being retained, not a new development.

Joan Bybee

At 09:46 PM 8/7/01 +0100, Nicholas Ostler wrote:
>There's a fair amount of deontic "will" in the following little
>competitive witticisms between Oxford and Cambridge:
>On George I's donation of the Bishop of Ely's library to Cambridge:
>Joseph Trapp:
>The King observing with judicious eyes
>The state of both his universities
>To Oxford sent a troop of horse.  For why?
>That learned body wanted loyalty.
>To Cambridge books as very well discerning
>How much that loyal body wanted learning.
>Sir William Browne, replied:
>The King to Oxford sent a troop of horse,
>For Tories own no argument but force.
>With equal skill to Cambridge books he sent,
>For Whigs admit no force but argument.
Joan Bybee jbybee at               phone:  505-277-3827
Department of Linguistics               fax:    505-277-6355
Humanities 526
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-1196

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