In languages like Malagasy, St’át’imcets, or Tagalog, we find verbal morphology that lumps together what, at first sight, look like unrelated modal meanings. This morphology is used to convey, among other things, that an action was within what an agent could do or, depending on the context, that it was beyond what an agent could control. What is the semantic import of these verbal forms? Recent analyses for Malagasy and St’át’imcets have proposed that this morphology contributes circumstantial modality, conveying, roughly, that a certain outcome follows from a set of facts. This paper shows that the interpretation of the Tagalog variety of this morphology (the so-called 'Ability/Involuntary Action Form') poses some challenges to this hypothesis.
Proceedings of the 35th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Wm. G. Bennett, Lindsay Hracs, and Dennis Ryan Storoshenko
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