The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 11/08 - Verena Hehl (MIT)

Speaker: Verena Hehl (MIT)
Title: From times to worlds
Date and time: Wednesday November 8, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

In this work in progress I will examine the meaning of sentences with German eher ’sooner’/’rather’ which exhibits temporal and modal meanings, in light of Gergel’s 2010, a.o. analysis of English rather, taking into account the historical development of both particles. I will develop an analysis for German eher that has at its core the notion of a scale, basically an ordered set of degrees. The degree approach simplifies the formal account of how this particle came to be used in temporal as well as modal domains. Temporal and modal readings of eher have in common that they consist of a gradable property which combines with a comparative morpheme. They are, however, distinguished in terms of the scale they operate on, leading to different LF attachment sites for the temporal vs. the modal reading.