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Subjunctive mood across languages: Syntax, semantics and distribution

Applicant Socanac Tomislav
Number 178040
Funding scheme Early Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Dipartimento di Studi Linguistici e Culturali Comparati Universita Ca'Foscari Venezia
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Romance languages and literature
Start/End 01.01.2018 - 30.06.2019
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Romance languages and literature
Other languages and literature

Keywords (7)

Subjunctive; Mood; Modality; Clausal complementation; Syntax; Semantics; Syntax-semantics interface

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les modes grammaticaux (indicatif, subjonctif, impératif etc.) expriment la façon dont les locuteurs conçoivent le contenu propositionnel d’une phrase. Le subjonctif en particulier est typiquement utilisé pour exprimer des propositions non-réalisées, mais les contributions sémantiques liées à ce mode ne se limitent pas seulement à des interprétations de ce type, d’où la difficulté du sujet.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche
L’objectif principal du projet sera de discerner les traits essentiels du subjonctif qui caractérisent ce mode à travers les langues. Dans un premier temps, il s’agira de déterminer si l’analyse que j’ai développée dans ma thèse doctorale, dont le sujet était le mode subjonctif en langues slaves, peut être appliquée à d’autres familles linguistiques, ce qui nécessitera une étude détaillée des phrases contenant le subjonctif dans différentes langues. L’étude qui sera menée dans ce cadre permettra, dans un deuxième temps, d’établir une approche théorique plus pointue capable d’expliquer les différentes manifestations du mode subjonctif à travers des langues en faisant référence à des principes linguistiques communs. Dans un troisième temps, cette approche raffinée servira de base pour une étude plus large du mode grammatical en général, et de sa relation avec d’autres catégories linguistiques, tels que le temps ou l’aspect.

Contexte scientifique du projet de recherche
La recherche que je mènerai dans le cadre du projet sera basée sur des concepts et des méthodes propres à la grammaire générative, une perspective linguistique établie par Chomsky. Cette approche théorique a beaucoup contribué à notre compréhension des phénomènes grammaticaux, mais le domaine du mode n’a pas été suffisamment étudié dans ce cadre, d’où l’importance de mon projet.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 13.12.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Subjunctive complements in Slavic and Romance: A comparative perspective
SocanacTomislav (2019), Subjunctive complements in Slavic and Romance: A comparative perspective, in Nistratova Svetlana, Krapova Iliyana, Ruvoletto Luisa (ed.), Edizioni Ca'Foscari , Venice, Italy, 531-549.
Balkan subjunctive distribution: World semantics and default selection
SocanacTomislav (2018), Balkan subjunctive distribution: World semantics and default selection, Linguistics Department, Geneva University, Geneva, Switzerland.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Slavic Linguistics Society conference Talk given at a conference The syntax of factivity in Bulgarian and Serbian/Croatian 11.09.2019 Potsdam, Germany Socanac Tomislav;
Slavic Linguistics Society conference Talk given at a conference Subjunctive complements in South Slavic languages: A cartographic analysis 28.09.2018 Eugene, Oregon, United States of America Socanac Tomislav;
VII Convegno di linguistica slava Talk given at a conference Slavic subjunctive 20.09.2018 Venice, Italy Socanac Tomislav;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
126861 Une étude comparative des propriétés syntaxiques du subjonctif 01.02.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
145670 Subjunctive in Slavic Languages 01.02.2013 Fellowships for prospective researchers

Abstract

The research project that I will develop deals with the subject of subjunctive mood, with a particular focus on the semantic and syntactic properties of clauses that feature this mood category across languages. The original motivation behind my study of this topic had to do with the fact that subjunctive (as well as mood in general) has not received sufficient attention in theoretical linguistic literature, so the overall goal of my research is to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge pertaining to this domain of grammar. The current project builds upon and refines the analysis that I developed within the scope of my doctoral studies, which focused specifically on the subjunctive mood in Slavic languages. The research I undertook in that context culminated in a number of theoretical generalizations regarding Slavic subjunctive, which will serve as the starting point for the more extensive study of subjunctive mood that will be developed during the current project. On the one hand, I will assess the broader cross-linguistic applicability of the main theoretical claims that were reached on the basis of my study of Slavic subjunctive; on the other hand, I will develop a finer study of the syntactic and the semantic properties of subjunctive clauses, which should account both for the similarities as well as the contrasts that they exhibit across languages. The refined analysis that I plan to reach in this context will then be used, during the latter part of the project, in order to lay the groundwork for a more wide-ranging research into the grammar of mood, and its relation to other grammatical domains, such as tense and aspect. An in-depth study of these issues will contribute to our understanding of the way in which grammar is organized, both from a language-specific and from a cross-linguistic perspective.
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