A new case of low modality: Goal PPs*

Fabienne Martin, Margaret Grant, Christopher Piñón, Florian Schäfer

Abstract


This paper provides experimental evidence from German and English against the view that a goal to/zu-PP in combination with a motion verb designates a goal that is reached. We propose that to/zu have a modal meaning, responsible for the defeasibility of the inference that the goal is reached. We argue that the type of subjects (intentional agent vs. accidental agent or theme) determines the flavor of the (necessity) modal encoded by the preposition (teleological or circumstantial), which allows us to account for the observed variation in the strength of the inference with the type of subjects and the type of verbs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v30i0.4836

Copyright (c) 2021 Fabienne Martin, Margaret Grant, Christopher Piñón, Florian Schäfer