The term root modality extends the bipartite distinction between deontic and epistemic modality and covers circumstantial modal values (conditioning external factors (Palmer 2001: 9)), root possibility, ability and volition. Deontic modality is concerned with necessary or possible acts performed by morally responsible agents (Lyons 1978: 823), usually distinguished into the subcategories obligation and permission (Meisterernst 2008b: 87). In LAC and EMC direct expressions of obligation, ‘you must, do!’ are relatively infrequent; they apparently gain more prominence in the Buddhist literature.
Deontic modal values (obligation) can be expressed indirectly with the auxiliary verb 可(以) kě(yǐ) ‘can’ in combination with double negation 不可(以)不 bù kě(yǐ) bù ‘cannot not >>> must’.Footnote 37 The only auxiliary verb expressing a direct obligation in an affirmative sentence is the auxiliary verb 必 bì ‘must’.Footnote 38 As a modal verb, it conveys deontic modality in the strict sense. Besides this, in EMC, the verb 當 dāng ‘match, correspond’ increasingly occurs as a deontic modal auxiliary verb ‘ought to, should’ (Meisterernst 2011). The strength of advice of 當 dāng is weaker than that of bì 必. The modal expressions of deontic modality typical for LAC, i.e. NEG 可/可以 kě/kěyǐ NEG and the modal auxiliary 必 bì, apparently cease to be relevant in the EMC Buddhist literature and new forms develop and increase the complexity of the modal system.
In the following section, the different modal auxiliary verbs conveying the root/deontic modal (excluding root possibility and ability) value of obligation and necessity are discussed with particular regard to the temporal and aspectual structure of the complement they select.
The modal auxiliary verb 可 kě with double negation: 不可不 bù kě bù, 不可以不 bù kě yǐ bù ‘must’
The auxiliary verb kě(yǐ) 可(以) predominantly expresses circumstantial root possibility (Meisterernst 2008b), i.e. possibility due to external factors and circumstances ‘can, possible’. It thus belongs to the class of ‘first modals’ (Leiss 2008: 16). In the doubly negated construction NEG 可(以) kě(yǐ) NEG vP, it always codes strong deontic modality, i.e. a strong obligation ‘must’. In contrast to the affirmative construction with 可(以) kě(yǐ), it never expresses root possibility (Meisterernst 2008b). The obligation is conveyed in an indirect way precisely expressing ‘it is not possible that not p ¬◊¬ p’ = □p ‘it is necessary that p’; the basic meaning of 可 kĕ being ‘possible, permissible’. The subject can range from a [+/−HUMAN] theme subject to a [+HUMAN] experiencer or an agent subject. Depending on the construction, it can be the direct addressee (second person), or another participant in the speech. In LAC, a transitive or intransitive verb following 可 kě is usually passivized (or unaccusative), i.e. its internal argument appears in subject position as a theme/patient subject and the embedded verb is resultative [+TELIC/TERMINATIVE] as in example 12a from LAC and in 12b from Han Chinese. The examples in 12 have a theme subject. In all the examples, the predicate is [+TELIC/RESULTATIVE] whether overtly marked or not. This is required by the syntactic constraints of 可 kĕ.
a. 范、中行數有德於齊, 不可不救。 (Shǐjì: 32; 1505)
The Fan and Zhonghang families have often done favours to Qi, they have to (< cannot not) be rescued.
b. 范、中行數有德於齊, 不可不救。 (Shǐjì: 32; 1505)
The Fan and Zhonghang families have often done favours to Qi, they have to (< cannot not) be rescued.
