This study of the modal expressions in Malay will be focused on the major syntactic characteristics of modality in relation to various speech acts, negation and tense/aspect. In attempting to characterize the semantic properties of modal expressions, and in justifying their categorization into two major types of modalities, epistemic or root / deontic, we will use intuitive or non-linguistic criteria together with linguistic criteria. Finally, based on generalizations that can be concluded from this study, we will discuss whether or not they fit into some of the tentative or quasi-universals already established elsewhere.
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