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Modality In Complement Clauses After Prepositions

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Chapter Summary

In Earlier Egyptian, the morpho-syntactic organisation of clausal preposition complements is identical to that found after verbs. The forms and constructions used to code the subordinate clauses are the same as in complements of verbs. The use of non-geminating forms for propositions representing low relevance background information is rare after prepositions. Cross-linguistically, counterfactual is the meaning most widely associated with the formal categories of subjunctive and irrealis. In Earlier Egyptian bare geminating and non-geminating forms and their functional counterparts as well as the negations thus occur in preposition complement clauses with definitely irrealis senses. Irrealis modality, which, besides signalling lower speaker commitment, is also a reflection of mitigated relevance of the information communicated can be said to belong to the discourse background. Here most languages tolerate a notably high degree of ambiguity, whereas Earlier Egyptian employs a set of specific negations n/nn, tm and n...is which mark the scope explicitly.

Keywords: complement clauses; Earlier Egyptian grammar; irrealis modality; prepositions; propositions

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