In order to neutralize the passivization effect, the insertion of 以 yǐ is required as in the examples in 13 from LAC and Han Chinese, respectively.Footnote 39 The modal predicates are usually either future-projectingFootnote 40 or generic as in example 13a. Generic readings can appear as a subclass of deontic readings (Leiss 2008: 23).Footnote 41 In the examples in 13, the subject is agentive and accordingly [+HUMAN]; in 13b, the speaker puts a direct obligation on the addressee subject. The verbs in the complements of the modal all include an event argument.
a. 君子不可以不刳心焉。 (Zhuāngzǐ 12.2.1)
A gentleman must (< cannot not) cut open his heart at it.
b. 大將軍尊重益貴, 君不可以不拜. (Shĭjì: 120; 3108)
The great general is very important and is receiving more and more honours; you have to (< cannot not) bow to show him your reverence.
Although a deontic modal marker is supposed to select a telic complement, some of the verbs are not genuinely telic. The verbs in 14 are atelic state verbs (including adjectives); in this construction, they have to add an event variable, i.e. they have to add a [+TELIC] feature to be licenced as a complement of 不可(以)不 bùkĕ(yǐ)bù.Footnote 42 In examples 14a and 14b, the subject is a [−HUMAN] theme subject; in example 14c with 可以 kěyǐ, the subject is an experiencer subject. As a state verb, 知 zhī in 14d functions as a stage-level predicate; these display constraints similar to event verbs in Chinese.
a. 君子曰:「位其不可不慎也乎! (Zuŏzhuàn, 成公二年 Chéng 2)
The gentleman says: “The rank has to be (< cannot not be) treated carefully!”
b. 親而不可不廣者, 仁也; (Zhuāngzǐ 11.5.10)
What is intimate but has to (< cannot not) be broadened, this is benevolence.
c. 齊將伐晉, 不可以不懼。」(Zuǒzhuàn, 襄公二十二年 Xiāng 22)
Qi will attack Jin, we have to (cannot not) be(come) afraid.
d. 故有國者不可以不知春秋, (Shĭjì: 130; 3298)
Therefore, those who have a state/are responsible for a state must know the Spring and Autumn Annals …
In example 14d both, a deontic, future-projecting reading in a strict sense and a generic reading are possible. The deontic reading refers to the particular requirement of individualized situations in the future and the generic reading to general rules and regulations. According to Ziegeler (2008: 55), ‘potentiality’ is the ‘common semantic denominator’ of normative generic expressions and deontic modality.
In the doubly negated construction, 可/可以 kě/kěyǐ always expresses deontic modality with a strong speaker orientation. Different from the other modal auxiliary verbs discussed here, the complement of 可 kě requires different analyses depending on the presence of the functional head 以 yǐ. These are as follows:
可 kĕ + vP: a passivized resultant state complement, the focus is on the patient or theme of the event and on the change of state point tm; the role of the causer (agent) of the event is not included and
可以 kěyǐ + vP: an event predicate with an agent (causer) subject, or a state predicate referring to a genuine state (e.g. with adjectives or state verbs) and an experiencer subject.Footnote 43 Only state verbs which can include an event variable are available for this construction.
Thus, 可 kě requires a patient/theme subject and a resultative complement on a regular basis. In both constructions, most of the complements selected refer to events or to states resulting from a previous event either in their transitive or their passivized (or unaccusative) forms. The complement can refer either to E1 (including tm) or to E2 (including tm) with verbs which have the structure proposed for event (terminative) verbs in Abraham and Leiss (2008: xiii). Temporally, they all have the characteristic: S ≠ E (speech time is not identical with, i.e. it precedes event time),Footnote 44 the structure proposed for deontic modality in Japanese by Narrog (2008), the general structure for deontic modality which typically refers to an obligation performed in the future.
With a passivized complement, the modal is exclusively speaker oriented and with an agentive complement, it is speaker–addressee oriented; this argues for its analysis as a true deontic modal according to Hacquard (2006).
