The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 3/16 - Aynat Rubinstein (HUJI)

Speaker: Aynat Rubinstein (HUJI)
Title: Mood in relative clauses: on goal-orientation and choice
Time: Wednesday, March 16th, 1pm – 2pm

Abstract: This talk presents recent work by Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Paula Menéndez-Benito, and myself, about the distribution and interpretation of mood in relative clauses in Spanish. Relative clauses present a challenge for theories of mood semantics, which have largely been designed to account for subjunctive/indicative selection in the complements of attitude verbs (Farkas 1985; Giorgi and Pianesi 1997; Giannakidou 1997; Quer 1998, 2021; Villalta 2006; Portner 2018). In relative-clause objects of extensional verbs there is no obvious source for the modality. We propose that a unified analysis is nevertheless possible, putting together two lines of research: the analysis of mood as a modal operator (Kratzer 2016; Mari and Portner to appear; Portner and Rubinstein 2020) and the analysis of modal indefinites as projecting modal domains from volitional events (Alonso-Ovalle and Menéndez-Benito 2017). Our investigation leads us to new observations about the licensing of subjunctive mood in Spanish relative clauses and to a better understanding of what may broadly be called goal-oriented modality.