Original scientific article
Page 509 - 532

Semantic restrictions on modal auxiliary combinations: Evidence from Croatian double modal constructions

Ana Werkmann Horvat
E-mail: ana.werkmannhorvat@ling-phil.ox.ac.uk
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0720-2575
University of Oxford

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Abstract: Even though single modal auxiliaries have often been the main and only focus of literature on modality, Croatian data shows that modal auxiliaries show interesting restrictions when they occur in layered constructions. This paper examines double modal constructions in Croatian and their semantic restrictions. The result of the study is a hierarchical analysis, which regards modal force and flavour as the crucial factors behind semantic restrictions under which modal auxiliaries combine. Croatian data shows that epistemics can embed non-epistemics, but not vice versa. Within the non-epistemic group, the priority flavour scopes over the circumstantial group, within which pure possibility scopes over ability and disposition. On the other hand, regarding the modal force, data shows that necessity scopes over possibility, but only in combinations of modals conveying the same flavour. This analysis also challenges some of the traditional assumptions on modal flavours.
Keywords:
layered modality, modal flavour, modal force, Croatian,
Article data in other languages: Croatian