Article published in:Modes of Modality: Modality, typology, and universal grammar
Edited by Elisabeth Leiss and Werner Abraham
[Studies in Language Companion Series 149] 2014
► pp. 127–166
Mora da as a marker of modal meanings in Macedonian
On correlations between categorial restrictions and morphosyntactic behaviour
The article presents a semasiological case study of the Macedonian modal mora, which derives from the common South Slavic modal verb morati ‘must’, and its collocation with the morpheme da, which is the probably most prominent non-factivity marker of Macedonian used in a broad variety of syntactic functions: as a complementiser, as a main clause marker in “insubordination” phenomena (with hortative and optative functions) as well as a morpheme connecting auxiliary and lexical verb in complex predicates. The latter function forms the starting point for the investigation: the author raises the question whether mora and da should not (in many cases) be analysed as one single unit (in functional and lexicographic terms). Mora can be regarded as a full-fledged modal auxiliary, but it tends to lose its inflectional properties (first, person and number, then tense), so that mora becomes petrified as a form isolated from its paradigm and homonymous with the prs.3sg-form of the inflected verb. Furthermore, it needs to be somehow connected to a finite verb and can cooccur only with da. This distribution, in connection with the successive loss of inflectional categories, conditions a transient stage whereby mora+da appear to become a sentence adverb (or particle) with propositional scope (univerbation toward a function word). Together with this, the split between inflected and uninflected mora correlates with a strong tendency to distinguish deontic (with inflected mora) vs. epistemic (with uninflected mora) readings (dynamic readings have largely been ignored). As concerns this distinction, the feature [± inflected] proves more decisive than the choice of pfv. vs. ipfv. aspect for the lexical verb (being under scope of mora da). Moreover, the only grammatical context for which mora da + Vfin shows a systematic preference for deontic readings, is the pfv. present. All other contexts (and given mora is uninflected) rather favour epistemic readings, and for pfv. present tense (under scope of mora) the deontic reading can be overridden by some other factors. The article divides into two main parts: in the first, the author provides a systematic analysis of mora (da) in virtually all grammatical contexts imaginable for the occurrence of mora (da) in monoclausal structures (Section 2). In the second part (Section 3), the author takes issue with the question whether mora+da should not be treated as one linguistic unit, namely a propositional operator marking epistemic necessity (= ‘strong epistemic support’, in terms of Boye 2012).
Published online: 24 January 2014
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