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Norwegian modalsKristin M. Eide

Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor Artium Department of Linguistics Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Trondheim

AcknowledgementsFirst and foremost, I want to express my love and gratitude to Hans, my loving spouse through eighteen years, the light of my life, and the caring father of our three sons. Thank you, Hans, nobody knows what I owe to you. My three sons, Jon Gunnar, Thomas and Einar, thanks for your love and support, for the countless cups of coffee you have made for your mother throughout these years, for your mere existence. You are my anchors to reality, my reminders of what is really important. My supervisors, Torbjrn Nordgrd and Tor A. farli, I am grateful for your believing in my talent, for your encouragement and support, for being critical and demanding; in short, for your determination to make me a linguist, no matter the costs. My special thanks to Tor for the number of papers and projects we have written together. I am not sure you understand what it means for an (at that time) undergraduate student to be given the opportunity to present papers before an audience at an international conference, to be taken seriously as a linguist already at that stage. I will always be grateful for your support, for our heated discussions, and for your friendship. Inghild (Flaate). What can I say? You make it fun to be a linguist, you are a dear friend and a challenging co-author. With your German-like thoroughness, you are never satisfied with any solution until it answers all the questions. For all our discussions, for your friendship, for all the fun we have had so far (I trust there will be more!): A big hug and my sincere gratitude. Marit Kalland Heyler deserves a biiig hug for helping me keep my sanity (give or take) in times when the going gets though. Thank you, Marit, for your support, for your friendship, for your wisdom and understanding, for your critical comments when necessary, for our intellectual discussions over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. If only you and I had ruled the world...well, a lot of things would be very different! Hilde Sollid (formerly Nilsen), Thanks for being a true friend, for faithfully leading my cheering section, ever since we met in 1991. You opened up a new world of companionship and friendship, from the time we studied old Norse together and formed a study group with Bjrn and Jon Morten. My first experiences as a student would have been totally different (and a lot less fruitful) without you guys. Thanks.


My thanks also to Gregory Norman Carlson, for numerous discussions (especially by phone), for highly relevant literature, for your encouragement, for your interest, and most of all, for your friendship. Thanks to Norbert Hornstein for reading the chapter on the argument structure of Norwegian modals (including the presentation of his own work), for comments and questions, for interest and encouragement. My gratitude to numerous linguists who have been willing to discuss various issues with me, by e-mail, at conferences, and elsewhere; I want to mention especially Lars G. Johnsen, Marit Julien, Sten Vikner, Helge Dyvik, Helge Ldrup, Caroline Heycock, Tim Stowell, Jhanna Bardal, Jhannes Gsli Jnsson and Christer Platzack. I am also grateful to Elisabeth Engdahl who invited me to present a paper at the NordSem meeting in August last year. It was an educational experience. Also, thanks Elisabeth, for taking the time to discuss Scandinavian modals with me. I want to thank the people at the Linguistics Department, NTNU, who adopted me from the Department of Scandinavian Languages and Literature. For lunches and discussions, I want to thank especially Kaja Borthen, Jostein Ven, Jrn Almberg, Kristian Skarb, Jardar Eggesb Abrahamsen and Petter Haugereid. Herbert Ptz, Sturla Hyem and Inge Arnesen at The German Department, NTNU: It is always interesting talking to you guys! Herbert Ptz, thanks for always sharing your thoughts and comments; Sturla Hyem: Thanks for teaching the class on German modals and other auxiliaries spring term of 1994. It turned out to be decisive. Torbjrn Svendsen, thanks for being an excellent boss; thanks also for finding the money that made it possible for me to attend the GLOW Summerschool in Linguistics, Thermi, Lesbos in the summer of 1999. My gratitude to Bjrn Johan Hellem for proof-reading the manuscript; you are a lifesaver! Thanks! To all my friends, family and neighbours, who have been tormented by an avalanche of sentences and questions on grammaticality judgements; in short, to all those who have been shamelessly abused as informants without their consent, Thank you all. I want to dedicate this dissertation to my mother Sylva and my late father Gunnar. I always wanted to make you proud.



