The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Colloquium 4/15 - Amy Rose Deal

Speaker: Amy Rose Deal (UC Berkeley)
Title: Shifty asymmetries: toward universals and variation in shifty indexicality
Time: Friday, 04/15/2016, 3:30-5:00pm
Venue: 32-141

Indexical shift is a phenomenon whereby indexicals embedded in speech and attitude reports depend for their reference on the speech/attitude report, rather than on the overall utterance. For example, in a language with indexical shift, “I” may refer to Bob in a sentence like “Who did Bob think I saw?”. The last 15 years have seen an explosive growth in research on indexical shift cross-linguistically. In this talk, I discuss three major generalizations that emerge from this work, and present a theory that attempts to explain them. The account that I develop concerns the syntax of indexical shift along with its semantics, and has consequences for the linguistic encoding of attitudes de se. Throughout the talk I will exemplify indexical shift primarily, though by no means exclusively, with data from original fieldwork on Nez Perce.