Modal Expressions in their Natural Habitat

The description of particles is notoriously difficult, because of their polysemous character. In this presentation a first attempt will be presented to answer the following questions: How does a speaker/addressee know which interpretation to choose for a particle? Both monosemic and polysemic approaches say that context plays an important role. But what exactly should this context be in order to arrive at a certain interpretation?
 
One of the possibilities is that it is not the particle itself that receives this interpretation, but the combination of a collocation with the particle. We will explore this hypothesis on the basis of the Ancient Greek particle που ‘somewhere, about, somehow, methinks’.
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