This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Friday, April 9th at 2:30pm. Martina Martinović will be presenting joint work with Dr. Ryan Bochnak (UBC).

Flavours of the future: The case of Wolof di

The auxiliary di in Wolof (Niger-Congo) is associated with several readings: an event-in-progress/progressive reading, a habitual reading, and a future reading. Interestingly, the availability of these readings depends on di’s structural position: when it is below C, all readings are available, but when it is in C, only the future reading is possible. We provide a unified analysis of the readings of di by combining and expanding on several independently motivated analyses for progressives, habituals, and modality. We propose that the behaviour of Wolof di provides new evidence for the idea that modal height correlates with modal flavour (Hacquard 2010, Kush 2011), specifically, that different modal bases are available at different syntactic heights because of the availability of different types of modal anchors. Progressives and habituals crucially involve event-relative circumstantial modality (Portner 1998, Ferreira 2016), and futures are derived from either a circumstantial or epistemic modal base (and give rise to different readings).