Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8706
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8714
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This work investigates the division of labor between mood and illocutionary force in syntax by examining three modal construals encoded by the speaker-oriented adverb ‘best’ (deontic, epistemic and evidential) in Mandarin, and accounts for a cluster of syntactic and pragmatic properties it is associated with. Very much in line with Tsai’s (2015a2015b and 2015d) modal system in Mandarin, it is observed that each type of can co-occur with its matching modal auxiliary in the fashion of Cinque’s (1999) ‘location-in-Spec’ hypothesis and encodes a certain type of illocutionary force. One persistent question is how substantiates illocutionary force in syntax, while its designated position is not situated in the licensing domain of ForceP. As far as the left periphery is concerned, this work argues for a conspiracy between syntax, semantics and pragmatics to ensure the success in activating the Bidirectional Agree relation between speech act, force and mood. We argue for a speech act layer (Sa*P) externally merging to CP (Speas and Tenny, 2003), whose head values the uninterpretable speech act feature [Sa] on Force0 via the Bidirectional Agree to trigger its interface with the utterance content (CP). Meanwhile, following Kempchinsky’s (2009) idea, it is further argued in this work that Force0 hosts the uninterpretable feature [W] which has to be checked and valued by the modal construals of to determine the irrealis-realis mood. An immediate implication is that ForceP serves as a gateway to not only mood but also speech act at the interface. Several issues involved in dealing with are discussed.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): cartography; illocutionary force; mood prominence; syntax-pragmatics interface
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