The modal verb 當 dāng
The modal function of 當 dāng grammaticalizes from a verb with the basic meaning ‘match, correspond’.Footnote 45 As a modal auxiliary verb, it expresses root necessity: □p ‘it is necessary that p’, roughly corresponding to the modal should in English. In this function, it is regularly attested from the Han period on.Footnote 46 Although it can be employed in true performative deontics, it predominantly appears in indirect suggestions; the agent is frequently unspecified. The verb in its complement is mostly a telic agentive verb in transitive or derived, i.e. passivized/resultative constructions; the obligation is based on laws, rules and norms. Contrary to the strong deontic construction NEG 可(以) kě(yǐ) NEG vP and to the modal auxiliary verb 必 bì, the speaker does not necessarily expect compliance on the side of the frequently only implied agent. As with should in English, the modal force of obligation is weaker than with must. The strength of obligation is induced by the strength of the ordering source for the modal. With strict laws, these ordering sources imply a stronger obligation than with what is, e.g. predetermined by destiny (Meisterernst 2011, 2012). Epistemic values are confined to 當 dāng in the complement of an epistemic, an attitude verb, and do not depend on the modal. After the Han period, the employment of 當 dāng changes, and in the Buddhist literature, 當 dāng tends to express more direct obligations, i.e. performatives. These are frequently characterized by a second or third person subject referring to the addressee and the specified agent of the required action; in these cases, the speaker and the agent of the requested action are not identical.
In the examples in 16, an event verb appears in a passive construction with a theme subject. Although the structure is similar to that of 可 kě with a passive complement, the passive reading is not required syntactically, but depends on the role of the subject. The modal predicate is future-projecting and the complement of 當 dāng refers to a resultant state and to the process leading up to it, i.e. it is [+TELIC]. But at this period, any morphological marking of the resultant state was certainly no longer transparent for the speaker.Footnote 47 Although these examples evidently represent cases of deontic modality, the identification of a particular agent is explicitly avoided. This employment is most typical for 當 dāng in Han Chinese.
a. 群臣議, 皆曰「長當棄市」。 (Shǐjì: 10; 426)
The ministers discussed, and they all said: “Chang should be executed and exposed on the marketplace.”
b. 軍法期而後至者云何? 對曰:「當斬。」 (Shǐjì: 64; 2158)
“According to the military law: someone who arrives later than the appointed time, what happens [to him]?” He answered: “He should be beheaded.”
The examples in 17 are both transitive and agentive; the agent of the verb is identical to the addressee of the obligation. Example 17a represents one of the less frequent cases in Han period Chinese in which a direct, though polite command, is issued by 當 dāng. In example 17b, the reference time is located in the past and precedes the speech time, and two different times are involved in the modal predicate.Footnote 48 Nevertheless, the modal is still future-projecting.Footnote 49
a. 王當歃血而定從, (Shǐjì: 76; 2368)
Your majesty should smear blood [on his lips] in order to establish alliance …
b. 我方先君後臣, 因謂王即弗用鞅, 當殺之. (Shǐjì: 68; 2227)
I am just putting the ruler first and the vassal last, and therefore I told the king that if he did not employ you, Yang, he should kill you.
The example in 18 has [−HUMAN] experiencer subjects; the verbs are intransitive. The verbs in the first clause 衰 shuāi ‘decline’, and 亂 luàn ‘(cause to) be in disorder’ can be both atelic or telic. The verb 治 chí/zhì ‘put in order, govern’, ‘well-governed, in good order’ (see ex. 7) belongs to the verbs for which an aspectual morphology has been reconstructed. The semantic features of the subject are in general assumed to be more typical for epistemic than for deontic readings, but all complements include an event variable and refer to resultant states which are [+TELIC]. Thus, they do not differ significantly from some of the examples discussed above. The modal is future-projecting.
國當衰亂, 賢聖不能盛; 時當治, 惡人不能亂。 (論衡 lùnhéng ‘On Balance’: 53.5.26)
If a state is supposed to have declined and to be in chaos, even virtuous and wise people cannot keep it in order; if the time is supposed to be well-governed, even bad people cannot cause chaos.
