Future Reference and Epistemic Modality in Hindi: The gaa particle

Dave Kush


This paper is concerned with the interpretation of the Hindi particle gaa , which is often referred to as the `future tense'. Gaa  is often used in plain future assertions. In addition to its use in plain future assertions, gaa  is also used to make epistemic modal claims that lack future orientation. The paper proceeds from the assumption that the gaa  particles in both usages are one and the same.Given that assumption, the primary focus of the paper is to oer a univocal analysis of gaa  that specifies the semantic contribution of the morpheme in both instances. The study is partially informed by previous work on the semantics of English will , a morpheme that exhibits similar interpretive variability (i.e. it can befound in both plain future and epistemic utterances - see, among many others, Jespersen 1924; Enc 1996; Hornstein 1990; Sarkar 1998).

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