This paper investigates the semantics of a modal particle daats'í in Navajo (Southern Athabaskan). Daats'í is argued to be a weak epistemic modal that can occupy either adnominal or adclausal position. In both positions, daats'í is argued to be focus sensitive in the sense of Rooth (1992). It composes with constituents for which a non-singleton focus semantic value can be defined. This analysis represents two departures from standard analyses of modality. First, modals are standardly located at the level of the proposition; this paper argues they can also be adnominal. Second, modals are not usually posited to make use of focus alternatives in any significant way. The findings for daats'í demonstrate that modals may be focus sensitive.
Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
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