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Ciências & Cognição

versión On-line ISSN 1806-5821


CORBARI, Alcione Tereza  y  BIDARRA, Jorge. The modal 'dever' epistemic and deontic: a problem of lexical processing. Ciênc. cogn. [online]. 2007, vol.11, pp. 120-131. ISSN 1806-5821.

Abstract The Portuguese modal verb "dever" can express both obligation and probability, depending on the modality it conveys, deontic or epistemic, respectively. In this study, we aim at verifying if this phenomenon constitutes a case of polysemy, as some authors argue, or a case of homonymy, or both. We will review some of the main concepts and criteria found in the literature and that have been applied in distinguishing each of the two occurrences observed. In this discussion, the focus will be on the so-called distinctive criteria. From this starting point, we will carry out an analysis on commonly uttered sentences with the purpose of, if not solving the impasse, at least provoking an interesting debate on how to represent, in the lexicon, a word such as the verb "dever", which is in the boundary between the two types of ambiguity and whose respective lexicalizations are totally different.

Palabras clave : modal verbs; lexical processing; lexical ambiguity; natural language processing; communication.

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