Se non potere è non volere
L’evoluzione diacronica del prezens naprasnogo ožidanija
This paper analyses the diachronic evolution of the modal (dynamic) content of a particular perfective non-past form in Contemporary Russian, the so-called prezens naprasnogo ožidanija ‘present of idle expectation’ (PNO). While in Old Russian the PNO could express both the impossibility and the unwillingness of the subject to perform the action, in Contemporary Russian the unwillingness reading is rather available for another contextual variant, the interrogative-negative present. The present study aims to highlight some of the possible reasons for this internal semantic shift, focusing on the syntax-pragmatics interface.