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Modal Words and Phrases/Modals



The lexical units belonging to this part of speech are characterised in both languages by their meaning of "modality". They are used to express the speaker's judgement concerning the action/event or object in the utterance/ sentence. These words/phrases in English and Ukrainian are as follows: certainly, indeed, maybe, perhaps, possibly, probably, of course, no doubt - певне, напевне, звичайно, може, можливо, безумовно, безсумнівно and others.

Modals are traditionally classified as follows:

1. Modal words/phrases expressing various shades of certainty: cer tainly, of course, surely, no doubt, assuredly, indeed, undoubtedly, really (певне, напевне, звичайно, безсумнівно, безперечно, безумовно, зрозуміло, правда):

"Yes, certainly they (pigeons) Так, звичайно, вони (голуби)

will fly". (Hemingway) повилітають.

"Sure, he's a bum". (Caldwell) Безперечно, він волоцюга.

2. Modal words expressing various degrees of probability: maybe, perhaps, possibly, probably (може, можливо, мабуть, ймовірно, видно, здається):

"They'll probably come through "Ну, можливо вони якось пере -

it all right". (Hemingway) живуть артобстріл".

"Maybe it was all a lie...". "Може, все це була брехня..." (Steinbeck)


3. Modal words expressing various shades of desirability (fortunate ly, unfortunately), which have a restricted number of semantic equiva lents in Ukrainian (на щастя, на жаль, шкода):

"You are wrong, unfortunately". "На жаль, ти неправий". "Fortunately, it didn't come true". "На щастя, це не здійсни- (Jacobs) лось".

4. Modal words expressing doubt, uncertainty and coincidingin form with the modal words denoting probability (maybe, perhaps, proba blyможе, можливо, мабуть):

"Maybe it's not yet time...?" Може, ще не настав час?

(Caldwell)

"...perhaps you'd better take а ...може б ти довше/ще якийсь

little longer to consider". (Jacobs) час над цим поміркував.

The subjective and objective attitude of the speaker towards an event/ action may often be expressed by several other parenthetic words and phrases which may point a) to the authorship of the idea/assertion expressed in the sentence, eg.: they say, as reported, in my view, to my mind, 1 think - кажуть, як повідомляють, на мою думку, як говориться, etc.; b) to words and phrases expressing an estimation of the expressed idea in the sentence (shortly speaking, generally speaking, in a word коротко кажучи, відверто кажучи, одне слово, etc.); c) to words pointing to the order or succession of ideas expressed in the sentence (firstly, secondly, on the contrary - по-перше, по-друге, навпаки, etc.).

Modals, like statives, originate from different parts of speech or phrases which acquire some modal meaning in the sentence. These parts of speech are: 1) adverbs (really, probably, fortunately справді, очевидно, дійсно); 2) nouns with or without prepositions (only in Ukrainian): in one's view, in one's opinion, to one's judgment — сором, страх, на мою думку, на мій погляд; 3) verbal phrases and sentences (it seems, you see - здається, бачите, як бачите, кажуть); 4) statives (in Ukrainian): чутно, видно, etc.


One more common feature of modals in the contrasted languages is their position in the sentence. Most of them may occupy any position according to the emphasis they are given by the author/speaker. Cf. Perhaps he will come. He will, perhaps, come. He will come, perhaps.(Можливо, він прийде; він, можливо, прийде; він прийде, можливо). Modals may also be used in both contrasted languages as elliptical answers to some utterances. Eg:

"Maybe we better go out... "Може, краще вийдемо і роз-

and send them home?" женемо їх по домівках?"

"Maybe we better," Tad said. "Може й так,"- сказав Тед. (Saroyan)





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