Immediate-future readings of universal quantifier constructions

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Sentences such as The train may arrive any minute (now) have a special non-universal interpretation. Similar types of sentences exist in Dutch, French, Spanish and elsewhere. I argue that they constitute a special construction, involving a universal quantifier, a temporal noun, optionally a preposition (in some languages), an achievement predicate and a modal context. Other properties are negative: The construction may not be negated, and the temporal noun may not be modified. I discuss the origin of the construction in contexts of expectation, using corpus data from Dutch and English, and describe the semantic change from universally quantified statement to a claim about the immediate-future as a change by which an implicature becomes the main assertion.


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