Document Type : Research Paper
In contrast to the grammatical category of mood in Persian which has been subject to a number of studies, modality as a semantic category has not received the due attention it deserves. This study is fascinated to depict modal functions of tense in Persian. In a sense, it tries to take account of the structures used by Persian speakers to express their evaluation of the state of affairs. The results of the study show that real and unreal conditionals, deictic projection and subjunctives are among the structures in Persian in which a past or non- past tense is used to convey a wide range of modal meanings. The fulfillment of such a function by tense takes place in the presence of contextual elements and modal hedges. In other words, such factors seem to facilitate the use of tense in expressing modal content of the sentence rather than grammaticalizing the time of the event. Moreover, it seems cognitive processes of conceptual mapping and mental space building, along with pragmatic and contextual factors are central to assigning a modal function to tense in Persian.