The temporal perspective of epistemics in Dutch

  • Annemarie van Dooren

Abstract

A series of experiments is conducted on naïve native speakers of Dutch and English to study the scope relation between tense and epistemic modality. The results are consistent with the claim that epistemics scope over tense (Stowell 2004, Hacquard 2006, a.o.), and challenge recent research that states that epistemics can, or must, scope under tense (von Fintel and Gillies 2007, Rullmann & Matthewson 2018): Dutch and English participants in a Truth Value Judgment Task judge sentences to be false when the past tense forms of the modals have to and moeten 'have to' are used to make an epistemic claim that held at a time before speech time, and true when they are used to make an epistemic claim that holds at speech time. Moreover, English participants in an Acceptability Judgment Task judge sentences to be infelicitous when the same past tense form of have to is used to make an epistemic claim that held at a time before speech time. Besides these general patterns, the results show variation within and across the two languages, which leads to interesting new questions about the interaction between tense and (epistemic) modality.
Published
2020-09-17
How to Cite
van Dooren, A. (2020). The temporal perspective of epistemics in Dutch. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 24(1), 143-160. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2020.v24i1.858