LINGUIST List 32.1799

Mon May 24 2021

Diss: Semantics: Author: Jumanah Abdulwahab Abusulaiman: ''Diss Title: Modality in Makkan Arabic: The interaction between modals and aspect''

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <>

Date: 06-Nov-2020
From: Jumanah Abusulaiman <>
Subject: Modality in Makkan Arabic: The interaction between modals and aspect
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Institution: University of Ottawa
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2020

Author: Jumanah Abdulwahab Abusulaiman

Dissertation Title: Modality in Makkan Arabic: The interaction between modals and aspect

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Dissertation Director:
Prof. Ana (UMASS/University of Ott Arregui
Prof. E ́ric (UniversityofOttawa Mathieu

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation explores the interaction between modality and aspect in Makkan Arabic (MA). There is some consensus in the semantic literature regarding the treatment of modal expressions that may obtain various flavours, such as epistemic, deontic, bouletic, ability, necessity or teleological. These various modal flavours can be captured by a unified lexical entry, and are identified by contextual factors Kratzer (1977, 1981, 1991, 2012). There is some debate regarding the structural location of modal elements, some of which have been argued to be high (the case of epistemic modals) and others low (the case of root modals) (e.g. Cinque (1999)). The relative scope of modals has been subject of much recent work on modality, in particular in relation to their interaction with temporal categories such as aspect. This thesis investigates this topic on the basis of novel data from MA....

In addition I show that, contrary to what has been argued by Hacquard for French, the perfect in MA can give rise to AEs in the case of the saar auxiliary. I develop an analysis of the saar perfect that is inspired by Hacquard’s proposal for perfective: in the case of saar, contrary to kaan, the perfect links the eventuality to the actual world. While the discussion of AEs in relation to the modal \gdr\ are linked to the proposal that aspect scopes over the modal, I also examine the case of a modal expression that scopes over aspect: qad “might”. I show that in spite of the fact that aspect scopes below the modal, the contrast between perfective and imperfective in the embedded clause can still give rise to differences in the generation of AEs. This case is interesting because much previous literature on AEs has focused on languages in which aspect scopes over the modal. MA qad provides an example where the modal scopes over aspect, and it is still the case that AEs appear to be generated. In spite of the structural differences with \gdr\, my analysis of qad builds on Hacquard’s proposal for AEs with the perfective, appealing to her proposal for the ‘preservation of event description’ to account for the fact that properties of eventualities can remain stable across worlds.

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