The Development of the Polarity Subjunctive in Romance Languages
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CitationB-Violette, Laurence. 2019. The Development of the Polarity Subjunctive in Romance Languages. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation proposes a diachronic analysis of the polarity subjunctive from Latin into Modern French. The pattern of the polarity subjunctive in Romance is one where epistemic predicates can license the subjunctive mood rather than the indicative mood in polarity environments, notably under negation, in questions, and in conditional antecedents.
Focussing on the phenomenon in French as a starting point, I present a classification of epistemic triggers for the selection of the polarity subjunctive which is based on their objective and subjec- tive veridicality (Giannakidou & Mari 2015). Within this classification, cognitive-factive predicates (e.g. ‘know’) are observably the first types of predicates which display the pattern of the polarity subjunctive, as early as Vulgar Latin, due to their entailing objective veridicality.
The selection of the polarity subjunctive in Vulgar Latin is in line with the observation that cognitive-factive predicates select the indicative mood in the affirmative across Romance, although Italian and Portuguese can select the subjunctive with other epistemic predicates in the affirmative. Furthermore, ‘remember’ is the only predicate which selects the polarity subjunctive across all Ro- mance languages, being the only acceptable epistemic trigger in Portuguese and one of the only two for Italian.
In Middle French, the other types of epistemic predicates — the verba credendi, notably — adopted and grammaticalized this pattern by the end of the Middle French period. The change occurred before the grammaticalization of est-ce que in questions and the loss of the subjunctive in conditional clauses. This supports the hypothesis that the polarity subjunctive is grammaticalized in Modern French, where est-ce que and if-clauses are incompatible with the subjunctive mood, whereas other question types and conditional antecedents are not, as novel data show.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42029737
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