Internal past, external past, and counterfactuality: evidence from Japanese

Naoko Komoto


This paper argues that there are two different types of counterfactuality, which are overtly represented in Japanese by adding the past either to the main verb or to the modal. In one pattern where the modal takes scope over the past, the counterfactuality cannot be canceled. Along the lines of Iatridou’s (2000) and Ogihara’s (2008) analyses, I propose that the past is a modal past and it directly indicates the counterfactuality. In another pattern where the past takes scope over the modal, the counterfactuality can be canceled. Appealing to the ideas provided in Condoravdi 2002 and Ippolito 2003, 2006, I suggest that the past is temporal and it expresses that there was a past time when the proposition could still be true. The accessibility relation is de?ned in the past. The counterfactuality is obtained by the conversational implicature.


past, modal, scope, conditional, counterfactuality

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