Contents___________________________________________________________________________ Acknowledgements i

Chapter 1___________________________________________________________________________

Introduction1.1. 1.2. 1.3. Subject The framework The data 1 4 6

Chapter 2___________________________________________________________________________ A theory-neutral description of Norwegian modals 8 2.1. Morphological characteristics 9 2.2. Semantic characteristics 14 2.2.1. A discussion of semantic properties of modals 14 2.2.2. The semantic properties of Norwegian modals 18 2.3. Syntactic characteristics 22 2.3.1. Complements of Norwegian modals 24 2.3.2. Modals and tags 28 2.3.3. Summing up our findings so far 35 2.4. Summary and revised inventory 36 2.4.1. Examining our results 36 2.4.2. Three potential candidates 38 2.4.3. Revised inventory 44

Chapter 3___________________________________________________________________________ A survey of recent proposals 46 3.1. Some central notions 46 3.1.1. Theta roles 46 3.1.2. Functional projections 50 3.2. Some earlier proposals 55 3.2.1. Roberts (1985) 56 3.2.2. Roberts (1993) 60 3.2.3. Roberts and Roussou (2000) 63 3.2.4. Cinque (1999) 66 3.2.5. Vikner (1988) 71 3.2.6. Thrinsson and Vikner (1995) 74 3.2.7. Barbiers (1995, 1999) 81 3.2.8. Ldrup (1996) 91 3.2.9. Dyvik (1999) 95 3.2.10. Wurmbrand (1999) 98 3.2.11. Picallo (1990) 102 3.3. Modals and Theta roles 105 3.4. Insertion point of root vs. epistemic modals 107

Chapter 4___________________________________________________________________________ The argument structure of Norwegian modals 108 4.1. The "Control versus Raising" analysis 110 4.2. Modals in pseudoclefts 122 4.2.1. Subject- orientedness and Theta-roles 130 4.2.2. The pseudocleft construction 137 4.2.3. Modals and subject scope 141 4.2.4. Competing for subject positions: Theta-relations vs. subject scope 155 The argument from nobody/somebody 155 The argument from some/every 157 The argument from the ambiguity of indefinites 158 4.2.5. Are Theta-roles encoded in subject-positions? 167 4.2.6. Raising verbs and pseudoclefts 174 4.3. Reanalysis verbs 176 4.4. Hornstein (1998, 1999, 2000) 181 4.5. Optional and obligatory Theta-assigners 187 4.6. The source of modality: Conceptual Structure vs. Semantic Form 198 4.7. Summing up 215

Chapter 5___________________________________________________________________________ How modals interact with other categories 216 5.1. The Language Bioprogram and other Universalist hypotheses 217 5.1.1. farli (1995): Modal and aspectual auxiliaries and TMA markers 222 5.2. Modals and aspectuals: readings and scope 229 5.2.1. A recursive category Aspect in Mainland Scandinavian? 235 5.3. The aspectual and temporal properties of the complement 239 5.3.1. The event-state distinction 241 5.3.2. Selectional requirements of Norwegian modals 242 Directional small clauses 246 The perfect 247 The progressive 248 The iterative 249 Why selectional requirements are insufficient 251 5.3.3. Some essential properties of the Norwegain tense system 257 Julien (2000a, 2001) 257 A different approach 262 More on the temporal function of ha 282 5.4. The tense of modals 287 5.4.1. The relative ordering of modals and tense 287 5.4.2. Sequence-of-tenses 295 5.4.3. Modals and finiteness 303 5.5. Modals and negation 311 5.5.1. The data 311 5.5.2. The analysis 315 5.6. Summing up 322

Chapter 6___________________________________________________________________________ Conclusions 224



1 Introduction1.1 Subject

The subject of this dissertation is Norwegian modal verbs, modal auxiliaries or, if one prefers, simply modals. The term modals will be employed in this dissertation, since this term, unlike the other two, is not inherently encumbered with theoretical assumptions about the categorical status of these linguistic elements. There exists a comprehensive literature on modal verbs in Germanic languages. This literature covers a vast array of topics associated with these verbs, and as it seems, the debate never fades. Some of the topics of this debate have been around, literally, for centuries (cf. e.g. hlschlger 1989:19 ff and the references therein); reinvented, rephrased and reinvoked by every new generation of linguists and philosophers. It follows that no contemporary work on Germanic modals can claim with any hope of credibility to cover all and every facet of this debate; at best, one may strive to shed some light on certain selected aspects of this discussion. My specific selection of topics for scrutiny is influenced by a number of factors, but most of all, I have selected topics that I myself find interesting. Thus, the two main topics of this dissertation is the argument structure of Norwegian modals and their possible insertion points in a syntactic structure. The argument structure of Norwegian modals is the topic of chapter 4, wherea