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Similarities and disparities among French modal verbs through co-occurrence correspondence analysis

2022-8-7, Pamuksaç, Aylin

The French modal verbs devoir, pouvoir, falloir and vouloir are rarely considered in one same study although they can all express the same main modalities which are the epistemic and the deontic values. In this paper, we want to show that despite the fact they are polysemous and seem to be interchangeable in some context, they are quite different in their use. To do so, we show how close or distant they are through correspondence analysis (CA). This study is innovative because this methodology will be used to determine proximities and distances between words and not between parts of the text, as is usually the case. The CAs are constructed on co-occurrences that modal verbs have with their verbal complementation and the subject pronouns that govern them. Not only do we compare two parameters to see if the properties of the modal verbs are stable but, we also conduct this research in four different corpora, two journalistic, and two encyclopedic to show regular patterns between genres.