Seminario permanente de Lingüística Teórica LYCC: "Spanish Inferential and Mirative Futures and Conditionals: A gradable evidential modal proposal"

Por María Luisa Rivero (University of Ottawa)
Sala María Moliner 1F
Resumen: Spanish future and conditional inflectional affixes may display well known inferential readings that Andrés Bello labeled metaphorical in his grammar: Elena ganaría la carrera ayer, in the sense of 'Helen must have won the race yesterday', a present deduction about a past event. They may also display well known readings I will dub 'mirative', which are traditionally known as 'concessive', among other terms: Elena ganaría la carrera ayer, pero no está contenta 'Helen might have won the race yesterday, but she is not satisfied'. I argue that futures and conditional affixes with inferential and mirative readings share a common evidential modal involving a body of indirect information, which the speaker may vouch for or not. This evidential modal contributes to propositional content, can be syntactically and semantically embedded, and interacts with both viewpoint and situation aspect, so does not belong amongst evidentials of an illocutionary type. It is a degree expression that sometimes displays a flavor close to necessity, and other times one that is close to possibility. This makes our modal partially reminiscent of gradable adjectives such as alto 'tall' or probable 'likely'. It displays the flexible anchoring characteristics of predicates of personal taste such as sabroso 'tasty', which in main clauses may be speaker-oriented or not. This makes our modal partially differ from canonical epistemic modals such as deber 'must' and poder 'can', which usually are speaker-oriented in declarative main clauses. Inspired by recent Kratzerian views on evidential modals, I argue that ordering sources and anchoring behavior combine to trigger various levels of confidence in the indirect information, resulting in a variability in force, which may range from certainty/necessity to doubt/possibility in both inferential and mirative futures and conditionals.