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Bookmark and Share Paper 2453

Ambiguity in the 'Non-root Modal + PERF' Construction Revisited
Zhiguo Xie
205-213 (complete paper or proceedings contents)

Abstract

Certain English 'non-root modal + PERF' combinations are ambiguous between epistemic and metaphysical readings. The ambiguity has been traditionally analyzed as a scopal one. In this paper the author proposes an alternative temporal shifting analysis which avoids the problems with the competing scopal analysis. The metaphysical reading results when the evaluation time of the non-root modal is backward shifted to its topic time by an operator, and the epistemic reading does not involve temporal shifting. The postulation of the temporal shifters finds crosslinguistic evidence in Mandarin modal contexts.

Published in

Proceedings of the 28th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Mary Byram Washburn, Katherine McKinney-Bock, Erika Varis, Ann Sawyer, and Barbara Tomaszewicz
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00