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The Substance of Language Volume IThe Domain of Syntax$
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John M. Anderson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608317

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608317.001.0001

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Finiteness and mood

Finiteness and mood

(p.234) (p.235) 6 Finiteness and mood
The Substance of Language Volume I

John M. Anderson

Oxford University Press

Finiteness is interpreted here as the category licensing potential independence of a predication, and mood is a secondary category that grammaticalizes speech‐act type. As such it is limited to main‐clause finites. Declarative is the prototypical mood, and its prototypical interpretation is as a speech act of assertion; and the indicative construction is the prototypical expression of declarative. The indicative varies in its properties from language to language, but it is likely to attract secondary categories associated with the circumstances of utterance, such as tense and person‐number. Most like indicatives are typically expressions of negative and insistent assertion. The expression of non‐declaratives differs more, though interrogatives, in questioning a potential assertion, are less deviant than non‐propositional moods such as imperatives, hortatives, optatives, etc. The structures of a range of types of mood expression are described. This and the two following chapters illustrate the workings of a notional grammar in this fundamental area of the syntax.

Keywords:   finiteness, mood, declarative, indicative, negation, insistence, interrogative, imperative, hortative, optative

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