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1Mood, modality and modalization are the subject of lively debates both in linguistics and semiotics, in philosophy (one thinks in particular of research related to Souriau’s radical empiricism) and in sociology (especially with the work of Latour or Goffman as far as interactionist sociology is concerned). If mood determines the conditions of assertability of a linguistic proposition, modality, alongside temporality and aspectuality (TAM), influences the processes (doing) and states (being) of the different actors that make up an enunciative scene, particularly in terms of knowledge, will, and belief. Modalization, on the other hand, involves a rhetoric and a negotiation of acting that (re)structure and (re)distribute the modal charges among the actors of a narrative, among the participants in a practical scene (i.e. distribution of implication and commitment). In dialogue with other disciplines, the question of mood, modality and modalization is brought back to the forefront, with the desire to take stock after years of intense research on the subject in the field of semiotics and linguistics.

2There are many avenues to explore. Thus, in what way is it relevant, on the one hand, to consider modality as a syntactic operator and to study its semantic scope, and, on the other hand, to evaluate its contribution to the (de)stabilization of an actantial scene? It will be interesting to follow the complex inter-modal arrangements, but also to ask how the modality can break away from dependence on the verb it serves, in favor of an “absolute” use. Going back to the valences, that is to say, to the values of the value and to the interpretative game, is it to give oneself the means to account for the sensitive and critical dimension of the modality, inasmuch as it is capable of reevaluating the very conditions of predication? Moreover, modalities open up not only to the rhetorical dimension of discourses, but also, more broadly, they can be conceived in relation to institutional environments and spaces, representations and norms, practices and praxis, media and supports. Finally, modalities can be thought in concert with modes (of existence or presence: real, actual, virtual, potential).

3This issue of the journal aims to extend the field of analysis, often verbocentric, to other forms of semiotic manifestation, especially of the visual type. For example, in addition to the comparison between texts in different languages, it will examine the link between modalization and spatialization of images.

  • 1 Enunciation is used here for “utterance”.

4These avenues are developed by the authors and by an introductory text that seeks to weave relationships between the contributions. In this respect, a first structuring of the issue, articulated on five axes, was proposed to the authors and in this sense it also functioned as a first track to observe convergences and divergences between the articles: (i) modality and actantial scene: the role of modality in the management of relations between actors in a narrative and the negotiation of roles in interaction; (ii) from the point of view of enunciation1, the articulation of linguistic modalities with sensory modalities (differences between the senses); (iii) modality and possible worlds: about the diastematic dynamics of connections and spacings; (iv) from typology to “modal experience”: modality, modulation, scansion and partition, (v) from enunciative modalities to socio-anthropological modes of existence (Souriau, Latour).

  • 2 The bibliography that was the starting point for the conception of this issue is available at the e (...)

5To this first invitation to position oneself in front of five questions that cross the thematic field, we must add the requirement of a concrete assessment of the scientific contributions collected here, respecting in particular the different perspectives, on the epistemological level, and the choices made in the relation between corpus analysis and theorization, while knowing that these two moments must enter into a virtuous circular relation. Given that the notions of mode, modality, modalization have already given rise to a long series of theoretical proposals in the field of language sciences, it seems useful to us to start first of all with a testing of a conceptual heritage on study corpora, in order to bring out how a current epistemological sensibility can suggest, in its confrontation with verbal and/or visual texts, revisions and integrations to the general theoretical framework. The contributions of Jacques Fontanille, Alain Rabatel, Pierre Halté and Ralitza Boneva go in this direction and help us to rethink the way we problematize the modal dimensions in which discourse is organized, especially with regard to enunciative strategies. This first group of articles, which opens the volume and shows us crucial methodological and heuristic issues for the approach of textual complexity, is followed by a series of contributions focused on enunciative praxis and their organization in genres. So, in the second section of the issue, characterized by the presence of contributions from Luisa Ruiz Moreno, Anne Beyaert-Geslin, Julien Thiburce and Santiago Guillén, we then move from local enunciative strategies to rhetorical organizations and ethos constructions, recognizable within specific interactional dynamics and discursive genealogies. Finally, the concluding section projects the framework of theorization into an epistemological horizon in which the distinctive contributions of semiotics are related to linguistics and other disciplinary approaches, in order to globally re-evaluate the translatable aspects between the models but also the missing pieces. In this sense, the last three papers (Marion Colas-Blaise, Sémir Badir, Pierluigi Basso Fossali) are offered less as a conclusion than as a repertoire of open questions that cross the current debate.2

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1 Enunciation is used here for “utterance”.

2 The bibliography that was the starting point for the conception of this issue is available at the end of the opening chapter.

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« Foreword »Signata [En ligne], 13 | 2022, mis en ligne le 28 mars 2022, consulté le 02 juin 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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