First, I quote Givon (2001, Chapter 188.8.131.52, p.303) directly for my question :
184.108.40.206 The reference test for modality
One of the most sensitive cross-linguistic tests for modality involves the referential behavior of NPs under various modal scopes (see Ch. 10). For the purpose of applying this test, the four propositional modalities are grouped into two super-modalities:
- Fact: presupposition and Realis-assertion;
- Non-fact: Irrealis-assertion and Neg-assertion
The general prediction that one can make then is (Givón 1973b):
(40) Reference and propositional modality
- Under the scope of non-fact, NPs can be interpreted as either referring or non-referring.
- Under the scope of fact, NPs can only be interpreted as referring.
Consider the three possible types of nominals that can appear in a predicate-nominal construction:
A. Referring-definite (Ref-Def)
(1) She’s the teacher I told you about yesterday.
B. Referring-indefinite (Ref-Indef)
(2) She’s a teacher I’d like you to meet.
C. Non-referring (Non-Ref)
(3) She’s a teacher. That’s what she does for a living.
The three types of nominal predicates in (1-3) are set in different discourse contexts, respectively:
a. Ref-Def: The referent has already been identified. b. Ref-Indef: The referent is being introduced for the first time. c. Non-Ref: The nominal predicate is not used to refer to a particular individual (token), but rather to describe his/her/its inherent attributes (type).
I think the three example sentences (1-3) are corresponding to Fact modality above. According to explanation of (40), those three example should only be interpreted as referring. However, the author says example (3) indicates non-referring.
Isn't it contradictory to the notion of (40. 2)? or does it mean example (3) isn't Fact modality? I'm confused.
Givon (2001, p.441-442)
10.3.2 Reference and propositional modalities
a. Fact: Presupposition R-assertion (realis) b. Non-fact: IRR-assertion (irrealis) NEG-assertion (negation)
Since human discourse, most particularly everyday face-to-face communication, employ non-fact modalities much less frequently than fact modalities, it is possible to render (40) above more realistically as a markedness expression:
(13) Nominals may be interpreted non-referentially only if they are under the scope of some non-fact modality. Otherwise they must be interpreted referentially.
10.3.2.2 Reference and lexically-inherent modality
(14) a. Fact-realis He has a dog (> a particular dog; Ref) (*> any dog; *Non-Ref) b. Irrealis He wants a dog (> a particular dog; Ref) (> any dog; Non-Ref) c. Negation He lacks a dog (> any dog; Non-Ref) (*a particular dog; *Ref) (15) a. Inherent irrealis verbs want, like, look for, dream of, think of, believe in b. Inherent negative verbs lack, refuse, decline, miss, fail c. Inherent presuppositional verbs know, forget, regret, be happy