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The Problem of the Compound Verbal Predicate with Semi-Auxiliary Modals in the Contemporary Romanian Language

Author: Zgârcibabă Elena
Degree:doctor of philology
Speciality: 10.02.01 - Romanian Language
Scientific adviser: Anatol Ciobanu
doctor habilitat, professor, Moldova State University
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 21 November, 2008
Approved by NCAA on the 26 February, 2009


Adobe PDF document0.43 Mb / in romanian


CZU 811.135.1’ 367.332.7(043.3)

Adobe PDF document 0.98 Mb / in romanian
157 pages


Modal, verb, predicate, compound verbal predicate, modal meaning, semi-auxiliary modal verb, main verb, semi-auxiliary verbs, lexico-grammatical means, modal verb, latent modal meaning, support verb, verbal periphrases, contextual modals, possibility, necessity, desire, obligation, capacity, decision, appearance, semantico-functional micro fields, semantic autonomy, functional autonomy.


The present paper “The Problem of the Compound Verbal Predicate with Semi-Auxiliary Modals in the Contemporary Romanian Language”deals with a controversial phenomenon of the Romanian language syntax. The goal of the paper is to identify linguistic status of Compound verbal predicate with modal meaning by describing its component elements: semi-auxiliary modal verb and main verb.

The analysis of the relevant resources has demonstrated the existence of a large variety of opinions focused on the existence and non-existence of the syntactic concept under discussion.

The research results have proved the existence of a class of verbs (110) regarded in the semantical-functional relationship as lexico-grammatical means for expressing modality. The class of the semi-auxiliary verbs consists of verbs that lack semantic and functional autonomy as a rezult of the loss of their categorical characteristics. Their peculiarities determines the formation of verbal periphrases operating only one syntactic situation having a cohesive and assertive function.

The application of the semantico-distributive analysis has revealed the semantic implication of Compound verbal predicate support verb over the modal verb determining the latter to pursue one of the latent modal meanings. Thus the semi-auxiliary verbs can function only in the frame of verbal periphrases.

The class nucleus are verbs with a high fusion degree of the PVC elements and with greater frequency in language: can, must, be, have, will, come, find, do, seem, know, etc. that join the semi-auxiliary contextual modals.

From the viewpoint of rendered meaning, modal verbs have been divided into 7 semantico-functional micro fields expressing the possibility, necessity, desire, obligation, capacity, decision and appearance.

The verb “can” has been considered a total semi-auxiliary modal being the only verb that receives another verb unlike.

Taking into account the subjective attitude of the speaker semi-auxiliary modals receive both an agentive subject and a non agentive one.

The modals are not compatible with a direct object proved by the lack of the passive opposition. The distribution of the semi-auxiliary modals are limited at infinitive/subjunctive as a peculiarity of the oriental Latinity; participle and supine having a limited application.

The present research is of interest for semantics, syntax and pragmatics because the semi-auxiliary modals are the results of the interaction of the above subjects.

The investigation reveals the principle of language diversity by attesting a large variety of the lexico-grammatical means of the modality as a result of the language internal evolution, emphasizing the peculiarities of the modal verbs use in the belle-letter style.