Article published in:Linguistic Variation Yearbook 2006
Edited by Pierre Pica
[Linguistic Variation Yearbook 6] 2006
► pp. 161–201
The Structure of Temporality and Modality
(or, Towards deriving something like a Cinque Hierarchy)
This paper offers a view of clause structure based on semantic interpretability, focusing on the structure and interpretation of temporal (tense, aspect) and modal elements. It proposes that modality has a unitary lexical semantics along the lines of Krater (1977 et seq), with different interpretations of modals deriving from the interaction of that semantics with the interpretation of the temporal elements in the structural context the modals are found. Different positions for modal interpretation are proposed, corresponding the the edges of phases (Chomsky 2001). Evidence for this view is put forward from various languages. The clause structure so derived is akin to the universal clausal hierarchy proposed by Cinque (1999), lending support to the notion that something like this hierarchy does indeed hold in natural language, though the justification for it is very different.
Keywords: modality, tense, ambiguity, syntax–sematics interface
Published online: 11 May 2007
Cited by 3 other publications
Newmeyer, Frederick J.
Ramchand, Gillian & Peter Svenonius
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