Article published in:Cross-linguistic Semantics of Tense, Aspect, and Modality
Edited by Lotte Hogeweg, Helen de Hoop and Andrej L. Malchukov
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 148] 2009
► pp. 205–244
‘Out of control’ marking as circumstantial modality in St’át’imcets
This paper provides a unified semantic analysis of the so-called ‘out-of-control’ circumfix ka-…-a in St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish). ka-…-a expresses an initially puzzling range of meanings, including “be able to”, “manage to”, “suddenly”, “accidentally”, and “non-controllable”. We propose that ka-…-a encodes circumstantial modality; we show that its various meanings all reduce to either an existential (ability) or universal (involuntary action) interpretation. Our analysis provides further support for a striking difference between St’át’imcets and English. In English, modals lexically encode quantificational strength, but do not encode distinctions between epistemic, deontic and circumstantial interpretations. St’át’imcets modals display exactly the inverse pattern (Rullmann et al. 2008). In line with this, ka-…-a lexically encodes circumstantial modality, but does not encode quantificational strength. The parallel between ka-…-a and other St’át’imcets modal elements provides support for our analysis, in contrast to previous accounts (e.g., Demirdache 1997), which treat ka-…-a as primarily aspectual in nature.
Published online: 30 November 2009
Cited by other publications
Portner, Paul & Aynat Rubinstein
Rullmann, Hotze, Lisa Matthewson & Henry Davis
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