Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238


The Spanish verbs ‘to threaten’ and ‘to promise’ do not only have a lexical reading but can also yield a subjective one, whereby the likelihood of the event expressed in the infinitive receives a negative, resp. a positive, evaluation. Three hypotheses are being tested: 1) as an outcome of the illocutionary force and the subject commitment attached to lexical the subjective readings of the latter may be expected to score high on the probability scale, whereas the event introduced by subjective will score low, in line with the lack of illocutionary force and weak subject commitment in lexical reading of this verb. 2) The viewpoint substantiated by the two verbs also differs: Whereas renders an event-oriented evidential reading from an internal point of view, projects an external viewpoint leading to a more speaker-oriented subjective reading. 3) As a result of (1) and (2), should easily combine with negatively oriented complements, whereas should resist taking positively oriented ones. The corpus research fully corroborates the first two hypotheses. The data, however, fail to unequivocally sustain the third one, especially because displays more flexibility than expected.


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