In a recent series of papers, Birner, Kaplan, and Ward (Birner, Kaplan & Ward 2007; Ward, Kaplan & Birner 2007; Ward, Birner & Kaplan 2003) have argued that copular sentences of the form That would be XP as in (1) are equative clauses with a referential subject (Heycock & Kroch 1997) and a focus-functional modal operator (Rooth 1985, 1992; Beaver & Clark 2003): At issue is the correct overall syntactic and semantic analysis of such sentences and, in particular, the semantic-pragmatic status of the subject demonstrative pronoun (that), the epistemic modal (would), and the postverbal constituent. In this paper, I review the analysis of Birner, Kaplan, and Ward (henceforth BK&W) and then compare it to a competing analysis (Mikkelsen 2004, 2007) in which copular sentences are analyzed as specificational rather than equative (Higgins 1979). I then provide additional evidence in favor of the BK&W analysis by reporting on a series of empirical prosodic studies that were conducted in collaboration with Julia Hirschberg and colleagues at Columbia University (Gravano et al. in press).
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Proceedings from the Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society|
|Publisher||Chicago Linguistic Society|
|Number of pages||25|
|State||Published - 2008|