Truth and Veridicality in Grammar and Thought Mood, Modality, and Propositional Attitudes
by Anastasia Giannakidou and Alda Mari
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-226-76320-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-76334-7 | Electronic: 978-0-226-76348-4
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226763484.001.0001


Can language directly access what is true, or is the truth judgment affected by the subjective, perhaps even solipsistic, constructs of reality built by the speakers of that language? The construction of such subjective representations is known as veridicality, and in this book Anastasia Giannakidou and Alda Mari deftly address the interaction between truth and veridicality in the grammatical phenomena of mood choice: the indicative and subjunctive choice in the complements of modal expressions and propositional attitude verbs.

Combining several strands of analysis—formal linguistic semantics, syntactic theory, modal logic, and philosophy of language—Giannakidou and Mari’s theory not only enriches the analysis of linguistic modality, but also offers a unified perspective of modals and propositional attitudes. Their synthesis covers mood, modality, and attitude verbs in Greek and Romance languages, while also offering broader applications for languages lacking systematic mood distinction, such as English. Truth and Veridicality in Grammar and Thought promises to shape longstanding conversations in formal semantics, pragmatics, and philosophy of language, among other areas of linguistics.


Anastasia Giannakidou is the Frank J. McLoraine professor of linguistics at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Polarity Sensitivity as Nonveridical Dependency and coeditor, inter alia, of Mood, Aspect, Modality Revisited, also published by the University of Chicago Press. Alda Mari is CNRS Director of Research at Institut Jean Nicod at Ecole Normale Supérieure, EHESS and PSL, in Paris. She is the author of two books in French and the coeditor of Genericity.


“This extended study of the semantics of mood is rich with insight and empirical detail. Giannakidou and Mari have made an important contribution to the literature on the topic.”
— Paul Portner, Georgetown University

Truth and Veridicality in Grammar and Thought undertakes a challenging task—to offer a unified analysis of a range of linguistic phenomena that belong to the domain of epistemic modality. Giannakidou and Mari offer an explanation for the interaction of modal and temporal categories. This book makes several theoretical and empirical contributions to the field, and the result is an important milestone in the literature on modality.”
— Anastasia Smirnova, San Francisco State University

“Giannakidou and Mari’s book will be a valuable contribution to the formalization of mood and modality. The scholarship is perfectly sound, and the result is impressive. The main originality of the book is how it handles the various parameters at play, which is novel and stimulating.”
— Louis de Saussure, University of Neuchâtel




1.1 What This Book Is About

1.2 Truth and Veridicality

1.3 Mood Selection in Complement Clauses: The Basic Pattern

1.4 Mood Flexibility

1.5 What Regulates Mood Choice?

1.6 Road Map

2.1 Veridical Commitment

2.2 The Framework: Objective and Subjective Veridicality

2.3 Modal Operators and the Subjunctive: Possibility

2.4 Epistemic Necessity: Nonveridicality with Bias

2.5 Necessity Modals and Positive Polarity

2.6 Conclusion: Nonveridicality, Modalization, and Bias

3.1 Greek Subjunctive in Main and Embedded Clauses

3.2 Morphological and Semantic Tenses in Greek

3.3 The Semantic NONPAST: Future Orientation

3.4 The Subjunctive and NONPAST

3.5 Subjunctive with a Lower PAST

3.6 Syntax-Semantics of Tense and Mood in Italian

3.7 Temporal Constraints Imposed by the Selecting Verb

3.8 Conclusions

Chapter 4. Solipsistic and Suppositional Belief

4.1 Veridical Belief and Doxastic Commitment

4.2 Solipsistic Doxastic Commitment: The Indicative

4.3 Suppositional Belief and the Subjunctive

4.4 More Flexible Doxastics: Memory, Semblance, Perception

4.5 The Update Functions of Mood Morphemes

4.6 Conclusions

Chapter 5. Bouletic Attitudes: Volition, Hope, Promising, and Persuasion

5.1 Introduction

5.2 WANT: Bouletic Commitment, Antifactivity

5.3 Hoping

5.4 Promising

5.5 Attitudes of Persuasion

5.6 Verbs of Assertion

5.7 The (Non)veridicality Theory of Mood Selection

Chapter 6. Ability Modals, Temporality, and Implicatives

6.1 Core Patterns of Ability Modals and Implicatives

6.2 Ability Modality

6.3 The Actuality Entailment: Previous Accounts

6.4 New Account: Actualizing ABLE Is Scoping below PAST

6.5 Implicative Verbs and the Choice of Infinitive, Subjunctive

6.6 Conclusions

Chapter 7. Propositional Attitudes of Emotion: Gradability and Nonveridicality

7.1 Introduction: The Puzzles of Emotion Attitudes

7.2 The Veridical Presupposition of Emotive Attitudes

7.3 Gradability, Emotiveness, and Nonveridicality

7.4 Attitudes of Awareness

7.5 Presuppositional Indicative Complementizer pu

7.6 Attitudes of Fear

7.7 Conclusions

8.1 What We Found

8.2 Veridical and Nonveridical Stance

8.3 Mood Choice

8.4 What Mood Flexibility Tells Us

8.5 Anchoring, (Non)veridicality, and Informativity