Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 151–196

Intensionality, high applicatives, and aspect: involuntary state constructions in Bulgarian and Slovenian

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11049-008-9059-8

Cite this article as:
Rivero, M.L. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2009) 27: 151. doi:10.1007/s11049-008-9059-8


This paper discusses Bulgarian and Slovenian constructions with a dispositional reading and no apparent dispositional marker, such as Bulgarian Na Ivan mu se raboteše. Such a sentence combines a dative logical subject Ivan with an inflected verb raboteše ‘work’, and roughly corresponds to ‘Ivan was in a working mood’, so does not entail that Ivan worked. I argue that such constructions consist of two core ingredients that account both for their syntactic properties, and for their modal flavor as dispositions. One ingredient is an Imperfective Operator in Viewpoint Aspect as the source of modality. Such an Operator resembles in syntactic and semantic properties both the Progressive Operator in so-called English Futurates such as For two weeks, the Red Sox were playing the Yankees today, and the Spanish modal Imperfecto. The other ingredient is a High Applicative Phrase with an oblique subject, which, other than determining syntactic properties, contributes to a difference in modal flavor with English Futurates. English Futurates denote plans, and a hypothesis is that this is due to their nominative subjects being paired to a presupposition giving them control over the intended event. By contrast, the Slavic constructions in this paper denote dispositions, not plans, because their oblique subjects cannot be paired with a similar presupposition.



Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada