Date: March 20, 2012, 11 AM

Location: Research Institute for Linguistics, HAS, Budapest. VI., Benczúr u. 33, auditorium, ground floor


Kensei Sugayama (Kyoto Prefectural University)

The Grammar of Is To: A New Word Grammar Account.


In contemporary English there is a construction instantiated by a sentence in (1).  

(1) That young boy was to become President of the United States.  

I call this construction the is-to construction.  Previous studies have analysed be in this construction in three different ways: (a) modal, (b) 'be + to' analysed as quasi-auxiliary, (c) intermediate between the two, as semi-auxiliary.  

These approaches including the latest Declerck (2010), however, do not give enough evidence to justify their analyses.  In this talk I will argue, contra Declerck (2010), that be in this construction is an instance of modal verb and that 'be + to' is not a lexical (or possibly neither syntactic) unit as is often treated in reference grammars. My argument is within the framework of a theory called New Word Grammar (NWG; Hudson, 2007b, 2007c, 2010), hence called a New Word Grammar account of the problem, and based on the fact that there is solid evidence that there is a syntactic and semantic gap between the two elements.  


Prof. Kensei Sugayama további előadása az ELTÉ-n: