Actuality Entailments in French: A Case of Aspectual Coercion
Vincent Homer
June 2010

In French, when a root modal appears in the perfective (in a positive matrix clause), the truth of its complement in the actual world can be inferred. This is what is traditionally called an actuality entailment (AE) (Bhatt 1999, Hacquard 2006). Although the perfective is indeed necessary, this rule is both too strong (AEs are triggered even when the predicate is not a modal) and too weak (the perfective doesn't suffice). This paper shows that root modals are stative predicates of eventualities: as such they need to be coerced, i.e. turned into bounded predicates, to fit under the perfective. AEs with root modals instantiate a hitherto undocumented kind of aspectual coercion (labeled actualistic), which, like other kinds of coercion, targets modal as well as non-modal stative predicates; the outcome of this form of coercion is the assertion of the existence of some pragmatically salient event.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001058
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of WCCFL 28
keywords: actuality entailment, modal, aspect, perfective, coercion, french, syntax, semantics
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