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The Indicative and Subjunctive da-complements in Serbian: A Syntactic-Semantic Approach

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Nataša Todorović

This study analyzes the indicative and subjunctive da-complements in the Serbian language while comparing and contrasting them with similar finite constructions in other Slavic and Balkan languages. In complex structures, semantic properties of the matrix verb, homophonous da, and aspectual and tense properties of the embedded verb all contribute to interpretations of the morphologically unmarked subjunctive and indicative moods in the Serbian language. Merging Giannakidou’s theory of mood and veridicality with Progovac’s clausal structure, the author suggests that the choice of the indicative or subjunctive complement determines negation interpretation and implies that clitics in Serbian are not always restricted to the second position.
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4. Semantic Restrictions In The Indicative and Subjunctive Da-Complements: An Empirical Overview

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4.1 Introduction

This chapter closely examines research data, particularly, da-constructions in control environments of verbs that commonly select for indicative and subjunctive complements. Many verbs that allow for infinitival complementation allow for da-complementation as well, and the choice of the complement is frequently alterable in Serbian. However, alternation between an infinitival or da-complement is not always possible as an infinitive in many cases cannot replace a da-complement. For instance, infinitives cannot replace all da-complements of veridical indicative-selecting verbs. Because of the obvious disparity between infinitival and da-complementation, syntactic and semantic proposals for infinitival complements should not be automatically applicable and acceptable as the right syntactic and semantic proposals for da-complements just because both types of complementation are possible in a number of (but not all) identical environments. In other words, I suggest that these two different complements should not be viewed as identical. Although the question of infinitival complementation in control constructions is nonetheless interesting and puzzling, it falls outside of the scope of this project; as a result, subsequent section of this chapter mainly focus on investigating da-complements.

The following tests of aspect, tense restrictions, negation, licensing of negative polarity items and clitic placement account for the differences between da-constructions that serve as complements to indicative-selecting verbs and da-constructions that serve as complements to subjunctive-selecting verbs. Each test further highlights syntactic and semantic differences between the subjunctive and indicative da. As many of my proposals are based on theories of tense, aspect, mood,...

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