'Find', 'must' and conflicting evidence


  • Natasha Korotkova
  • Pranav Anand




'Find'-verbs — English find, German finden, French trouver and their counterparts in other languages — have figured prominently in the literature on subjective language, as they only allow complements that are about matters of opinion, rather than fact. This paper focuses on a lesser-studied property of 'find'-verbs: the ban on must-modals in their complements and their interaction with epistemics and evidentials at large. The find-must ban has been attributed to a clash in subjectivity, with must-modals assumed to not be of the right type. We argue instead that the find-must ban is of evidential nature: 'find'-verbs convey directness, 'must'-modals convey indirectness, and their combination is a semantic contradiction. We couch our proposal in terms of von Fintel and Gillies’s (2010) kernels, modal bases responsible for direct knowledge. We show that 'find'-verbs ban a variety of indirect markers across languages and further argue that 'find'-verbs can embed epistemic modals, but only those that do not semantically encode indirectness, and thus draw a line between semantic vs. pragmatic evidential effects.




How to Cite

Korotkova, N., & Anand, P. (2021). ’Find’, ’must’ and conflicting evidence. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 25, 515–532. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2021.v25i0.951