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LINGUIST List 18.2546

Thu Aug 30 2007

Diss: Syntax: Bahtchevanova: 'Mood, Modality, and Complementation: ...'

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        1.    Mariana Bahtchevanova, Mood, Modality, and Complementation: A cross-linguistic study of the syntax and semantics of the left periphery


Message 1: Mood, Modality, and Complementation: A cross-linguistic study of the syntax and semantics of the left periphery
Date: 30-Aug-2007
From: Mariana Bahtchevanova <MarianaBasu.edu>
Subject: Mood, Modality, and Complementation: A cross-linguistic study of the syntax and semantics of the left periphery
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Institution: Arizona State University
Program: Interdisciplinary Committee on Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007

Author: Mariana Bahtchevanova

Dissertation Title: Mood, Modality, and Complementation: A cross-linguistic study of the syntax and semantics of the left periphery

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Dissertation Director:
Elly van Gelderen

Dissertation Abstract:

Sentential complementation, a common syntactic mechanism of clausal
integration, occurs in all languages, but the level of integration of
different embedded structures varies not only cross-linguistically but also
within the same language.This dissertation represents a cross-linguistic
study of the syntactic realization of mood and modality in clausal
complementation in the light of recent generative proposals dealing with
the fine structure of the discourse and grammatical domains. The study also
builds on several semantic proposals of mood following the framework of
dynamic semantics.

It is argued that different levels of integration correspond to different
structures of the left periphery: declarative complements, which represent
the most independent type, are usually headed by a high complementizer
whereas modal complements, which are analyzed as non-assertive propositions
with anaphoric tense, are selected by a low modal complementizer.
Cross-linguistically, mood can be overtly encoded not only in the
complementizer layer but also in the functional layer, or in both.

The dissertation also examines the relationship between the semantics of
the matrix predicate and the structure of the embedded complements
presenting evidence from Germanic, Romance, Slavic, and Balkan languages.
It claims that while the meaning of the selecting predicate determines the
possible models of evaluation of the status of the embedded proposition,
the syntax of the complement structure overtly encodes this model by means
of modal complementizers, modal verbs, or modal inflection.

The last part provides a solution to the puzzle of modal complementation in
Bulgarian. It is argued that despite the large array of contexts where
finite modal clauses occur, the unifying semantic feature is their
non-assertiveness, which is syntactically realized as a modal particle
situated in the lowest section of the discourse domain. This hybrid
particle represents a transition step between the functional and discourse
layers, because it forms a complex with the functional domain and at the
same type performs the typical functions of complementizers. The modal
particle is analyzed as the lowest complementizer, which cannot license
deictic tense and thus selects only non-assertive complements.





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