The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 4/20 - Keny Chatain

Speaker: Keny Chatain (MIT/ENS)
Time: Wednesday, April 20th, 1-2pm
Place: 32-D831
Title: Some puzzles with demonstratives

In this talk, I will present of some of my work in progress on demonstrative descriptions. Demonstrative descriptions exhibit a wide range of uses: they can co-occur with gestures such as pointing (deictic use), they can refer to an entity previously mentioned in the discourse (anaphoric use), or can occur on their own, without the need for external material to determine their referent. In this talk, I will focus on some cases of anaphoric uses which prove challenging under Elbourne (2001)’s influential account of demonstrative descriptions. Those cases involve sloppy interpretation of an anaphoric demonstrative when its antecedent is under the scope of a quantifier. These examples can be thought of as the counterpart of « paycheck pronouns » with demonstratives. This will allow me to highlight some parallel properties between simple pronouns and demonstratives (bridging inferences, anaphoric use, bound variables, etc). As a conclusion, I will provide an initial sketch of an analysis for these cases.