Article published in:Modal Verbs in Germanic and Romance Languages
Edited by Johan van der Auwera and Patrick Dendale
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 14] 2000
► pp. 149–165
The Syntax of putea and its Mixed Typology
Abstract. This paper investigates the syntax of the Romanian modal putea, which exhibits two selectional options in free alternation: an infinitive complement, as in equivalent Romance constructions, and a subjunctive complement, as in equivalent Balkan constructions. The tests show that both derivations qualify as configurations with clause union, although the syntactic mechanism for achieving the clause union may differ: subjunctive complements conform to the tense triggered pattern for biclausal union, as generally accepted in current studies; whereas bare infinitive complements reveal a parallel pattern yielding monoclausal structures ("tight" verb restructuring). The uniform treatment of modal constructions as configurations with verb restructuring demonstrates that the lexical properties of the modal verb remain constant across the syntactic variation, and this reduces the typological differences between Romance and Balkan languages.
Published online: 21 January 2011