Speaker-oriented vs. Subject-oriented modals: A split in implicative behavior

  • Valentine Hacquard


Epistemic and root modals are often expressed by the same lexical items cross-linguistically. This cross-linguistic trend supports a Kratzerian analysis, where modals share a semantic core and where the only difference between an epistemic and a root interpretation depends on context. However, another cross linguistically robust pattern seems to argue against such a unifying account. Namely, epistemics tend to scope high (in particular higher than Tense and Aspect) and roots low: a fact which a Kratzerian account cannot explain, and which has lead to account which hard-wire a specific syntactic position for epistemics and for roots (cf. Cinque 1999). This paper presents a novel account of modals in the spirit of Kratzer (1981, 1991), but where the modal is relative to an event rather than a world of evaluation. This event-relativity can account for the correct interactions of epistemics and roots with Tense and Aspect, without stipulating an interpretation-specific height for modals.
How to Cite
Hacquard, V. (2019). Speaker-oriented vs. Subject-oriented modals: A split in implicative behavior. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 11, 305-319. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2007.v11i0.647