Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
Previous Sub2Sect

7.1.2 The modality of the embedded predication (semantic differences between types of embedded predication)

In chapter 10 on sentence types various types of independent sentence will be distinguished:

- declarative sentences (including `potential' sentences);

- interrogative sentences:

(a) questions with regard to the truthfulness of the statement (`yes–no' or `sentence' questions);

(b) questions introduced by a question word (`word' questions or `wh-questions');

- imperative sentences.

The difference between these sentence types often appears from their form, e.g. in Latin the presence of certain words and particles (num, -ne in questions) and in other languages the position of the finite verb in interrogative sentences; imperative or subjunctive verb forms in imperative sentences and subjunctive verb forms in potential and imperative sentences; the negation in imperative sentences.

Apart from these formal characteristics, some sentence types are subject to semantic restrictions, viz. (a) on the addibility of certain satellites, and (b) on the types of states of affairs that may occur in certain sentence types. For

-- 101 --

instance, certain Disjuncts cannot be added to imperative sentences and wishes (e.g. haud dubie, fortasse, see p. 33) or to interrogative sentences (cf. English: `Will he undoubtedly come?'). Incompatibility of sentence type and state of affairs plays a role in the case of non-controlled states of affairs. As a rule, such states of affairs do not occur in imperative sentences (see p. 17). The formal and semantic characteristics mentioned above are the expression of what is sometimes called the `modality' of each of these sentence types. In chapter 10 we return to this at greater length.

Semantic characteristics such as those mentioned above also hold for certain types of embedded predication. This appears from the fact that certain main predications do not allow embedding of certain predications. Thus, it is obvious that main predications with the Predicate to order can only embed predications with imperative modality. Main predications with the Predicate to tell, on the other hand, may embed both predications with declarative modality and predications with imperative modality, e.g.:

(7a) John told me (= said to me) that he would vacate the house

(7b) John told me (= ordered me) to vacate the house

The difference in modality between the embedded predications in (7a) (declarative) and (7b) (imperative) is reflected by the fact that the former allows the addition of a Disjunct such as perhaps, whereas the latter does not.

(7'a) John told me (= said to me) that he would perhaps vacate the house (e.g. if he finds a buyer)

(7'b) *John told me (= ordered me) perhaps to vacate the house

Like independent imperative predications, embedded imperative predications cannot be extended by the Disjunct perhaps ((7'b)), whereas declarative predications can ((7'a)). This also holds for Latin. In the treatment of embedded predications as arguments I return to the issue of possible restrictions on the modality of embedded predications.

Previous Sub2Sect

Pinkster, Harm (1942-) [1990], Latin Syntax and Semantics [info], xii, 320 p.: ill.; 24 cm. [word count] [Pinkster].
Powered by PhiloLogic