Deontic Modality

The deontic modality qualifies the possibility, necessity or volition (will) the speaker associates with a fact and their participants referred to in his/her utterance.
The related meanings can be organized along two axis:
- the nature of the modality, i.e. possibility, necessity, will,
- the source of the modal effect, coming either from the agent itself (internal), from the objective reality (neutral), or from other agents (external).

We can therefore distinguish between:
- ability, the (internal) possibility the agent has to perform the action,
- objective possibility, resulting from the outer world,
- permission, the (external) possibility, coming from an outer authority,
- need, the (internal) necessity the agent feels for himself,
- objective necessity, resulting from the outer world,
- obligation, the (external) necessity, coming from an outer authority.
It must be noted that objective possibility, permission on the one hand and objective necessity, obligation on the other hand, are linked through the operation of negation (the double arrow in red between both zones):
- the negation of objective possibility or permission is objective impossibility or interdiction, i.e. a necessity,
- the negation of objective necessity or obligation is objective non-necessity or facultativity, i.e. a possibility.
Another relationship is that in the interrogative mood, one can use the main construction for ability in order to express a request for permission (the black arrow between both zones).

For the will (volition) we can distinguish:
- desire, which is a subjective need, (hence no strongly marked separation with necessity)
- wish, which is a kind of desire, but less geared towards one's internal needs,
- intention, which takes the desire towards the action to fulfil it,
- decision, which is a further step towards action.

It must also ne noted that a diminutive form of the construction for intention (its past form) is used to express a demand as a polite wish.

Finally, some constructions have some epistemic shades of meaning, specifically the main form for possibility (based on mumkin) can be used to express epistemic possibility (presumptive), and the strongest forms for decision, to express certainty.

The morphologic devices used to render those modalities are very diverse, and can be as follows:
- a verbal conjugation (for the future tense of intention, based on -MOQCHI, and its derived forms),
- nominal predicates (the forms in mumkin, kerak and also qodir, muhtoj, etc.),
- constructions with gerund plus auxiliary verbs,
- constructions using participles,
- construction based on the irrealis/conditional suffix -SA,
- plain verbs, using the infinitive.
In all cases, these constructions apply to verbs, including for statives ('to be') for which the verb bo'l- must be used.

To see the meanings of these terms, you can also hover the mouse over the terms written in italic blue.
Click inside the boxes with plain borders to get explanations of usages of all constructions inside plus examples of them.
Click on the Uzbek form of the construction to get information on its morphology.
Click on the text -MOQCHI to get the conjugation of the corresponding Uzbek tense (future of intention).
In the constructions referred to on the map, the verb on which the modality is applied appears on the left side of the hyphen.
For instance, -ishi mumkin refers to the construction where the infinitive of the verb (-ish) is used followed by the personal pronominal suffix (-i for the singular 3rd person), and then by the nominal predicate mumkin:
ketishim mumkin: I can leave.


Back to top
Previous page:Epistemic Modality
Next page:Performative Modality