Linguistics Colloquium: Aynat Rubinstein

28/01/2020 - 14:00 - 15:30

Aynat Rubinstein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Title: What variation in mood selection can teach us about propositional attitudes of desire


Although verbs meaning 'hope' and 'want' seem to have the same closely-related meanings across Romance languages, they nevertheless show variation in the verbal mood of their complements in these languages. This poses a problem for previous theories of mood selection, which tend to tie the difference between subjunctive and indicative mood to the nature of a verb's modal backgrounds.

This paper focuses on the selection patterns of desire verbs 'hope' and 'want' in French and in Spanish: whereas 'want' is a consistent subjunctive selector in both languages, 'hope' selects subjunctive in Spanish but strongly prefers the indicative in French. We provide an account of this variation that combines (i) a modal semantics for mood morphemes, where subjunctive/indicative correspond to weak/strong necessity, and (ii) a grammatical operation that manipulate modal backgrounds under certain well-defined circumstances. Our proposal uncovers new parallels between mood selection and modal semantics and provides novel support for the idea that modal quantification originates in an attitude verb's complement, not in the verb itself.


Place: Building 403 room 2
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