All instances of 當 dāng presented above are future-projecting; the obligation imposed can refer to an agentive event, but also to a future resultant state and the process leading up to it without any agency involved. The latter instances are similar to those with 可 kě with a passivized (unaccusative) resultative complement. In past tense contexts, 當 dāng obtains a counterfactual reading.Footnote 50 According to Sparvoli (2015), a counterfactual reading in the past is the typical actuality entailment for deontic modals and one of the possible readings (besides an epistemic reading) in past contexts. The past context can, but does not have to be explicitly marked. In example 19a, the event preceding the modal predicate is marked as completed by the aspectual adverb 已 yǐ; in 19b, the event is located in the past by the adverbial 先 xiān ‘earlier’ in the complement of 當 dāng.
The modal predicate is always future-projecting, although the prospective event is located in the past. The speaker refers to a reference time preceding speech time which serves as the point of reference for the projected future situation time. The counter-factual effect in past tense contexts is produced when both reference time and situation time precede speech time.
a. 項羽已救趙, 當還報, 而擅劫諸侯兵入關, 罪三。 (Shǐjì: 8; 376)
Xiang Yu had already rescued Zhao and should have returned and reported, but he forced the troops of the feudal lords on his own authority to enter the pass, this was his third offence.
b. 「吾當先斬以聞, 乃先請, 為兒所賣, 固誤。」 (Shǐjì: 101; 2746)
I should have decapitated him first and then told; so, when I asked first, I was deceived by the boy, this was certainly a mistake.
The verbs in the complement of 當 dāng usually refer to events, i.e. they are telic and accordingly compatible with the perfective aspect. Originally atelic have to include an event variable in their temporal structure, when they appear in the complement of 當 dāng. In the Han period literature, the supposed agent of the event, the addressee of the obligation, is frequently not focused on. Two different variations are possible:
The complement verb appears either in an unaccusative (passive) construction referring to a resultant state similar to the construction with 可 kě: the agent is irrelevant.
It appears in an agentive/causative construction in which the subject of the agentive verb does not appear explicitly.
The temporal structure of the complement of 當 dāng resembles that of 可/以) kě(yǐ) (E ≠ S). Even if the modal itself is located in the past, i.e. it precedes speech time, the complement is still future-projecting, i.e. it follows reference time and speech time: S,R_E.
Identical to 可 kě, the modal is exclusively speaker oriented with an unaccusative or passivized complement. With an agentive complement, it is speaker–addressee oriented, this argues for its analysis as a true deontic modal according to Hacquard (2006).
The modal 必 bì expressing deontic and epistemic modality
The modal 必 bì differs considerably from the modal verbs discussed above both semantically and syntactically. 必 bì in LAC and EMC is generally regarded as expressing ‘certainty, necessity’, usually corresponding to English ‘must’ and the like if verbal, and to modal adverbs such as ‘certainly, necessarily’ if adverbial. For Han Chinese, a functional split between deontic and epistemic 必 bì has been proposed (Meisterernst 2013). With a deontic reading, 必 bì has to be analysed as a modal auxiliary verb ‘must/need’; with an epistemic reading, expressing confidence on the side of the speaker, it has to be analysed as a modal adverb ‘certainly’ (Meisterernst 2010, 2013). Since it predominantly refers to future contexts, the analysis of epistemic 必 bì as a modal adverb and not as a modal verb is semantically more conclusive. Future reference is according to, e.g. Coates (1983) and Bybee et al. (1994) usually not available for modal auxiliary verbs such as English MUST in their epistemic reading, whereas it is the default reference with deontic modals.Footnote 51 Additionally, the modal auxiliary verb and the modal adverb 必 bì apparently occupy different positions with regard to the VP. The modal adverb operates on the level of CP above aspect and negation, the position typical for epistemic markers, whereas the modal auxiliary verb 必 bì appears below negation (Meisterernst 2013) (and below aspect). This is the default position of root (circumstantial) modal auxiliary verbs in LAC and Han Chinese; they constitute a vP of their own which selects a non-finite TP as its complement (Meisterernst 2015b). This is in accordance with (Hacquard 2006), who assumes that the position of circumstantial modals is different from that of true deontic and of epistemic verbs. The latter pattern together because true deontics, in contrast to circumstantial modals, are speaker oriented and not subject oriented: they put an obligation on the addressee. According to Hacquard’s hypothesis (Hacquard 2006: 122), the deontic modals discussed in this paper are supposed to appear in a position above aspect: i.e. deontic NEG 可(以) kě(yǐ) NEG should appear in a higher position than circumstantial 可(以) kě(yǐ).Footnote 52 Another argument for a functional split of 必 bì into a (deontic) modal verb and an (epistemic) adverb can be deduced from Abraham and Leiss (2009) who argues against the frequent semantic equation of modal verbs and modal adverbials in the literature in examples such as the following (see also Meisterernst 2016a):
a. Er__muss__die__Klausur__bestanden__haben__(modal verb)
He must have passed the test.
