Deriving the readings of French être en train de
French <i>être en train de </i>(<i>êetd, </i>lit. ‘be.inf in the midst of’), generally considered to be the French progressive, has a reading in which the speaker expresses a negative attitude toward the described event. However, not all readings have this expressive meaning. Curiously, the “neutral” reading is not always felicitous. We consider and reject possible analyses in which the expressive meaning arises due to Gricean inference or due to there being two lexical entries for <i>êetd. </i>We propose that, like ordinary progressives (Portner, 1998), <i>êetd </i>has a modal at-issue meaning with a circumstantial modal base and a stereotypical ordering source. In addition, we argue, it has a modal conventional implicature with either a stereotypical or a bouletic ordering source. In this way we account for the behavior of <i>êetd</i>, and raise certain questions as to how conventional implicatures might be related to grammaticalization of aspect.