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Have to, Have Got to, and Must

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Chapter Summary

The NSM approach differs from the mainstream in two related ways; (i) the NSM approach does not attempt to classify meanings, but to paraphrase them, and (ii) no specialist or technical terms are allowed in formal NSM semantic explications, on the grounds that to do so inevitably leads to unacceptable abstractness and obscurity. This chapter proposes explications (systematic reductive paraphrases) for sentences like I must ring my mother, I have to ring my mother, and I've got to ring my mother. The explications will be phrased exclusively in a subset of NSM semantic primes. The NSM explications consist of a series of components phrased entirely in the metalanguage of semantic primes. It can be observed that some words in the explications adopt variant forms as required by the rules of English grammar; for example, verbs shift to a past tense form in contexts where there is a prior time reference.

Keywords: English grammar; explications; metalanguage; NSM approach; semantic primes; verbs



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