I prefer (and it's the method I use in conlanging) to think of them as  
moods. This is far from being correct in English (as my lecturer in  
Computational Linguistics repeatedly told me) but I find it easy to  
understand in this manner; perhaps English will one day develop these  
as moods, marked with prefixes.

Anyhoo, the moods:

I want = desiderative
I wish = cohortative (although I have this described as "please may it  
be that")
I hope = optative

These fall in contrast with the:

Energetic = It is definitely
Precative = would it be made so
Dubitative = it might be
Presumptive = I assume
Jussive = I plead
Volative = I fear
          etc, etc, etc.

I'm going to assume somebody points out that I have misspelled one/ 
more of these or have misunderstood one/more of these.

On 19 Dec 2010, at 07:47, Patrick Dunn wrote:

> On Sat, Dec 18, 2010 at 8:09 PM, Sai <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> What are the semantic and pragmatic distinctions among "want",  
>> "wish",
>> "hope", etc.?  Is any one of them simply "has positive-valence  
>> attitude
>> towards the possibility"? Do they bundle in a belief as to its
>> truth/falsity? Do they bundle in a belief as to its plausibility?   
>> Other
>> things?
>> What does your conlang do with these?
> Neat question.  I'm not sure the way that English divides that  
> semantic
> space is at all inevitable of universal.  My current project (bleh, it
> really needs a name.  Call it Aso for now, as that means "language")  
> uses a
> sentence-final particle that indicates evidentiality.  The  
> desirative is one
> possible particle.
> elu pulkake olashasha ma'a
> he  write      book        seen
> (I have seen) he writes books.
> elu pulkake olashasha lo.
> they say he writes books
> elu pulkake olashasha imi
> he must write books (because, for example, there is one sitting  
> there with
> his name on it)
> elu pulkake olashasha epoa
> I have imagined that he writes books
> (often used for:  He should write books)
> elu pulkake olashasha t'a'a
> Wait, he writes *books*?  Really?
> elu pulkake olashasha uma
> Perhaps he writes books.
> He could write books.
> elu pulkake olashasha k'u
> Does he write books?
> elu pulkake olashasha sha'o
> Would that he wrote books.
> I want him to write books.
> Of these, if I were to translate "I wish that he'd write books," I'd
> probably use epoa.  It's a little more polite esp. in preserving  
> negative
> face.  "I want him to write a book" would definitely be sha'o.  It's  
> more
> direct (perfectly polite when appealing to positive face -- it's  
> what you'd
> use to wish someone a good day -- "ita nehasa sha'o.")
> I'm not sure how I'd express hope.  I think it's somewhere between  
> these
> two; I don't think there's a semantic space carved out for that idea  
> in Aso.
> -- 
> I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; garlands from window  
> to
> window; golden chains from star to star, and I dance.  --Arthur  
> Rimbaud