Anna Daugavet

St Petersburg State University


On subjects of necessity verbs in Latvian:

A corpus-based study of the debitive vs vajadzēt


The analysis of data extracted from the Balanced Corpus of Modern Latvian reveals that the non-modal variant of vajadzēt is mostly used with pronouns, especially those referring to the speaker. The modal variant of vajadzēt, on the contrary, is similar to the debitive in that the majority of their dative subjects are non-participants of the speech act, mostly represented by substantives which can be not only animate but also inani-mate. In those cases where the modal vajadzēt and the debitive have the speaker as their subjects, they are more likely to receive dynamic meaning. If the subject corresponds to the addressee or non-participants of the speech act, the most frequent interpretation is a deontic one. Epistemic meaning is relatively more common with the modal vajadzēt than with the debitive irrespective of the subject type.



Keywords: Latvian, necessitive modality, deontic modality, dynamic modality, subject, animacy.