In the last decades, the TAM (Tense-Aspect-Modality) categories, which refer to the three main semantic domains marked on the verb in languages, have been extensively investigated from different linguistic perspectives. One of the burning issues in the domain concerns the interconnections between the categories of Tense, Aspect, and Modality, diachronically and synchronically, at the level of grammar and that of discourse. In this area, it is almost always the interactions between tense – i.e. the location of a situation in past present or future time – and modality – i.e. the expression of the speaker's attitude towards the content of his/her utterance - which have been explored, with a notable emphasis on the relations between past tense and irrealis / epistemicity. Contrarily, the connections between aspect – the way of viewing the internal structure of a situation - and modality are scarcely studied, though the link between certain particular aspectual values (most often the imperfective aspect) and modal meaning have been sporadically pointed in some works. The aim of the proposal is thus to investigate on this new topic, i.e. the aspect-modality interface, from a synchronic and typological perspective. More precisely, we will tackle the capacity of aspectual verbal forms to produce a modal interpretation in six European (Romance and Germanic) languages, namely French, Spanish, Italian, English, German and Dutch. The objective is to account, by means of corpus analysis, for the correspondences between aspect and modality in these languages and to give a panorama of the convergences and the differences that exist both within and between each language family.
Field of science
- /humanities/languages and literature/languages - general
Call for proposal
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