b. Er__hat__die__Klausur__sicherlich__bestanden__(modal adverb)
He certainly passed the text. (Abraham and Leiss 2009: 8)
Abraham and Leiss (2009) claim that the category source is the distinctive feature of epistemic verbs and epistemic adverbs. Epistemic marking by adverbs does not include a source of information for the epistemic evaluation of the speaker: epistemic adverbs are monodeictic, while epistemic verbs are bi-deictic (Abraham and Leiss 2009: 13) including both the speaker evaluation and the source. The fact that only the speaker evaluation is included in epistemic adverbs can also argue for their availability for expressing future reference, contrary to epistemic verbs.
Although 必 bì seems to be the only direct marker of strict deontic modality in LAC and Han Chinese, the function as an epistemic modal adverb expressing (mostly) future certainty is evidently its predominant function from the earliest instances on. This function of 必 bì can be accounted for by what Coates labels ‘pure logical necessity’, expressing confidence in a logical necessity on the side of the speaker. To obtain a deontic reading of 必 bì, a causative/agentive subject is a necessary condition. This is evidenced by the contrastive examples in 22a and 22b, which contain the verb 立 lì ‘set up, establish’, a default [+TELIC] verb. In example 22a with a non-overt causative/agentive addressee subject, 必 bì has a deontic reading, conveying a direct obligation to the addressee. In 22b with a theme subject, it is epistemic referring to the speaker’s commitment to a future necessity. The verb in 22b has a passive reading. Although a passive reading of the complement is quite natural with the root modal auxiliaries 可以 kě(yǐ) and 當 dāng, this is not the case with deontic 必 bì which requires an agent or a causer subject for a deontic reading.
a. 麇曰:「必立伯也, 是良材。」 (Zuŏzhuàn, 哀公十七年 Āi 17)
Jun said: “You must enthrone Bo, he is a talented man.”
曰:「余夢美,必立。」 (Zuŏzhuàn, 哀公二十六年 Āi 26)
My dream was beautiful, I will certainly be enthroned.
Although an agentive subject is a necessary condition for the deontic reading, a non-agentive subject is not a necessary condition for an epistemic reading. Both 22c and 22d contain a causative/agentive subject and the [+TELIC] verb 救 jiù ‘rescue’, but 22d has an epistemic reading. The subject of the modal predicate is a third person [+/−HUMAN] subject which renders a deontic interpretation less likely.Footnote 53
由不然, 利其祿, 必救其患。 (Shǐjì 37; 1601)
I, You, am not like that, I profit from his salary, and so I must save him from his trouble.
若伐曹,衛,楚必救之,則宋免矣。 (Shǐjì 39; 1664)
If we will attack Cao and Wei, Chu will certainly help them, and then Song will escape.
