`Point of View' and Phrase Structure

by Taisuke Nishigauchi

The purpose of this short note is to present some phenomena which suggest the existence of a functional category which is motivated by point of view (POV) of discourse-participants, most notably the speaker/addressee, and topic of the discourse. The discussion centers on the behavior of the auxiliary V te simaw, which has both aspectual and modal uses. Focusing on the modal use of this element, we suggest that this element occupies the head position of the projection ModP, whose Spec position hosts a POV-holder. This latter position is usually occupied by an empty category that is bound most typically by the speaker, but it can also be occupied by a wa-marked NP. This discussion leads to an observation of the very subtle ambiguity involving the interpretation of wa-marked NPs.

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