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Book Sections Year : 2008

On the Temporal Syntax of Non-Root Modals


The goal of this paper is to lay the foundations of a crosslinguistically valid model of the temporal construals of non-root modal sentences. The two languages discussed are English and Spanish. We propose a uniform temporal syntax for non-root modals where the heads, T∘, M∘, ASP∘, V∘, each introduce a time-denoting argument/reference-time projected in the syntax (onto the external specifier of the relevant head). These time intervals (Zeit-Ps) can, just as any DP, enter into anaphoric dependencies where anaphora will be construed as either coreference or binding, and undergo phrasal movement (QR) to higher scope positions. Syntactic movement at LF—be it XP movement of a Zeit-Ps or X∘ movement of a temporal head—can reverse initial temporal scope relations. Movement must target the closest licit landing site that would yield a well-formed temporal output and is a last resort operation generating a temporal output that could not otherwise be generated. We derive the asymmetries between non-root modals (without auxiliary Haber/Have) in Spanish and English from a single assumption: in Spanish, unlike English, past morphology on the modal is temporally interpreted.
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hal-03943001 , version 1 (17-01-2023)



Hamida Demirdache, Myriam Uribe-Etxebarria. On the Temporal Syntax of Non-Root Modals. Time and Modality, 75, Springer Netherlands, pp.79-113, 2008, Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, ⟨10.1007/978-1-4020-8354-9_5⟩. ⟨hal-03943001⟩
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