Typical instances of 必 bì as a modal auxiliary verb: Deontic reading
The examples in 23 represent default cases of deontic modality expressed by 必 bì. The verbs are typical [+TELIC] verbs with an agent (causer) subject; in 23b, the verb 存 cún which can have an atelic reading ‘exist, remain, survive’, appears in its causative telic reading ‘make-exist = preserve’. The predicates are future-projecting. Example 23a represents deontic modality in its strictest, i.e. in the performative sense; a direct command is issued from a speaker to an addressee. These modals require a [+HUMAN] agentive subject and an event verb as the complement of the modal. In example 23b and 23c, the subject is a first or a third person subject, respectively. The speaker who is identical with the addressee and agent of the modal situation expresses an obligation he himself is under in 23b, and in 23c, the speaker reports an obligation on a third person.Footnote 54
a. 君必殺之 (國語 guóyŭ 晉語八 Jìn 8)
You must kill him!
「我必覆楚。」包胥曰:「我必存之。」 (Shĭjì: 66; 2176)
“I must overthrow Chu.” Baoxu said: “I must preserve it.”
彼見秦阻之難犯也, 必退師。 (Shĭjì: 6; 277)
When they saw that the obstructions of Qin were hard to overcome, they had to withdraw their army.
Example 24 with the verb of cognition 思 sī ‘think, think of, long for’ is more ambiguous than the preceding examples. State verbs such as 思 sī can licence an event argument and can thus appear in root modal predications; accordingly, the lexical aspect of 思 sī does not necessarily argue against a deontic reading. With deontic 必 bì, a direct command is issued to an addressee; but in 24, the obligation rather refers to the event represented by 免 miǎn ‘avoid’ than to the state of thinking represented by sī 思.Footnote 55 But in this example, an adverbial analysis of 必 bì expressing the confidence of the speaker that the proposition will be true under the conditions specified in the protasis cannot be excluded. The semantics of the verb and the experiencer subject provide some evidence in support of the epistemic analysis, since—contrastingly to kě(yǐ) and 當 dāng—deontic 必 bì by default has an agent or a causer subject. In any event, the modal predicate is future-projecting. Ambiguous cases like these probably caused the replacement of 必 bì as a modal verb in EMC.
吾子直, 必思自免於難。 (Shǐjì 31; 1459)
My lord, you are upright, and you must consider avoiding difficulties (root)./Since my lord is upright, you will certainly
consider avoiding difficulties.(epistemic)
Typical instances of the epistemic adverb 必 bì (modal adverb)
The epistemic modal 必 bì is predominantly attested in future-projecting contexts in matrix clauses; it most typically occurs in the apodosis of a conditional or concessive sentence.Footnote 56 The fact that epistemic 必 bì is mostly future-projecting argues against a polysemic modal auxiliary verb 必 bì comparable to the English must expressing both deontic and epistemic values. Future readings are in general not available for the epistemic reading of these verbs (e.g. Coates 1983; Meisterernst 2010; Palmer 2001; Ziegeler 2008). But they are not blocked from epistemic adverbs expressing certainty. According to Nuyts (2001: 77), the appearance of a modal in the apodosis of a conditional sentence argues particularly for an adverbial analysis, expressing “the speaker’s present evaluation (performatively)” of the probability that a particular state of affairs will come about under the conditions given in the protasis (ibid). This definition evidently supports an analysis of 必 bì as a modal adverb ‘certainly’ in most of the cases presented below. In future contexts, the speaker does not relate his commitment to the truth of his deductions from known facts; this would be the default function of an epistemic auxiliary verb. He rather conveys his confidence that under certain conditions (which are not yet true in the real world), his deductions will be true, i.e. “that a certain hypothetical state of affairs under consideration … will occur” (Nuyts 2001: 21). With an epistemic adverb, no source for the commitment is involved (Abraham and Leiss 2009). Epistemic adverbs appear very high in the syntactic structure. They take an entire proposition as their complement; consequently, they are less confined in their selectional restrictions (see Meisterernst 2016a).
The verb 喜 xǐ in example 25 is a genuine state verb; it does not combine with a perfective adverb in LAC and EMC.Footnote 57 Genuine state verbs support an epistemic reading with modal auxiliaries. Additionally, genuine intransitive state verbs do not have an agent or causer subject. The example does not refer to an obligation in the real world, but is assumed to be true by the speaker under the conditions specified in the conditional protasis. All of these argue for an analysis of 必 bì as an epistemic adverb.
