Sarah Zobel + Neda Todorovic

Please note that these are two separate talks: 

- Sarah Zobel will talk from 14:15 to 15:00. 

- Neda Todorovic will talk from 15:15 to 16:00. 

Abstracts and titles can be found below. 

Sarah Zobel (University of Tübingen)

An adefinite analysis of impersonal pronouns

The consensus in the literature is that the main use of impersonal pronouns (e.g., English "one" or German/Norwegian "man") is their generic use, where they denote "people in general", see (1-a). While this is the only possible use for English "one", German/Norwegian "man" (among other languages) also allow for an indefinite use, where "man" is roughly paraphrasable as "someone", see (1-b), and a referential use, where "man" is close to "I" or "we", see (1-c) [see Johansson 2007, Fenger 2017].

(1) a. One must respect one's parents. (≈ 'People in general must respect their parents'; English)
    b. Man har ringt etter deg. (≈ 'Someone called for you'; Norwegian)
    c. Man setzte seine Brille auf. (≈ 'I/we put on my/our glasses'; German)

One question discussed controversially in the literature is whether impersonal pronouns should be classified as definite or indefinite expressions (see a.o. Alonso-Ovalle 2002, Cabredo-Hofherr 2008, 2010, Kratzer 1997, Malamud 2012, 2013, Safir 2004); this question is obviously complicated by the range of readings that are cross-linguistically available and the difference in (in)definiteness that we would intuitively attribute to the nominal expressions used in the paraphrases of (1).

In this talk, I present arguments for a third possible answer to this question: following Koenig & Mauner 1999, I argue that impersonal pronouns are "adefinite". I give an analysis of what it means to be "adefinite" adopting the system put forth in Onea 2013, 2015, and use it to model the generic and indefinite uses illustrated in (1-a) and (1-b). I end with speculations on the pronouns referential use in (1-c).

Neda Todorovic (UBC)

(In)visible future across languages

In this talk, I discuss future readings and their peculiarity across languages. First, I show that, in Serbian, they are aspectually restricted, with the perfective not always being allowed. At first glance, the aspectual distribution under future readings seems arbitrary, but I show that it receives a principled explanation under the syntax-semantics account: the perfective is enabled by a covert modal/future element, which is independently syntactically licensed. The (im)possibility of the perfective thus serves as a diagnostic of the presence/absence of the covert modal, thus revealing the modal-temporal domain constellation. 

A covert future/modal, I argue, is present in complements of verbs like ‘want’ in Serbian. However, there is an ongoing debate whether future orientation in these complements in, e.g. English, stems from a matrix verb (Ogihara 1996, Abusch 1997, i.a.), or from a covert component in the complement (Abusch 2004, Wurmbrand 2014, i.a.). Since the future modal is phonologically covert in Indo-European, its existence must be motivated by indirect evidence in these languages. In the second part of the talk, I provide evidence for its existence based on Gitksan, in which this component is realized overtly as ‘dim’. 

Published Feb. 20, 2018 12:01 PM - Last modified Feb. 27, 2018 4:55 PM