The Masalit verbal suffix -ti has previously been characterized as a future tense marker (Edgar 1989:24). This paper presents new data which show that -ti can also indicate various kinds of possibility, without obligatory future reference. The dual function of -ti is accounted for by assigning it the semantics of a present-perspective possibility modal which in some cases has a future orientation, following Condoravdi's (2002) analysis of English modal auxiliaries. This natural extension of Condoravdi's approach provides cross-linguistic support for the idea that modals contribute directly to temporal interpretation.
Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context
edited by Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-453-9 library binding
xi + 337 pages
publication date: 2012
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA