Finiteness and mood

John M. Anderson

in The Substance of Language Volume I

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608317
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732034 | DOI:
Finiteness and mood

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Finiteness is interpreted here as the category licensing potential independence of a predication, and mood is a secondary category that grammaticalizes speech‐act type. As such it is limited to main‐clause finites. Declarative is the prototypical mood, and its prototypical interpretation is as a speech act of assertion; and the indicative construction is the prototypical expression of declarative. The indicative varies in its properties from language to language, but it is likely to attract secondary categories associated with the circumstances of utterance, such as tense and person‐number. Most like indicatives are typically expressions of negative and insistent assertion. The expression of non‐declaratives differs more, though interrogatives, in questioning a potential assertion, are less deviant than non‐propositional moods such as imperatives, hortatives, optatives, etc. The structures of a range of types of mood expression are described. This and the two following chapters illustrate the workings of a notional grammar in this fundamental area of the syntax.

Keywords: finiteness; mood; declarative; indicative; negation; insistence; interrogative; imperative; hortative; optative

Chapter.  15420 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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