The dual nature of irrealis in complementation
This article explores the connection between irrealis mood and type of complement clause. It is argued that irrealis performs different functions in propositional and state-of-affairs complements, reflecting either irreality (non-actualisation in a situation that often has a concrete location in time) or lack of temporal and situational anchoring. While these distinct functions could be viewed as different realisations of a general irrealis meaning, one must keep in mind that general irrealis meanings are generalisations of more specific meanings arising in particular contexts of grammaticalisation. It is argued that the functions defined above are useful intermediate generalisations enabling a coherent account of irrealis use in complementation. However, the distinction between propositional and state-of-affairs complements is not neat: functions characteristic of the propositional domain also occasionally spill over into the state-of-affairs domain (in the form of counterfactuality or non-factuality marking) and vice versa (as the unanchoring function of subjunctives with evaluative predicates).
Keywords: irrealis, mood, complementation, propositional complements, state-of-affairs complements, factive predicates, factivity
Published online: 06 May 2020
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