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Modality In Affirmative Subject Complement Clauses

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Chapter Summary

If object complementation can justly be said to represent a little-explored area of Earlier Egyptian grammar, the same characterization has the flavor of an understatement when subject complements are at issue. However, subject complement clauses are most interesting from the perspective of semantic-pragmatics and realis/irrealis modality. In sentences with clausal objects the modality of the subordinate clause is, as seen, dependent of the attitudes, evaluation and perspective of the real speaker. In many modern languages the choice of irrealis for subject complements is thus based on the by now familiar motives for non-assertion: lack of speaker commitment and redundancy of the information in the current discourse context. In these languages, one of the most common employments of sentences with subject complement is in expression of epistemic judgements with verbs. Many Earlier Egyptian auxiliaries may thus represent former kinetic verbs with subject complement clauses.

Keywords: Earlier Egyptian grammar; irrealis modality; modern languages; object complementation; subject complement clauses



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