UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 14 (2002)

Mood in relevance theory: a re-analysis focusing on the Spanish subjunctive



Accounts of non-interrogative mood in relevance theory have standardly assumed that what is encoded by these forms is information concerning the type of world they represent: actual, possible or potential. This paper highlights some problems with this view when it is applied to the indicative-subjunctive contrast in Spanish. An alternative account is proposed which makes use of a distinction, already present in relevance theory, between assumptions presented as relevant in their own right and those which serve to facilitate the processing of the utterance. A comparison with other accounts of the indicative/subjunctive contrast in Spanish is then made and broader implications for relevance theory are discussed.

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