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Remarks on Epistemic modality in Brazilian Portuguese

Roberta Pires de Oliveira


The paper claims that Brazilian Portuguese past imperfective morphology, represented by /-ia/, in epistemic modal verbs, tinha que/devia/podia EPISTEMIC, is underdetermined, in particular it allows a "past perspective". However, the past perspective is not a temporal projection that scopes over the epistemic modal (Rullmann & Matthewson, 2018 ), nor a covert belive that (Hacquard, 2006, Viana Mendes, 2019), but an effect of the semantics of modal verbs and the past imperfective morphology. Modal verbs search for an anchor (KRATZER, 2018). The semantics of past imperfective allows two anchor situations: the past situation, s<s0, and the speech situation, s0; present imperfective - deve/pode/temque - has only one anchor situation: the speech situation,s0. The paper explores the double reading of the past imperfective morphology. It is is an exercise into Kratzer’ lecture (2018). The anchor in the past situation shifts the context of evaluation to the past. It seems to be a monster. The orientation is present with respect to the shifted context. If s0, the actual situation,  is targeted by the modal, the perspective is present and the orientation is past (in line with Ferreira, 2018). There are contexts where it is possible to distinguish the two readings. Evidential contexts support the proposal. 


modal, anchor, epistemics, monsters

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