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Sentences as predicates

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Abstract

The construction <muy de + infinitive> is interpreted as a gradable individuallevelpredicate (IL-predicate), compatible with the copula ser but not withthe copula estar. This supports the idea that the ser and estar distinction is aparticular manifestation of Carlson’s (1977) distinction between individualleveland stage-level predicates (SL-predicates). We propose that the habitualreading of the imperfective aspect of the infinitive in this construction is crucialto interpret the non-finite sentence as a characterizing property. Specifically,we distinguish two cases: animate subjects admit copular predicates containinginfinitive sentences with an actualized habitual aspect; inanimate subjects areadmitted in constructions with imperfective predicates interpreted as gnomic ordeontic habituals. We propose two different syntactic structures for each of thesecases and explain the contribution of the preposition de ‘of ’ to the licensing ofthe non-finite clause as a characterizing predicate.

References

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