The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 5/11 and 5/13 - Ciro Greco + SALT practice talks

There will be two meetings of the LFRG next week.

WHO: Ciro Greco
WHAT: Double Access Reading
WHEN: May 11, 5:00PM-6:30PM (note the unusual time)
WHERE: 32-D831


In many languages, when a present tense stative predicate is embedded under a past tense attitude verb we observe a particular temporal interpretation of the sentence know as Double Access Reading (DAR). In particular, the embedded eventuality must be interpreted as temporally overlapping both the attitude’s time and the utterance time:

(1) Ezra ha detto che Frida è incinta.
     Ezra said that Frida is pregnant

The present tense in (1) seems to be sensitive both to the matrix tense and to the utterance time. Many scholars claimed that DAR is a consequence of a core property of temporal dependencies, namely that tenses in embedded attitude contexts cannot take their denotation only with respect to the utterance time (Enç 1987, Higginbotham 1995, Giorgi 2010). Therefore, tenses in embedded attitude contexts cannot be interpreted as mere indexicals.

However, in the following example, the present tense need not to be interpreted as to the matrix time; the crucial point is the overlapping with the utterance time. Prima facie, (2) represent a problem for the generalization above:

(2) Ezra ha detto che Frida è a casa oggi.
     Ezra said that Frida is at home today.

Although (2) seem to show that there are cases in which an embedded tense can be interpreted as a mere indexical, we will argue that this kind of examples do not represent a real counterexample to a theory of DAR. Our aim is to show that these cases can be accounted for using a semantics of futurates along the lines of Copley (2009).

WHAT: SALT practice talks
WHEN: Friday 5/13, 2pm (the usual time)
WHERE: 32-D831