The Syntax of the Double Modal Construction

Edwin L. Battistella


This paper looks at a problem in syntactic -variation, the syntax of the so-called double modal constructions in Southern United States English. Its purpose is to clarify the analysis of DMs and to consider its implications for some current proposals concerning adverbials and negation. The framework of the analysis presupposes that grammars have a core and a periphery, and the analysis attempts to account for both relevant syntactic properties of DMs and their idiosyncratic nature by treating the extra ('spurious') modal as licensed by an extension of the mechanism that licenses adverbs. In addition, the analysis supports C. L. Baker's view that the ordering of negatives is part of the periphery by extending Baker's analysis to DM constructions.

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