今王事秦, 秦王必喜, 趙不敢妄動。 (Shĭjì: 70; 2298)
If you now serve Qin, the King of Qin will certainly be happy, and Zhao will not dare to move rashly.
In example 26, future certainty regarding the occurrence of an adverse situation is expressed. The fact that the subject is a [−HUMAN] theme argues against a deontic reading of the modal despite the [+TELIC] verb.
齊秦合則患必至矣。 (Shĭjì: 70; 2287)
If Qi and Qin ally, then trouble will certainly arrive.
In the examples in 27, nothing argues against a deontic interpretation on a par with example 23b with a first person agentive subject. All verbs are event verbs. Time span adverbials as in example 27a do not provide an argument against a deontic interpretation, since they combine with events identical to deontic modal auxiliary verbs. In this example, the speaker conveys his confidence as a supporting argument for the performative acts, whereas in 27b he conveys his confidence in the occurrence of a future event according to the conditions related in the respective protases. All propositions are future-projecting.
a. 慎勿與戰, 毋令得東而已。我十五日必誅彭越, 定梁地, 復從將軍。(Shĭjì: 7; 329)
Be careful not to join them in fight; just do not order them to get [to] the east. I will certainly execute Peng Yue, pacify the territory of Liang and join you, general, again within fifteen days.
b. 不勝, 則我引兵鼓行而西, 必舉秦矣。 (Shǐjì 7; 305)
If it (Qin) does not win, then we will lead our troops and, following the beating drums, we will march west, and we will certainly conquer Qin.
Examples such as 27, display characteristics typical for deontic modal interpretations, i.e. the modal modifies event predicates with telic verbs with [+HUMAN] agent or causer subjects. Nevertheless, in the examples presented, bì evidently expresses epistemic, and not deontic modality, referring to a certainty on the side of the speaker with regard to the occurrence of a future event, frequently under conditions specified in a conditional protasis. In this regard, they show the same orientation, i.e. a speaker orientation as true deontics do according to Hacquard (2006: 114): the latter display a speaker/addressee–orientation (Sp/A-O). Since modal 必 bì also expresses deontic modality, the speaker orientation of propositions with 必 bì seems to be the semantic link between the deontic and the epistemic functions.
The examples show that no selectional restrictions with regard to the lexical aspect of the verb in the complement of epistemic 必 bì exist. In both the deontic and the epistemic reading of 必 bì, the modal predicate is predominantly future-projecting. Additionally, both readings of 必 bì are speaker oriented; they apparently differ in the fact that deontic 必 bì has a strong addressee additional to the speaker orientation. The agent orientation of 必 bì is much stronger than that of the root and circumstantial modal auxiliary verbs 當 dāng and 可 kě; these are frequently explicitly not directed to a specified addressee. Consequently, in the absence of syntactic devices, it is the syntacto-semantic features of the subject which are relevant for a distinction between the verbal and adverbial function of 必 bì: the deontic reading is confined to an addressee subject that functions as an agent or causer. The epistemic function is not constrained with regard to its subject. Due to the particular semantics of 必 bì as a marker of deontic modality with a strong agent orientation, the temporal structure of the complement of deontic bì 必 differs from that of the root modal auxiliary verbs 可(以) kě(yǐ) and 當 dāng. The verbs in the complement of 必 bì are never passivized and do never refer to a resultant state as they do with 可(以) kě(yǐ) and 當 dāng. They can only refer to E1 and its final point tm, but not to the resultant state E2.
In its epistemic reading, 必 bì is not confined to this temporal structure, and the temporal part E2, the (resultant) state part, can also be included in the complement of 必 bì; this is another distinctive feature of the two modal readings. As an epistemic adverb, 必 bì can to a certain extent be compared to the other epistemic markers of Han period Chinese. These—together with some other adverbs expressing factivity and other modal values—appear very high in the hierarchy of adjuncts and they take an entire proposition as their complement (Meisterernst 2016a; Wei 魏培泉 1999). Evidently, epistemic adverbs are not subject to the same constraints with regard to the lexical aspect of their complement as modal auxiliary verbs; they operate on a different syntactic level. Accordingly, they do not provide any counter-evidence to the hypothesis proposed by Abraham and Leiss (2008).
