On the Syntactic Analysis of Persian Modals: Šâyad ‘Perhaps’ and Bâyad ‘Must’

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Linguistics, Tehran University

2 Professor of Linguistics Department Tehran University


The present paper sets out to investigate the syntactic category of Persian modals, šâyad ‘perhaps’ and bâyad ‘must’. The syntactic category of the two modal elements has been viewed differently by different scholars. A number of scholars argue that both šâyad and bâyad are modal auxiliaries, while others claim that they both are modal adverbs. We propose that šâyad is a modal adverb and bâyad is a modal auxiliary. This distinction is shown to follow the adverbial treatment along the lines of Cinque (1999, 2004). Under his approach, we propose that šâyad is located in the specifier position of ModPepistemic and bâyad is located in the head position of ModProot.


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  • Receive Date: 20 May 2014
  • Revise Date: 07 July 2014
  • Accept Date: 13 September 2014
  • First Publish Date: 20 February 2015