The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Linguistics Colloquium 4/27 - Uli Sauerland

Speaker: Uli Sauerland, ZAS (Berlin)
Date/Time: Friday 4/27, 3:30 pm
Location: 32-141
Title: Attitudes and Embedding


The question I investigate is whether sentence embedding is universally used for the linguistic expression of propositional attitudes (cf. Cristofaro 2003, Oxford UP). Recently, it’s been claimed that in some languages (at least Old Babylonian, Teiwa, Pirahã, Matses, Kobon) propositional attitudes are never expressed by embedding but only by other means: quotation, structures akin to coordination or even independent sentences. I present results mostly from fieldwork investigations of three of these languages (Matses, Pirahã, and Teiwa). My results provide evidence for syntactic embedding in all three languages. They also show some novel variation concerning embedding, namely total indexical shift in Matses and clause-like complementizers in Teiwa.