Proceedings of SALT 26 ()

Authors
Alda Mari
Institut Jean Nicod
Abstract
Italian is a well-known exception to the cross-linguistic generalization according to which `belief' predicates are indicative selectors across languages. We newly propose that languages that select the subjunctive with epistemic predicates allow us to see a systematic polysemy between what we call an expressive-`belief' (featuring only a doxastic dimension) and an inquisitive-`belief' (featuring both a doxastic and an epistemic dimension conveying doxastic certainty (in the assertion) and epistemic uncertainty (in the presupposition)). We offer several previously unseen contrasts proving this distinction and offer a new analysis for mood choice cross-linguistically. We argue that the distinction between expressive and inquisitive attitudes is not an idiosyncrasy of non-factive epistemics. We provide novel data, showing that fictional predicates (dream, imagine) license the subjunctive. We explain the indicative/subjunctive alternation by again appealing to epistemic uncertainty and disentangling expressive from inquisitive-fictional meanings. We thus pave the way for a new typology of attitudes relying on this systematic polysemy and propose new criteria to explain mood distribution cross-linguistically.
Keywords Belief  Subjunctive  Fictional predicates  Mood
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Must . . . Stay . . . Strong!Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (4):351-383.

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