Article published in:Historical Linguistics 2011: Selected papers from the 20th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Osaka, 25-30 July 2011
Edited by Ritsuko Kikusawa and Lawrence A. Reid
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 326] 2013
► pp. 227–241
Immediate-future readings of universal quantifier constructions
Sentences such as The train may arrive any minute (now) have a special non-universal interpretation. Similar types of sentences exist in Dutch, French, Spanish and elsewhere. I argue that they constitute a special construction, involving a universal quantifier, a temporal noun, optionally a preposition (in some languages), an achievement predicate and a modal context. Other properties are negative: The construction may not be negated, and the temporal noun may not be modified. I discuss the origin of the construction in contexts of expectation, using corpus data from Dutch and English, and describe the semantic change from universally quantified statement to a claim about the immediate-future as a change by which an implicature becomes the main assertion.
Published online: 14 November 2013