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The aspect-modality link in Japanese: The case of the evaluating sentence

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Abstract

In this paper we address the Aspect-Modality Link (AML) as it is observed in Japanese. As a direct comparison between verbal expressions, modal verbs and modal paraphrases does not show a pronounced affinity between aspect and modality, we look elsewhere for occurrences of the AML: We will mainly examine the epistemicity expressed through <i>Handan-bun </i>(‘‘evaluating sentence’’), which interests us for two reasons. On one hand, it has a marked affinity with imperfectivity. On the other hand, it seems that the development of <i>Handanbun</i>, the evaluating type of sentence, runs counter to the received sequel of the grammaticalization of modality, namely the development from deontic usages to epistemic usages. Apart from the AML observed in the evaluating sentence, we discuss another A-M Link phenomenon in Japanese, which is found in the core of the verbal paradigm in Japanese. In both cases, the AML in Japanese is not observed explicitly in terms of proper verbal expressions like modals or modal predicatives, but rather, can be found if we expand the scope of comparison beyond the cardinal verbal categories (aspect, tense, and mood or modality) and take a look over other linguistic means.

References

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