Stanford Linguistics
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Modal Aspectual Meaning
Amy Rose Deal (UMass)
5:00pm, MJH 126

Viewpoint aspect is generally conceived of as a category concerned with the temporal interpretation of clauses. Yet aspectual categories across languages have persistently been claimed to require a kind of modal semantics, as Dowty famously proposed for the English progressive and others have argued for the perfective and perfect in a variety of languages. In the first half of this seminar I will present new evidence from the interpretation of prospective aspect in Nez Perce, discussing the kinds of field data that make the case for modal aspectual meaning. In the second half we will develop a unified approach to the modality (and non-modality) of particular aspects based on a distinction between the kinds of relations that may hold between events across worlds and within them. We conclude with an examination of some proposed exemplars of modal aspects cross- linguistically.