In the (Indicative or Subjunctive) Mood

  • Francesca Panzeri


The object of this paper is the analysis of the Indicative and Subjunctive morphological mood marking on embedded verbs, in Italian and in other Romance languages. The problem to be accounted for is why some predicates, like Verba dicendi, select for an Indicative mood clause, whereas others, like Modals, require a Subjunctive mood clause; and, moreover, why some governing verbs, like Epistemics, display interlinguistic variation, in that they are followed by a Subjunctive proposition in Italian, and by an Indicative one in French. My proposal is that mood marking on (a verb V in) a sentence φ signals what the relationship is between (the proposition expressed by) φ and the context in which that sentence gets evaluated. In a nutshell, the idea is that if φ displays Indicative mood, then it counts as assertible with respect to its input context; if it shows Subjunctive marking, it is non-assertible in its input context. The notion of (non- )assertibility is a pragmatic notion, and it is defined as the (violation/) satisfaction of the conditions that Stalnaker claimed that a sentence ought to meet in order to count as felicitous (i.e., informative) with respect to a context of conversation. I then review the paradigm of mood selection and show how the association between mood and this assertibility feature can correctly account for it.
How to Cite
Panzeri, F. (2019). In the (Indicative or Subjunctive) Mood. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 7, 215-227.