Modal 必 bì and negation: 不必 bùbì
It has been demonstrated that although the modals NEG 可(以) kě(yǐ) NEG and 必 bì seem to have similar modal functions, they display considerable structural differences. These differences become additionally apparent when 必 bì is negated. Although Lü (1942, 2002: 255) claimed that 不可(以)不 bù kě(yǐ) bù and 必 bì are semantically identical, he is also one of the first to account for the differences in modal notions in combination with negation; the latter can, e.g. serve to distinguish between deontic and anankastic modality.Footnote 58 A distinction on these lines has already been proposed by Gao Mingkai (Gao 高名凯 1948, 2001) with the two modal notions 應然 yìngrán ‘duty’ and 必然 bìrán ‘necessity’ (Gao 2001) corresponding to deontic and anankastic modality. The distinction between the two is most clearly revealed in the negative form.
a. Deontic prohibition
‘it is necessary that not p = it is not possible that p: □¬p = ¬◊ p’
b. Anankastic exemption
‘it is not necessary that p = it is possible that not p: ¬□p = ◊¬p’ (Sparvoli 2015)
This is exemplified by the following examples from Modern Mandarin:
He must not go to Taibei.
He does not have to go to Taibei. (Sparvoli 2015)
In this example, the negated form of 必 bì demonstrates that it rather expresses anankastic than deontic modality. Anankastic modality is defined by von Wright as “A statement to the effect that something is (or is not) a necessary condition of something else…” (von Wright 1963: 10, cf. Sparvoli 2015). A typical example would be as follows
‘If the house is to be made habitable, it ought to be heated.’ (von Wright 1963: 9, note 10, cf. Sparvoli 2015).
Although the examples in Section 3.3.1 do not correspond exactly to von Wright’s example, they frequently express a practical necessity according to circumstances. This is particularly evident in example 23c repeated here as 32.
彼見秦阻之難犯也, 必退師。 (Shĭjì: 6; 277)
When they saw that the obstructions of Qin were hard to overcome, they had to withdraw their army.
As Sparvoli points out, deontic and anankastic modals are interchangeable in the affirmative form, but they are not when they are negated. The following example demonstrates the difference between 不可以不 bùkěyǐbù and 不必 bùbì, and it argues strongly for an analysis of 必 bì as an anankastic modal in contrast to 不可以不 bùkěyǐbù which is deontic. For a comparison, see example 33a.
a. 四鄰諸侯之相與, 不可以不相接也,然而不必相親也, (Xúnzǐ 12.10.6)
Regarding the relation between [the ruler and] the feudal lords from the four neighbouring directions, they must be mutually connected, but they do not have to be close to each other.
The predicate with 不可以不 bùkĕyǐbù expresses an obligation according to norms and rules; they negative variant of ‘must be mutually connected’ would be ‘must not/may not be mutually connected’, a prohibition as in 33b.Footnote 59
臣聞敗軍之將,不可以言勇,亡國之大夫, 不可以圖存. (Shĭjì: 92; 2617)
I have heard that the general of a defeated army
speak about bravery and the dignitaries of a perished country
devise plans for maintenance.
These structural differences provide a further argument for a syntactic and semantic distinction of the modal 必 bì from the deontic modals 不可(以)不 bùkĕ(yǐ)bù and 當 dāng. In Meisterernst (2016c), in a study on the scope of negation with deontic modal verbs and predicates, it has been demonstrated that modal bì appears indeed in a position within the lexical layer and lower than the modals bùkĕ(yǐ)bù and dāng; the latter appear in the layer between epistemic and circumstantial modals in the cartography of modal verbs (see Tsai 2015).